Cherished for their masses of magnificent flowers and their luxuriant, evergreen foliage, Camellias are, without a doubt, one of the most desirable plants to grow. Blooming for weeks from fall to spring (depending on climate and variety), they reward gardeners with exquisite blooms of striking shapes and color at a time of year when the rest of the garden offers little.
Until recently, Camellias were the privilege of mild winter regions (USDA zone 7-10). Thanks to advancements in breeding by Dr. William Ackerman of Ashton, Md., a retired U.S.D.A. plant breeder and Dr. Clifford Parks, a botanist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, many new camellia varieties can be successfully grown in Zone 6 where they can endure temperatures as cool as -10F (-23C) if grown in sheltered locations (although blooms may suffer frost and rain damage).
- The most popular of the cold-hardy, fall blooming species on the market belong to the 'Winter' series developed by Ackerman.
- The most popular of the cold-hardy, spring blooming species on the market belong to the 'April' series developed by Dr. Clifford Park
Here is a selection of winter hardy camellias that could become the highlight of your fall or spring garden!