Prized for the beauty of their exquisite blooms and their splendid evergreen foliage, Camellias are attractive flowering shrubs that burst into flowers, when the rest of the garden offers little. Blooming prodigiously for weeks, some camellia varieties enjoy an extraordinarily long blooming season extending from November to April in the northern hemisphere or from April to September in the southern hemisphere.
Most of these camellia varieties belong to the Camellia japonica species, which counts over 30 000 cultivars in a wide array of flower forms and colors. The blooms can reach 5 in. across (12 cm) and create a gorgeous floral display from late winter to spring. They range in color from pure white to soft pink to dark red and may be single, semi-double, double, formal double or full peony form. These broadleaved evergreen shrubs enjoy a shapely habit and handsome glossy foliage.
The Camellia hybrids such as the Camellia x williamsii varieties include also long-blooming cultivars. Generally blooming after the Japanese camellias, these hybrids are generally extremely vigorous, free-blooming, with attractive, semi-glossy, leathery leaves. Graceful shrubs, they drop their spent heads with elegance (no deadheading required!), leaving a tidy bush.