Adding color and interest to the spring garden, Camellias are gorgeous flowering shrubs that are highly prized for the beauty of their exquisite blooms, their splendid evergreen foliage and their compact shapely habit. Blooming prodigiously for weeks when the rest of the garden offers little, Camellias are ranked as one of the very best flowering shrubs.
Most of the spring blooming camellias are Japanese camellias (Camellia Japonica) and camellia hybrids such as Camellia x williamsii.
- Camellia japonica is the pre-eminent species of the genus and 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. Slow grower, this broadleaved, evergreen shrub enjoys shapely habit, handsome, glossy foliage and fabulous flowers have attracted gardeners for hundreds of years in Asia.
- Camellia x williamsii are the first camellia hybrids. Generally blooming after the Japanese camellias, they result from the cross of Camellia japonica and Camellia saluenensis. Among the most cold-hardy camellias, most of them are extremely vigorous, free-blooming, with attractive, semi-glossy, leathery leaves. Graceful shrubs, they tolerate low light intensity and bloom over a long season, providing a spectacular show. They enjoy a wide range of habits, from dwarf to large and spreading.