How to Easily Grow Camellias in Your Southern California Garden

How to easily grow camellias in your southern california garden.

Written by Ann R.

Camellias are a great way to add beautiful color to your garden. The blooms look similar to roses with plenty of colorful petals. If you want to learn how to easily grow Camellias in Southern California, then keep reading!

What are Camellias?
Camellias are shrubs that bloom flowers that look almost like roses. They originated in Indonesia and Japan, found growing along the coast and mountain regions of each area. There are about 220 different varieties of Camellias, giving you plenty to choose from.

Camellias are named after the botanist Georg Kamel (1661-1706). Carl Linnaeus gave these beautiful blooms Georg’s name as a tribute to the botanist. 

How to Grow Camellias
Camellias are easy to grow in Southern California when you know what to do. Here are some tips to help you enjoy these blooms in your garden.

Where to Grow Camellias
Camellias grow best in an area of the garden with great drainage. These plants also grow well in containers and raised garden beds if you live in an area with poor soil. You can grow Camellias as a plant in the background since many grow tall and wide, or as a border plant for smaller varieties.

If you choose to grow your Camellias in containers, purchase pots that are large enough to give your plants space to grow. Also, drill holes in the bottom to allow water to pass through.

Planting Camellias
Once you find a place to grow your Camellias, dig a hole that is double the size and depth of the container your Camellias were originally grown in. Place some soil at the bottom, then gently lower your plant above the soil.

Fill the remaining space around the shrub with a mixture of E.B. Stone Azalea Camellia & Acid mix and soil. Be sure to water thoroughly. You may want to water several times to make sure the plant gets plenty of moisture in its new home. 

Sun and Water Requirements
Camellias grow best in areas that are shady or partially-shaded parts of the garden. As these bushes mature, they can handle more light and sunshine.

Camellias do best when they are watered on a regular basis. Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged. Too much water can cause root rot and other health issues, which you want to avoid.

Best Type of Soil to Use
Camellias prefer soil that is slightly acidic, with a pH around 5.5-6.5. It should have plenty of organic materials and be well-draining. Loam, clay, or sand will work well with these bushes.

Fertilizing Camellias
Fertilize Camellias with plenty of iron and sulfur. Purchase a fertilizer specific for Camellias, such as an E.B. Stone Aazalea, Camellia, and Gardenia fertilizer, or one specially made for trees and shrubs.

Add fertilizer when first planting your Camellias and when you see new growth during the springtime. Then you can enjoy plenty of blooms throughout its growing season!

How to Prune Camellias
Pruning Camellias will encourage more growth from a healthy plant when done correctly. As your Camellias grow and mature, they will need to be pruned from time to time to keep their shape. 

Cut back only one-third of your bushes. Branches that are too leggy or getting in the way of flowers can be pruned. Make sure to only prune your Camellias after the last frost and flowers no longer cover the plant. This will encourage more growth and blooms the following year.

Types of Camellias to Grow
Below are some types of Camellias that grow well in Southern California gardens.

Japonica and Sasanqua Camellias are two popular types to grow. Here are some types
of Camellias to grow:

  • Camellia japonica Pearls Maxwell
  • Camellia sasanqua Pink-A-Boo
  • Camellia japonica Nuccio’s Pearl
  • Camellia sasanqua Kanjiro Pink

Camellias japonica Pearls Maxwell blooms brilliant flowers in a light shade of pink. The flowers have double blooms, making them look thick and fluffy against the dark, green leaves of the plant.

Pearl Maxwell Camellias can grow well in full shade to partial sun areas of the garden. Once mature, it can grow up to 8 feet tall, so make sure you have plenty of space!

Camellia S sasanqua Pink-A-Boo has flowers with less petals and a large, yellow center, similar to daisies. These Camellias make a great border shrub for empty spaces around the house.

Camellia japonica Nuccio’s Pearl have full double petals and look similar to the Pearl Maxwell variety. Nuccio’s Pearl Camellias are white with light pink edges. 

These bushes prefer full shade to part shade and can grow up to 8 feet tall and 8 feet wide.

Camellia sasanqua Kanjiro Pink have semi-double blooms in a deep pink color, making the flowers stand out against their glossy green foliage. They also make great cut flowers to decorate your table during the winter months.

There are many other types of Camellias in an array of colors to choose from to grow in your Southern California garden!

Grow your Camellias in well-draining soil. 

Camellias can make a great addition to your Southern California garden when grown correctly. By following the guide above, you can learn how to grow Camellias to enjoy in your garden for many years.

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