These beauties put on their show early in the year when there is not much in flower. This is why Camellias are our plant of the month for December. They add some wonderful colour in the garden in the colder months.

Camellia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Theaceae that originate from East and South East Asia. They were brought to Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries as the tea trade grew (Camellia sinensis is used for tea production).

The first decorative Camellias came to our shores in the 19th century but were considered tender for our climate. However, after the 1930s they become popular when hardier hybrid varieties where bred that would reliably flower in British gardens.

Primarily, Camellias are popular for their magnificent blooms. The flowers come in shades of reds, pinks, whites, and even pale yellow and also in a range of attractive flower forms. They flower between late autumn and late spring – depending on variety.

Secondly, and not to be overlooked, is the beautiful glossy leaves on these easy to grow evergreen shrubs. This wonderful foliage adds to the display and makes them a wonderful garden addition.

They naturally grow in dappled shade under trees at the edges of forests or woods. However, they also grow well in containers. They prefer a sheltered position to protect young growth but will tolerate some windy conditions once they are established.

Key Benefits:

  • High impact
  • Early flowering
  • Makes a wonderful gift

Planting notes

They prefer part shade and a neutral or lime-free, well-drained soil. For containers use an ericaceous potting compost. Water tub plants regularly (with soft water), especially if dry and windy. Border plants need regular watering until established. It is worth noting that feeding is only necessary in spring and summer. Regular pruning is not essential as growth is naturally quite bushy. That said, a light formative pruning can be carried out in spring after they have flowered.

Camellias at Farplants

Walberton Nursery grow our Camellias and they produce over 22,000 a year. They recently built a new dedicated growing space with automated full height side vents on all sides and irrigation for improved growing conditions and water management.

Our top Camellia picks:

Camellia Donation is one of the most popular and well-known camellia. It forms a large bush and reliably produces masses of beautiful double pink flowers over a long period in spring. The original plant was bred at Borde Hill Garden in the 1930s and was given the name Donation by Colonel Stephenson Clark, as it was donated to camellia lovers and horticulturalists.

Looking for the perfect anniversary gift?

Camellias make wonderful living gifts and are the perfect way to celebrate anniversary milestones:

  • Silver Anniversary

Abundant tightly ruffled white blooms with yellow centres in March.

  • Ruby Wedding

The stunning ruby red blooms put on their vivid display March – April.

  • Golden Anniversary

Beautiful white symmetrical petals tinged with gold that flower in March.