Camellias have long been appreciated for their beauty and herbal properties. They are native to Southeast Asia and have been cultivated in that region for thousands of years. Camellias have traditionally been used by the Chinese and Japanese to make tea out of their leaves. The specific species of Camellia used to make tea is the 'Camellia Sinensis'. Camellias are still used today to make tea, but are most often appreciated in the Southeastern United States for their beautiful flowers.
The two most popular species of camellias are 'Camellia Sasanqua' and 'Camellia Japonica.' Both species produce gorgeous blooms, but they do have some major differences.
'Camellia Sasanqua' has smaller leaves, and if one examines them closely, they'll notice tiny hairs on the stems. They bloom first, blooming anytime from October until January. Camellia's, in general, prefer shade but 'Camellia Sasanqua' is more tolerant of direct sunlight and some varieties can even tolerate full sun all day.
'Camellia Japonica,' on the other hand, has bigger leaves and no hairs anywhere on the stem. They generally bloom in late December (around Christmas) and will bloom until March. This species, in particular, requires shade. Direct sunlight in the morning is fine, however, afternoon sunlight exposure will burn this Camellia and inevitably kill it.
Camellias don't like wet feet and need excellent drainage to thrive. When planting camellias dig your hole twice as wide as the pot and always plant them high. Leave the top of the root ball at least two inches above ground level. Don't forget to amend your soil with dirt specifically formulated for drainage. We recommend planting Camellias Daddy Pete's Raised Bed Mix for superior drainage.
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