Camelia

Carithers Flowers Design Favorite

Camelia (C. japonica) is an evergreen shrub in the Theaceae family, containing literally hundreds of species (most of them cultivars and hybrids). Native to Asia, from the Himalaya east to Korea and Indonesia, the Camelia is now identified with the old South. Introduced in the United States near Charleston, South Carolina in 1786, it is very popular throughout the southern Atlantic states. Camelia is the official flower of the state of Alabama and Sacramento, California is nicknamed the “Camelia City”. In the Victorian language of flowers, Camelia is known for its “honest excellence”, and it was considered the flower of luxury in Europe in the 1800’s. An anonymous poet once described its allure another way, stating the flower “boasts no fragrance and conceals no thorn”.

Growing Recommendations - Camelia

The most famous variety of Camelia is the tea plant (C.sinensis), important economically because extract from its leaves is used to make tea. Tea oil, a sweet seasoning and widely used cooking oil in Southeast Asia, is also produced from the seeds of several species. Glossy broad -leaved shrubs produce beautiful red, pink or white flowers in a variety of forms and sizes that bloom profusely from winter to late spring. Through hybridization, gardeners are producing new varieties every year, including yellow flowering ones. Camelia shrubs typically grow 10-20’, though some appear more like a tree reaching over 25’. Its flower varieties can be from just over 2” across to over 5”, with single or double blooms of 5 to 9 petals. Camelia prefers filtered light and grows.

Photos of Camelia

Return to Listings