Colourful Camellias are one of the most popular spring shrubs in our gardens. This is not surprising as it is a shrub that blooms early in the spring and gives our gardens early splashes of stunning colours in pink and red, or in cream and white when there is very little else flowering. It has come a long way since the Victorian times when it was a pampered plant grown only in Orangeries or glasshouses. The single or double blooms are often intricately delicate layers of petals.
There are just a few golden rules to follow, otherwise they are really quite simple to grow and little trouble. They grow particularly well in urban or courtyard gardens and do not mind air pollution or lack of sun. However, they will not tolerate draughts or strong winds, so plant them against a west or north west wall. It is also unwise to plant them facing east as the early sun can easily damage the flower buds if there has been a frost.
If you can find a sheltered position you can grow your Camellias in pots too, which makes it easier if you do not have the right soil conditions. They will only thrive in acid or neutral soil. Now is a good time to plant them, digging in plenty of organic matter such as leaf mould. They need little pruning and if it is necessary make sure you do this straight after flowering. Their roots grow fairly close to the surface so keep them well watered, but not water logged. If we get a prolonged dry spell, try to use rainwater rather than tap, as it contains too much calcium.