A Quick Guide to Camellia Flowers
You may not be familiar with camellia flowers, but chances are you are acquainted with at least one camellia plant. C. sinensis is the scientific name for the tea plant. The next most popular of the camellia flowers is a hybrid known as a Japanese camellia. The scientific name is C. japonica.
While camellia flowers originated in Asia (Japan, Eastern China, Korea), there are now between 250 and 300 different species of camellias growing around the world. For the most part, they are considered evergreen shrubs, although some are trees, growing to between 65 and 70 feet high.
What does a camellia plant look like?
The camellia plant has large leaves, around six to six-and-a-half inches long. They are a glossy green and show off the camellia flowers, which can be up to five inches across. The flowers can come in a variety of colors, now branching out from the usual pinks and reds to yellow flowers in certain camellia species. The flowers have between five and nine petals.
Make tea from camellia plants
If you want to grow your own tea, the camellia plant is certainly a good choice. The plant is known to have been around for over 3000 years, and some of the best commercial teas in the world are produced from the plant, including black, white, green pu-erh and oolong teas. There is also a tea called kukicha which is made from the stems and twigs of the plant, rather than from the leaves.
The camellia plant reproduces through seeds, growing a small capsule with as many as eight seeds within it. The seed capsules are dispersed by the wind. You can buy both seeds and plants online or check your local gardening store to see if they are available in your region. Most tea is produced in very warm climates so if you live in an area with cold winters, camellia is not the best plant for you to try.
How to grow camellia plants?
Gardeners often grow camellia plants in large pots. Whenever they outgrow one size pot, it is easy to transplant them into another and they usually bear no ill effects. If you live in a warm climate, you can plant camellia plants any time of the year, although spring and fall are the seasons most people choose. They like acidic soil. They also thrive with liquid manure but you must be careful not to fertilize the plant during its flowering period. Only apply fertilizer when the plant is in a dormant state.
Don’t give your camellia flowers too much sun. If you plan on growing several, such as to border a path or lawn, raised beds are the best choice. Camellias like well-drained soils so they don’t get too moist. They also will thrive when mulch is applied. It retains moisture and warmth while keeping weeds at a minimum. If you soil is not acidic enough, add lime and mulch with a bark mix.
When planting your camellias, keep the root ball just a bit above ground level. Ideally, you should be able to see the top of the roots when you look at the plant. Camellias need air circulation at the base of the plant. Preparing the soil with an organic mix is an excellent way to give camellia flowers a good start. This mix can include compost and dried manure.
Diseases and pests
Camellia flowers have few pests or diseases and are one of the easiest plants to grow. The only insects to bother the plant are scales and aphids, which can be easily deterred with organic methods. Just keep the plant from getting overly wet and you should be thrilled with the results.