Posted on January 20, 2019 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
This is Camellia japonica. I was surprised to see it blooming in January. But I just read that it's sometimes called Rose of Winter, since it blooms between January and March. OK. Normal.
My sister, Julie has these huge bushes (15 feet tall) growing in the middle of her circular driveway. They are beautiful right now. The blossoms are about 5 inches across, and each branch is loaded. Kinda messy on the driveway, but beautiful when you look up.
Camellias will grow in our area too. They like bright light, but will do well with a little shade. Roxanne and Jim have some in their yard, and they seem to do fine with a lot of shade. The leaves are thick and leathery, making me think the deer probably don't eat them. I'll get back to you on that assumption.
Maybe I'll write a blog all about deer and their food preferences. For Karen. ;)
There are several species of Camellia. They are all evergreen shrubs or trees. Camellia japonica has large leaves and big, showy flowers and the plant can grow to 36 feet! Camellia sasanqua has smaller leaves and flowers and the plants grow 5-6 feet tall. These two species are common garden plants, available in local garden centers.
Another species grown mainly in Asia is Camellia sinensis. It has small white flowers and is sometimes called tea plant or tea shrub. Because the leaves and leaf buds are used to make tea. Leaves are collected at different stages of development producing different tea qualities. Too much science for this blog entry; I just like knowing that Lipton tea comes from a familiar plant.
If you see a bush booming in winter, look closely, it might be a Camellia.