June 2016: Camellias in Store Now

Including camellias in your garden can be a fabulous way to add colour and form during winter.  If you pop into the store now you will find a plethora of camellias ... including well established flowering bushes, espaliers, japonicas and sasanqua bushes.  

Camellias prefer an acid soil, although you will see many old established camellias in Unley gardens doing very well on a more alkaline soil.  All camellias prefer a cool root zone, so applying plenty of compost or mulch to the root zone will help keep your plants happy and healthy.   Applying a specially formulated fertiliser, such as Kahoona (Neutrog), every 8-10 weeks during the growing season (spring through to Autumn) is recommended for good flower development and general plant health.  If you don't have room for a camellia in your garden, then consider popping one in a pot, but be sure to use an acid potting mix, and if you need to re-pot an existing camellia then the best time is from April through to October.  

There are two main types of camellias, with many new hybrids also available.


Sasanqua camellias are generally more hardy in our environment, growing well with more sun then the Japonica camellia.  Sasanqua camellias flower from Autumn through to winter.   Blooms range in colour and form, from whites, through to pinks and reds, and from singles through to doubles.  If you pop your nose into a bloom you may be surprised to find it is sweetly scented.  Whilst Sasanqua camellias are more tolerant of sun then Japonica camellias, they will need some protection from hot afternoon sun and northerly winds.  Planting them in a protected part of your garden should result in healthier, happier plants.  Applying Yates DroughtShield offers useful protection the extremes of sun and wind over summer without the unsightly use of sheets and umbrellas.   Some of our favourite Sasanqua camellias include:

  • Camellia Setsugekka:    this camellia has an open single bloom  (slightly ruffled) and lovely deep green foliage.  Setsugekka makes makes a fabulous hedge or screen, and does well as an espalier.  
  • Camellia Yuletide:  This camellia has an open, single bright red bloom, with a yellow centre.  It's flowers are offset by dense, glossy green foliage.  Yuletide will flower for 4-5 months over winter, and also makes for a fabulous hedge or screen, and can be espaliered.  

Japonica camellias flower from winter through to spring, and are best known for their tightly held double blooms.  Japonica camellias do best in morning sun, and are much less tolerant of Adelaide's hot weather.  These are the camellias you will see thriving in the Adelaide Hills in the dappled light of old gardens.  

  • Camellia Brushfield's Yellow:  this camellia has striking, deeply held ruffled, double pale lemon blooms.  Brushfields Yellow flowers from late April through to September.  
  • Camellia CM Wilson:  This is a pink flowering, ruffled double camellia.  CM Wilson flowers from late May through to September.  

Hybrid camellias have come into their own in recent years, with some beautiful cultivars now available to the home gardener.  Hybrid's are said to be the best of both worlds - the sasanqua and the japonica.  There are some beautiful hybrids on the market now, including the stunning double blooming 'Volunteer' camellia.

If you want to add one of these winter gems to your backyard our garden staff will be happy to help you select the right Camellia.