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Grow camellias in the garden
The genus camellia brings together about a hundred species of evergreen shrubs, originating in central and southern Asia; they owe their name to the Jesuit botanist Kamel, who in 1600 imported them to Europe from the Philippines. The most cultivated species in Europe, for centuries, is the camellia japonica and its various hybrids. It is a medium-sized shrub, with large leathery, oval, dark and glossy, evergreen leaves; the camellias are grown for their late winter flowering, the large flowers, similar to very double roses, are very decorative, and sometimes intensely scented.
In Italy there is also the cultivation of camellia sasanqua, with simple flowers that bloom in the middle of winter, generally in December.
In the rest of the world dozens of species are cultivated, including the camellia sinensis, a plant from whose buds tea is obtained, or camellia oleifera, from whose seeds in China an edible oil is obtained.
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Plants of this genus are made up of different varieties that have a development that, in some cases, can even reach six meters in height. They have flowers of different sizes and colors, ranging from white to pink to red. The flowers can be double or semi-double or simple. Blooms of this kind usually occur from February to May. They are resistant plants, but when the climate is particularly cold the plant should be repaired in a warmer place. For this reason, where the winter temperatures are harsh, it is good to place the shrubs in a container, which can be moved to shelter.
Camellia japonica cultivation
Camellias are easy to grow shrubs, although it is necessary to follow some rules to obtain healthy and flowering shrubs.
These plants do not fear the cold, and can withstand even intense frosts, only they often develop the buds already in winter: it is therefore advisable to place the shrub in a place sheltered from the winter wind, so that it cannot dry up foliage and buds.
They can withstand periods of drought even prolonged, especially if the climate is cool or cold; in summer instead they need very frequent watering, avoiding in any way the water stagnations, which quickly lead to root rot and to a rapid deterioration of the plant; therefore let's remember to water very regularly, intensifying the waterings during the hot periods of the year, and thinning them, or suspending them, during the cold periods.
Cultivation Camellia - Camellia japonica: Soil and fertilization
Also the fertilizations will be supplied in autumn and in spring, we avoid the fertilizations and excessive waterings in winter, when the plant can remain without problems in the dry.
In fact, the climate of tropical Asia, the place of origin of these shrubs, consists of a succession of very rainy hot seasons and dry, cold seasons.
Camellias prefer fresh soil, not particularly rich in organic matter, very well drained, and possibly specific for acidophilic plants; the lack of iron available in the soil quickly causes leaf chlorosis.
We can also grow these plants in pots, remembering however that potted plants often tend to have greater needs than the ones grown in the ground.