Camellia japonica - Japanese camellia
This large-flowered native of Japan has been an icon of the
American South for generations. It is the state flower of Alabama and an international organization is
devoted to its cultivation. It is the most commonly cultivated of approximately
300 species of Camellia. It is a slow
growing shrub or small tree capable of reaching fifteen feet or more in height.
Hundreds of cultivars exist with flowers in shades of white, pink and red. This
plant’s evergreen foliage and winter to spring flowers makes it a valuable
addition to the landscape.
A named cultivar, ‘Blue Danube,’ can be seen on the west side of building 50. Cultivar ‘Laura Walker’ is on the north side of building 51.
For the Florida garden, consider the Japanese camellia to be a large shrub to fifteen feet tall or more. Wild plants are reported to be forty feet tall.
Light: part shade to full shade
Water: drought tolerant when established, irrigation is beneficial
Soil: average soil, acidic soils (low pH)
The Japanese camellia is a tried and true plant for north Florida gardens. It
thrives in partial shade. It grows best in an acidic, well-drained soil. This
is a long-lived plant that slowly grows to become a large shrub. An established
plant is drought tolerant.