Camellia are a popular flowering plant that are well-loved for their beautiful, showy blooms and evergreen foliage. There are many different types of camellia, but two of the most commonly grown varieties are Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua.
Camellia japonica, also known as Japanese camellia, is a slow-growing, large shrub that can reach up to 5 metres in height. It produces large, round blooms in shades of white, yellow, pink, and red from late Winter to early Spring. The leaves of the Camellia japonica are glossy, large and dark green, providing year-round interest in the garden. This variety prefers a slightly acidic soil and is best planted in a sheltered spot with filtered sun or part shade. Camellia japonica is also susceptible to root rot, so it's important to avoid over-watering and ensure good drainage.
Camellia sasanqua, on the other hand, is a smaller, faster-growing shrub that typically reaches a height of 2-3 metres. It produces smaller, more delicate blooms in shades of white, yellow , pink, and red from Autumn to Early winter. The leaves of Camellia sasanqua are also glossy and dark green but generally smaller than Japonica, and this variety is more tolerant of a wider range of soils and growing conditions. Camellia sasanqua prefers a sunny to partly shaded position with well-drained soil, and it can tolerate more sun than Camellia japonica.
Both Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua are relatively low-maintenance plants, but they do require some care to thrive. Regular watering is essential, especially during dry spells, and it's important to avoid letting the soil dry out completely. Camellias also benefit from a regular feed of a balanced fertiliser in Spring and Autumn to promote healthy growth and blooming. Additionally, pruning can help to maintain a neat, compact shape and encourage more blooms, but care should be taken not to over-prune or prune at the wrong time, as this can damage the plant.
Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua are both popular varieties of camellia that are well-suited to the Australian climate. While they share many similarities, such as their glossy green foliage and beautiful blooms, there are also some key differences in their size, blooming season, and growing requirements. With a little bit of care and attention, however, both varieties can provide years of enjoyment in the garden.