Camellias are grown successfully out of doors in the United States from Long Island, NY, south along the Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, along the Pacific Coast from California to Washington, and in interior sections of the country.
Camellias bloom in late fall, winter, or early spring. There are hundreds of camellia cultivars. Camellia japonica is normally hardy to 10°F, but sudden changes in temperature can damage the foliage or kill open flower buds. Sasanqua camellias are more cold hardy -- tolerating temperature as low as 5°F.
Camellia japonica is a slow growing, broadleaved, evergreen shrub, which may grow to a height of 25 feet, but more often to 6 to 12 feet. It has a spread of 6 to 10 feet. The glossy dark-green, leathery leaves are 2 to 4 inches long. The flowers, which range in color from white to pink and red, are 3 to 5 inches in diameter and bloom from late winter through early spring.
Camellia sasanqua tends to be more open, have smaller leaves, and usually small, single blooms in the fall. Camellia sasanqua varieties are normally faster growing than Camellia japonica.
For more information on camellia culture, visit the
American Camellia Society website.