The Q&A Archives: Cold Hardy Camellias In Winter

Question: Realistically, what can gardeners in zone 6 who experience plenty of snowfall in winter (especially this year) expect in bloom from the Ice Follies Camellias, or other cold hardy camellias? Thank you.

Answer: In my experience it is almost totally dependent on your microclimate, so it is really difficult to predict -- although Camellia williamsii x oleifera 'Ice Follies' is rated hardy to the zero degrees Farenheit range, your area is surely pushing the limit to the extreme. In my experience, Ice Follies is generally considered hardy only to 6B, not the colder 6A, and since it is a spring bloomer you may lose blooms due to immoderate weather even if the plant itself should survive. I would suggest experimenting with just one rather than a larger planting and see if you are satisfied with the results, or not. Alternatively, ask your local nursery staff what kinds of reports they are hearing from people who are growing them or trying to grow them in your immediate area. Finally,
you may find the American Camellia Society report on very hardy camellias interesting.

I hope this is helpful. I'm sorry I just can't be more encouraging.

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