The Q&A Archives: Which Camellias are best for coastal So. Cal

Question: Hi, I'd like some advice on choosing Camellias for our area. We are 1 mile from the ocean and the soil tends toward the clay type. We are adding a lot of organic material and digging the clay out of the planting areas. I'd like to put a nice 5 foot tall flowering perennial under the eaves on the north corner of the house near the door. It will be seen from inside and will get some late afternoon sun. A peachy pink, white, or any variety that will do well would be welcome. There is room to put two or even three together there and it might be nice to have them flowering alternately. Suggestions?

Thank, Teri

Answer: Common Japanese Camellia (Camellia japonica) is a 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 dark-green leathery leaves are 4 inches long. The flowers, which range in color from white to pink and red, are 3 to 5 inches in diameter. They flower on different varieties from September until April. The flowers may be single, semi-double, or double. Here's a list of those that do well in your gardening region with a notation as to whether they are early, mid-season or late bloomers:

'Adolphe Audusson?- Midseason; very large; red.
?Betty Sheffield Supreme?- Late; large; red.
?Berenice Boddy?- Midseason; medium; light pink.
?Daikagura?- Early-late; large; rose-red.
?Debutante?- Early-midseason; medium-large, pink.
?Desire? - Midseason; medium large; pale pink.
?Kramer?s Supreme?- Midseason; very large; red.
?Kumasaka?- Midseason-late; medium-large; pink.
?Lady Clare?- Midseason-late; large; dark pink;
?Magnoliaeflora?- Midseason; medium; pale-pink.
?Mathotiana?- Midseason-late; very large; crimson.
?Guilio Nuccio?- Midseason; very large; rose.
?Nuccio?s Gem?- Midseason; medium-large, white.
?Pink Perfection?- Early; large; pink.
?R.L. Wheeler?- Late; large; red.
?Rev. John G. Drayton?- Late; semi-double; carmine-rose.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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