The Q&A Archives: Morning Sun Tolerant Camellia

Question: I live in Palm Springs Ca. My condo has a south east A M sunny side that is shady in the P M after noon time. What type of camellia and perennials suited best for this area?

Answer: Because camellias are shallow-rooted, they prefer growing in cool, shady locations. If you want to plant one in morning sunshine, provide rich, well draining soil and add several inches of organic mulch over the root system to help keep the roots cool. I find that the common Japanese Camellia (Camellia japonica) is more tolerant of sunshine. It 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. Because camellias are so shallow rooted, they don't like to share space with other plants. They resent having to compete for moisture and nutrients. So, if you plant a camellia, cover the soil with organic mulch rather than perennials.

Best wishes with your camellia!

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