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Camellias & azaleas

For showy flowering colour, we love hardy, evergreen camellias and azaleas. Many varieties are covered in blooms during the coolest months of the year, so when most of your flowering plants are in hibernation, you can count on camellias and azaleas to light up your garden with autumn flowers and winter flowers. You can enjoy camellias and azaleas as hedges, screens or shrubs, both in a pot and in the garden.

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Camellias & azaleas

Why we love azalea and camellia plants

For impressive, colourful flowers, we love hardy, evergreen camellias and azaleas. Many varieties come into bloom during the coolest months of the year, so when most of your flowering plants are in hibernation, you can count on camellias and azaleas to light up your garden with autumn flowers and winter flowers. You can enjoy camellias and azaleas as hedges, screens or shrubs, both in a pot and in the garden.

Azaleas are prized the world over for their vibrant displays of colour, and camellias for their perfectly formed blossoms, and they both have lovely year-round foliage. Although they are from different plant families, they require similar care and growing conditions so are popular garden pairs. 

The most popular azaleas are the kirin and red wing varieties, due to their reliability and attractive blooms, while the most popular camellias are camellia sasanqua and camellia japonica varieties, though there are more than 30,000 cultivars in existence around the world. 

 

When do camellia bloom?

Camellia bloom from early autumn to late spring, though their bloom season varies depending on which type of camellia you have. One of the reasons camellia sasanqua is so popular is that it has a long flowering season, from late autumn all the way through winter. It will drop its delicate petals almost daily, creating a pretty petal carpet throughout its season. To find out when do camellia bloom, look at the specific variety you have or want to plant.

 

When do azalea bloom?

Azaleas are at their peak from late winter through to spring when they are in full bloom. Azaleas flower generously and many varieties also bloom at other times of the year, a habit called 'spot flowering'.

 

How to care for camellia and azalea

Camellias and azaleas will die if they are planted too deep. When planting, dig a hole a foot or so wider than the root ball and no deeper than the depth of the container it is in. Place the root ball in the hole so that its soil is slightly above the level of the ground, then fill with a mixture of the native soil and a high-quality potting mix or fertiliser and pat down firmly. Water thoroughly

They both prefer three to four hours of direct sunlight a day, but our summer sun can damage them, so it is best to place them somewhere they get a few hours of morning or late afternoon sun or somewhere they will get filtered light all day. 

They need regular watering, especially in warmer, dryer months, but not so often that their shallow roots get waterlogged. They will need moist but well-drained soil that is slightly acidic and humus rich.

While many camellias and azaleas live very happily for years without fertiliser, to give them the best chance at blooming healthily, you should feed them three times a year with a specific camellia and azalea fertiliser.

 

When to prune camellias

Because they have different blooming schedules, there is no hard and fast rule for when to prune camellias, but the best time to prune any camellia is right after it has stopped blooming, which will most likely be at the end of winter or beginning or spring depending on the variety. Younger camellias will probably just need a good tidy, but you cut your camellia back quite hard to encourage bushiness, especially in more mature plants. Then, just neaten into the shape of your choice. Pruning the plant at other times will not harm the plant, but it may remove some of the blossom buds for the next year.

 

When to prune azaleas

Azaleas are easy to prune and they respond well to shearing or clipping. Like camellias, older, woody plants can be cut back hard to restore bushiness. Prune azaleas soon after they have bloomed in the spring or early summer. You’ll know when to prune azaleas in your garden when you see flowers begin to discolor and shrivel. Again, you can cut them back in late summer, fall, or winter, but this will remove flower buds and stop them from blooming next season.

If you want to add these hardy and beautiful plants to your own garden or courtyard, shop our range of azaleas and camellias online. Or come in-store and chat to one of our expert horticulturalists who can give you advice and tips and help you choose the right one for you.

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