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Camellia Information


Camellias were first imported into Australia in 1826 from England but the species originated from Japan and China. In the early years of Australia, the Camellia became a favourite bush to plant about the home and in time there were many gardens with extensive plantings of the Camellia. However in time, with cities encroaching upon the lands beyond their boundaries and the need to consider the economic cost of maintaining such plantings, the area set aside for the Camellia has retreated. Today we find few but often isolated spots of land sporting large concentrations of this lovely winter jewel. Today’s homes would prefer the barbeque and the swimming pool to the garden but should such cultivation be found it is adorned quite often with the Australian native, or cactus come grass that requires little water. Yet tucked away can be found some Camellias here and a Camellia there. However a careful search will locate the enthusiast who has made numerous plantings and when the ground area at the grower’s disposal has been exhausted, pots of various hues, shapes and sizes have been commandeered to cope with the overflow. We have now the picture of the enthusiast who roams the halls of Camellias Illawarra Inc.

Camellias generally are hardy and easy to care for and only in their early years is there a need for some greater attention, particularly with watering during hot weather. In temperate climates most camellias can be grown in open ground providing there are no extremes in heat or cold. A canopy of shades as provided by other trees or even shade cloth can be an advantage under the hot Australian sun. Their colours can range from white through shades of pink to very deep red and also yellow. Variegations of a true colour can be quite interesting and indeed spectacular in some cultivars.

Camellias can be grown as specimen trees and placed in focal points in the garden, while others are more suitable to be grown as standards and others such as the Sasanqua are suitable for hedges or espalier or shrubbery, while there are also others that are slow growing and can be used as a ground cover.

There are also some camellias that can be adapted to be grown in pots or hanging baskets providing the pot or basket is of a size and location to suit the plant. Others can be trained and pruned into a bonsai form.
This website does not present an in depth analysis of Camellia management or cultivation, but endeavours to create an interest in and love of the Camellia bloom which in turn will lead the individual to further efforts to produce a bloom worthy enough to attract the attention of the judges in the various Camellia Shows. Information on cultivation can be obtained through discussions with members of Camellias Illawarra Inc, or linking to the parent organisation, Camellias Australia Inc. at their web site www.camellia.org.au .