Monday, February 6, 2012

Crawling with Camellias

You may have noticed the abundance of these gorgeous beauties during an afternoon walk or a drive through the neighborhood, and you can thank the mild weather we've been experiencing for that! But what do you really know about the camellia?

They are natives of eastern and southern Asia, from the Himalaya east to Korea and Indonesia. There are between 100 to 250 described species, but the exact number has created some controversy between horticulturalists.

The Japanese varieties are the most prominent and well-suited camellias to the Hampton Roads area. Camellia growers favor the japonica varieties because they are much hardier and produce the showiest blooms. They bloom almost the entire winter and give us a welcome burst of color on a dreary February day. Sasanquas produce smaller, single-petal flowers and bring their color to the region in the fall. Planting both types will ensure a colorful landscape.

Numerous varieties are available locally, and camellias have recently seen a boost in popularity. Although a native to Asia, they have an old-fashioned southern charm that fits perfectly into any Hampton Roads landscape.

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