Camellias are attractive shrubs famous for their beautiful flowers and glossy leaves. However, some plants can drop their leaves during the winter, while others stay evergreen all year round. In this article, we’ll find out if camellia plants are evergreen.
Are Camellia Plants Evergreen?
Camellia plants belong to the Camellia genus within the tea family (Theaceae). Camellia shrubs are evergreen, not deciduous. This means camellias keep their lustrous leaves all year round rather than dropping them in the fall.
Camellia leaves are essential to the tea industry. Dried camellia leaves are processed in different ways to make black, green, and oolong tea. Camellia leaves contain compounds like caffeine and L-theanine, which have several health benefits.
The Life Cycle of Camellia Plants
Camellias grow either as shrubs or small trees. Although camellias add up to 12 inches of growth per year, they slow down when they reach maturity. Camellia shrubs take several years to fully mature. Most camellia species grow between six and 15 feet tall and approximately six to ten feet wide.
When Are Camellia Plants In Season?
Depending on the exact species, camellia plants flower at different times. Most camellia plants produce their large beautiful flowers between late fall and spring. Each flower can last for several weeks before fading away.
Three main camellia varieties are grown in gardens. Each species has been bred to produce hundreds of different cultivars. Camellia sasanqua and Camellia sinensis bloom during the fall, while Camellia japonica flowers during the spring.
How Long Do Camellia Plants Last?
Once established, evergreen camellia shrubs are relatively low-maintenance plants. As such, they can live for decades. The oldest known camellia plants lived for over a century.
After camellias reach maturity, their growth slows down. This means that established camellias don’t require regular fertilizing or pruning. Once established, many camellia varieties are reasonably drought-tolerant.
Most camellia varieties grow best in USDA Zones 7 to 10. However, you can still grow camellias in containers in colder climates. This makes it easier to protect the shrubs during the winter.
How to Care for Camellia Plants
Evergreen camellia plants are beautiful, low-maintenance shrubs that are pretty easy to grow. While they need more attention in their first year, mature camellias benefit from a hands-off approach.
Most camellia varieties require partial shade with a few hours of sun in the morning. Too much direct sunlight can dry camellias out and scorch their glossy leaves. However, Camellia sasanqua can tolerate full sun once it’s established.
Established camellias should be watered semi-regularly to keep the soil moist. Water whenever the top four inches of soil feel dry. Young camellia shrubs should be watered for the first year and a half to help them establish themselves.
Camellias thrive in slightly acidic soils with a pH range between 5.5 and 6.5. Camellias need fertile, well-draining soils that still hold some moisture. If you’re growing camellias in containers, use ericaceous compost as a base.
Camellias benefit from being planted in a sheltered spot. This protects their beautiful blooms from cold winds. Camellias prefer temperatures in Zones 7 to 10 and can tolerate temperatures as low as 10ºF (-12ºC). In colder areas, protect camellias in winter by bringing their containers inside or covering the soil with fleece or mulch.
Camellias produce flowers on new growth. Once the plant finishes flowering, it’ll start working on next year’s blooms. As such, camellias shouldn’t be pruned too often. Prune camellias once a year after flowering finishes.
Fertilize camellias once in the spring after flowering stops to fuel the growth of next year’s flowers.
Evergreen Camellia Plants FAQs:
Do Camellias Lose Their Leaves in Winter?
Camellias are evergreen shrubs, meaning that they don’t lose their leaves during the winter.
Where is the Best Place to Plant a Camellia?
Plant camellias in a sheltered spot that gets partial shade and provides fertile, slightly acidic soil.
Can Camellias Survive in Pots?
Camellias grow well in pots, especially in areas colder than Zone 7. Growing camellias in containers also helps restrict their size.
Are Camellia Plants Evergreen: Wrapping Up
Camellias are evergreen shrubs that retain gorgeous glossy green leaves throughout the year. Camellia leaves produce black, green, and oolong tea and have numerous health benefits.
For more, see our in-depth guide to the meaning and symbolism of camellia flowers.
Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.