Camellia plants are known for their gorgeous flowers and evergreen leaves. However, you may be wondering if these plants can survive freezing temperatures. Keep reading to learn if camellia buds will freeze and some tips to protect camellias during the winter.
Will Camellia Buds Freeze?
In general, camellia buds will be fine if temperatures remain above 32ºF. However, the flower buds may freeze and fall off if temperatures dip below freezing.
Below-freezing temperatures will likely damage blooming flowers (and can cause other issues, such as curling camellia leaves). When the flowers freeze and thaw, they often fall off the plants.
However, the rest of the camellia plant will typically pass through freezes with flying colors.
How Cold-Hardy Are Camellia Plants?
Most types of camellias are cold-hardy to USDA zone 8, which means they can survive temperatures as low as 10–15°F.
However, the exact cold hardiness depends on both the species and the variety. For example, some camellias can survive temperatures as low as 0°F, while others can be harmed if temperatures dip to 20°F.
Before you choose a camellia for your area, check the cold hardiness of the specific variety.
How to Care for Camellia Plants Over Winter
Preparing your camellias for cold winter temperatures can help protect them from damage. Keep these tips in mind to keep your plants healthy over the winter.
Mulch the Roots
Camellia plants are relatively cold-hardy and can survive below-freezing temperatures. However, their roots can become damaged if they are exposed to cold temperatures and drying winds.
Placing a few inches of straw, wood chips, or pine needles on the ground near the base of the plant. This will help insulate the soil and protect the roots.
You can pull the mulch away from the base of the plant when warm spring weather arrives.
Protect from Late Frosts
Although camellia plants are generally safe from below-freezing temperatures, the flowers and flower buds are susceptible to damage. This is especially true when temperatures rise early in the late winter or early spring and then dip back down.
If your camellia flowers are in bloom and a cold snap is in the forecast, you can take steps to protect your flowers from the cold.
Draping a piece of fabric row cover or a sheet over your plants can help protect them from a light frost. Cover the plants in the evening before frost arrives, and then remove the sheets/covers in the morning when the temperature is just above freezing.
Provide a Windbreak
Before you plant your camellia, you should think about the wind that is present in your planting location. If you live in a windy area, you should protect your camellia plants with larger plants, buildings, or other windbreaks.
For example, if winds typically come in from the west, place larger plants on the western side of your camellia plant.
While camellias may be able to handle temperatures as low as 15°F, they may be damaged by 30°F coupled with high winds.
For more, see our in-depth guide on the best camellia varieties for hedging.
Should I Bring My Camellia Plants Indoors During the Winter?
If you live in an area colder than zone 7, consider bringing your camellia indoors during the winter. This will help protect the plants from the cold and allow them to survive into the next year.
It will be easier to bring your plants inside if they are planted in a container. However, you can also dig up in-ground plants, place them in a container, and bring them indoors.
If you plan to bring your plants indoors, dig them up in the late fall before the ground freezes. Rather than placing the plants in your home, put them somewhere cool, like a garage.
You can move the plants outdoors once the danger of frost has passed in the spring.
Camellia Buds in Freezing Temperatures FAQs:
Can Camellias Survive Freezing Temperatures?
Camellia plants can survive below-freezing temperatures without experiencing any damage. However, camellia flowers and flower buds may become damaged by freezing temperatures.
Will Camellia Flower Buds Freeze?
Camellia flower buds may be able to remain unscathed after a light frost. However, these buds may become damaged and fall off after a more severe freeze.
How Can I Protect My Camellia Plant During the Winter?
Protect the roots by mulching the base of your camellia with a few inches of straw, leaves, or wood chips. You can also cover flowers with frost cloth to protect them from late frosts.
While camellia plants are cold-hardy, their flower buds and flowers may become damaged by a freeze or frost. Protecting plants with mulch, windbreaks, and row covers can help them survive the coldest months.
For more, see our in-depth guide on the meaning and symbolism of camellias and discover our favorite types of red, white, and pink camellia flowers.
Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.
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