Camellias in Macon and Warner Robins
Did you know that our beloved sweet tea comes from the leaves of a camellia? Specifically the genus camellia sinensis. The more I learn about gardening, the more I realize how much I don’t know! It is the season for camellias in Macon and Warner Robins to bloom and I have been planning on installing several different varieties in my own garden. A lot of people don’t know we have a couple wholesale camellia growers in the Macon and Warner Robins area that have an incredible selection. One of which grows over 350 varieties! So I have been putting together a list of some show winning camellias that I want to enjoy. To me it seems like there are 3 basic species of camellias. Japonica which has the big glossy leaves and has dense foliage even in shade, sasanqua which has smaller leaves and will do better in sun, and reticulata which has the largest blooms of them all.
I love Japonica camellias. They tolerate shade so well and even do well in dense shade. Another one of my favorite things about the Japonica’s is they grow slowly and don’t require a lot of pruning. I have picked out a few varieties that are a must have for my garden. Sea Foam is a very beautiful variety. It has large dark glossy leaves and one of the most perfect blooms you have ever seen. Grape Soda is unique because it is one of the only varieties of camellias that has a lavender bloom. Like hydrangeas the soil acidity determines how much the bloom will trend toward lavender, and you can apply aluminum sulfate to achieve a darker more profuse bloom color. Another variety I like which is more of a hybrid than a true Japonica is called “High Fragrance”. This camellias has a pink peony bloom and like the name implies is highly fragrant. These camellias in Macon and Warner Robins area do wonderful in our climate
Reticulata camellias are very interesting species as well. I am really excited about planting some of these in my garden. Though they are not quite as cold hardy as Japonicas, they still do well in our region. The Reticulatas tend to have the largest bloom of all the species. These can up to a 7” bloom. One of the most popular varieties is Frank Houser which was developed by the late Dr Walter Homeyer of Macon. This variety flowers red and has one of the largest blooms. Another variety that I like is Valentine which has a large to very large formal double with a rosebud center. These are the species that are a favorite at flowering shows. Competitors will often apply Gibberellic acid that will increase the saize of the bloom and can extend the bloom process if new buds are done at weekly intervals
Sasanqua is the last notable species. The advantage to sasanquas is that they thrive in full sun, but also do well in shady conditions. Most are vigorous growers and typically require more pruning depending on the space you allow for them. One of my favorite sasanquas is the shishi gashira. The advantage to
this variety is that it only grows 3-5’ tall and grows slowly. It is an early bloomer with smaller dark pink flowers. A couple another notable varieties that are more vigorous growers are Alabama Beauty (3” red peony bloom) and Marie Kirk(perfect pure white multi-petal formal double to rose form double).
So hurry up and get some camellias in the ground so you can start enjoying them, but if you cannot do that be sure to visit Massee Lane Gardens and take a look at their camellia collection. Camellias in Macon and Warner Robins really do flourish. Don’t miss out on this blooming beauty. Contact us if you would like to incorporate some into your landscape. Or if you have problems with your camellias such as scale, contact our sister company Liquid Lawn for a plant health program.