Camellias: The South’s Blushing Beauty and March’s Feature Plant

Blog Contributed by Stephen McClain

If you grew up in the South, then you know that winter and early spring become alive with color when the camellias bloom. These blushing beauties can be seen in nearly every Southern small town, has been named Alabama’s state flower, and even grace the toughest hole at the Augusta National. Great Estates Landscaping is the experts at planting these graceful winter blooms and have named the camellia the Feature Plant for March. But, our team wondered, how did this flower, a native of southern Asia, find its way to Southern botanical history?

The answer, surprisingly, originates in France. André Michaux, a plant explorer, and botanist to King Louis XVI was made Royal botanist and sent to the Americas to study plant life. Michaux established the first botanical garden in the South, near Charleston in 1786. In this spectacular garden, Michaux planted his most wondrous finds from his adventures in the Orient. These plants would become the staple of Southern gardens and included plants like mimosa, Chinaberry tree, gingko, and the camellia. Today, you can still find one remaining specimen from Michaux’s time. It’s called the ‘Reine des Fleurs’ and grows in a spectacular red color.

Camellias bloom during the winter when the weather is chilly, which means your landscape will look spectacular, even in the cold. These shrubs are great growing partners to azaleas and thrive in low, shady areas. Camellias bloom in a wide variety of colors too; every color from wine, burgundy, pink, orange, and snow white. Some varieties are even used in tea making. Did we mention their distinctive blooms? Some grow in spirals that are reminiscent of roses while others sprout blousy, peony-like petals.

If you’re ready to plant some camellias or add them to your landscape, it is important to grow the right type of camellia for your garden. The most common varieties of camellia are the Camellia Japonica and the Camellia Sasanqua. The Japonica blooms from mid-winter to spring, while the Sasanqua blooms in the mid-fall.

Bring some Southern ease to your commercial property or even your own backyard, with camellias, the Feature Plant for March from Great Estates Landscaping.

About The Author

In addition to being a manager on the landscaping maintenance, installation and turf management team at Great Estates Landscaping, Stephen McClain is a sports fanatic who enjoys spending time in nature and doing outdoor activities with his family.

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