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Camellia Japonica is a type of flowering shrub that is commonly found in the southern United States, including many nationally-recognized gardens in Charleston, South Carolina. One of the compelling advantages of these plants is their late-bloom, which brings color to your landscape during typically-brown or dreary months, when other plants don’t thrive.

Four amazing Camellia Japonica varieties to spruce up your late-winter garden are:

Camellia japonica ‘Alba Plena’

The ‘Alba Plena’ provides beautiful white flowers with golden stamens in late-winter, and grows to heights around eight-feet tall. The spread of the Camellia shrub makes this a great choice for borders, or to bring some life to your landscapes year-round. The Alba Plena grows slowly, but you can coax it along with high-quality mulch or organic compost. Plant in the shade and protect these shrubs from heavy-winds or direct-sun. Keep the soil moist and make sure that you have adequate drainage for best results.


Camellia japonica ‘Debutante’

‘Debutante’ lives up to its name with delicate pink blossoms and pale-green foliage. These make for dramatic gardens, landscapes, and borders, and bloom in early-winter typically. Like other Camellias, the Debutante prefers partial-shade and moist soil that is acidic and well-drained. These grow up to eight-feet tall but may take a while as it is a slow-growing shrub.


Camellia japonica ‘Kramer’s Supreme’

‘Kramer’s Supreme’ is noted by its dark, glossy leaves and smooth, grey branches. The flowers are large and waxy, typically bright red, and bloom in late-winter until early-spring. This shrub reaches medium-height, and brings a fragrant feature to your yard, garden, and borders. This Camellia prefers partial shade, but once your shrub has matured, it can tolerate full-sun.  Plant in moist, acidic soil that has good drainage for optimal results. Be patient; Kramer’s supreme is a slow-grower, but adding a hefty amount of organic mulch will help it along and protect the plant’s roots. Prune in the late-spring lightly to aid in flowering next season.


Camellia japonica ‘Lady Vansittart’

‘Lady Vansittart’ is a bit smaller, with oval, glossy leaves that resemble holly and large, pink blossoms. The large, waxy flowers appear in late-winter until spring, tolerating colder temperatures well. This camellia is slow-growing and does best in partial shade until mature, at which point you can introduce full, direct sun. Plant in rich, moist soil that is acidic and well-drained. Mulch helps in protecting the roots, but try to use organic matter when possible.


New to Camellias? Consider attending the February workshop at Terra Bella Garden Center this February, and meet Darren Sherriff- often known as ‘The Citrus Guy’ of landscape and design. Join this workshop for inspiration to take home to your own outdoor spaces, as well as to garner everything you need to know about these beautiful Asian shrubs.

Check with your local garden and landscape design center, for more information regarding Camellias, and contact Terra Bella Garden Center to plan, design and implement year-round color in your Charleston landscape! Camellia Japonica shrubs- including these four amazing varieties- can do a lot to enhance and elevate your yard and garden year-round.

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