The camellia tree can fit into any size garden because of the wide range of sizes of the different varieties. This is also why the camellia tree can be grown in many parts of the country. Camellias have been grown in the Orient for hundreds of years, and records show that the camellia was used to make tea in China as early as 500 B.C. The tea was brought to England by traders in the 16th or 17th century.
There are two types of camellia trees that are most often found in home gardens. The first is the japonica camellias that bloom in the winter or early spring with large leaves and flowers. The second is the sasanqua camellia, which has smaller and darker leaves and smaller flowers as well. It is also the hardier of the two. Another variety, camellia reticulata, is suitable only for the warmest sections of the country.
There are varieties of camellias that are hardy from zone 6 to zone 11. Zone 6 ranges from parts of southern New York through the lower Midwest and up through parts of Oregon and Washington. Zone 10 is the warmest zone in the continental United States, and Zone 11 is in Hawaii. Camellias need to be planted in semi-shade, but the sasanqua camellias can tolerate full sun. They need a well-drained acidic soil and, except for the sasanqua camellias, are not very drought tolerant.
The camellia tree can be identified by its shape. It is a dense shrub that grows in an upright position in either a round, pyramid or small tree shape. The camellia tree is an evergreen with dark green leaves that have a glossy finish and flowers that resemble a rose. The flowers can be white, pink, red, yellow or variegated and can be semi-double or double blooms.
Most types of camellia trees can grow from 6 to 15 feet tall. There are some types that only reach 2 feet in height, and then there are some that can grow to be 20 feet tall. The width of a camellia tree is about 5 to 7 feet. The flower of the camellia tree can measure as much as 5 inches in diameter. The camellia tree is a slow growing variety, growing just about 12 inches a year.
The camellia tree can be used as a foundation plant, anchoring the rest of the plants, as a garden border, to form a hedge, or as a stand-alone specimen plant. Certain varieties are suitable for bonsai plants. The leaves of the camellia sinensis are used to make tea.
The camellia tree is susceptible to infestation from scale and spider mites. It can also be damaged by fungus infections such as petal blight canker, leaf gall, root rot and camellia yellow mottle leaf virus. If the veins in the leaves turn yellow, it means there is too much pH and not enough acid in the soil.