One variety of the Camellia flower, the Camellia japonica, is the state flower of Alabama and is native to China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. The Camellia flower is a member of the Theaceae, or tea, family, and related to the tea plant. Camellias are grown as shrubs or trees and the leaves of several varieties are used to make tea.
More than 400 species of plants have been categorized as Camellias, but not all are grown as garden plants. Those that are include the japonica, reticulata, sasanqua, saluenensis or hybrids that are offspring of combinations of them.
The Camellia is a flower that has a very faint fragrance and bright colors. The leaves are evergreen and glossy with a deep color. Camellias that are grown in containers can reach a height of from 4 to 6 feet. The Camellia is a flower that is hardy in zones 7 to 9 and in zone 6, but only with protection in the winter. The Camellia flower likes soil that is sandy or clay loam and is kept slightly moist.
The Camellia flower can be planted at anytime fo the year as long as there is no chance of a frost. If the Camellia comes in a container, dig a hole 2 times the size of the root ball and as deep as the container. Place the plant in the center and fill in with soil. Create a water ring--a depression in the soil--around the edge of the hole so the water will get to the outside roots. Mulch with a minimum of 3 inches of compost and give a good watering. If it comes in a burlap bag, dig the hole three times the size of the root ball and as deep as the root ball.
Synthetic burlap must be removed; while natural does not (just the staples do). Fold the top of the bag down so it is below ground when the hole is filled and proceed like with the container planting. If it is a bare root plant, soak them for at least 8 hours. Dig a hole as wide as the spread-out roots and as deep as the discolored part of the trunk. The rest is the same as the other two.
Feed the Camellia flower a fertilizer that is made for flowering shrubs and trees in the spring before the appearance of any new growth. You can have the soil tested to determine if there is any nutrient deficiency and use a fertilizer rich in it instead of an all purpose one. Camellia flowers need to be watered with a minimum of 1 inch of water a week. Water when the top few inches of soil are completely dry.
The Camellia flower is susceptible to fungal diseases such as powdery mildew, root rot, rusts and Southern blight. Insects can also be a big problem. They include aphids, caterpillars, scales and thrips. Fungal infections can be treated with fungicides. Prevention includes planting with a distance between the plant to allow for air circulation and making sure the soil is well drained. Insects can be treated with insecticides that are allowed in your area.