One of the first flowers of early spring, the camellia is a hardy, productive flowering shrub or small tree that gardeners in USDA climate zones 6-9 cherish for its large, colorful flowers and attractive dark green foliage. Camellia japonica is the botanical name of the genus that contains over 3,000 different varieties of this plant. Another species of camellia is the plant that gives us green and black tea--the Camellia sinensis.
Plant your camellias in rich, acidic soil in areas that don't receive full sun all day. This plant is effective when you grow it in border areas of your garden and under larger trees, such as pines and oaks, which give it both acidity and the shade it needs to keep from becoming sunburned.
Use medium-height camellia varieties in hedges at the front of your yard to provide some privacy to your home and lawn area. When you plant camellias to form a hedge, plant them three feet apart.
Plant several camellias in acidic potting soil in late fall through early spring, using large containers with drainage holes. They dress up a deck, pool or patio area nicely, especially if nearby larger trees give them the partial shade they require.
Improve the appearance of fences and outbuildings by planting camellias near them. Plant your camellia bushes at least six feet from any structure to allow them to spread.
Prune your camellias after they finish blooming to keep them compact and attractive. Be sure to deadhead spent blossoms when they begin to fade.