Name: Camellia species and hybrids
Type of Plant: Evergreen shrubs that flower in the fall, winter or early spring. Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua are most common species and there are now many hybrids available. If you live in northern areas as I do, look for the varieties that are hardy in Zone 6.
Why I Love This Plant: There is nothing like having flowers in the colder times of year, be it late fall, in the winter, or early in the spring. Adding to the appeal, Camellias are round, cheerful flowers – the singles have bright yellow stamens in the center and the doubles look like peonies or roses.
A Word to the Wise: If you live on Cape Cod or other northern areas, be sure to site these in a place where they are as protected from cold, winter winds. They also appreciate being planted in part-shade so that they are protected from hot afternoon sun in the summer and all day sun in the winter.
Camellias appreciate soil that is rich in organic matter, so cover the soil annually with an organic mulch to keep the area amended. They grow best in acidic soil, so the natural pH of the dirt on Cape Cod is perfect. Avoid planting them near a lawn that is limed regularly, because in alkaline conditions they won’t be able to absorb nutrients.