Camellias grow easily during East Texas winters

Published on Wednesday, 1 January 2014 23:47 - Written by By Dee Bishop In Our Garden

January begins deep winter. Blooming flowers are hard to find, but we here in East Texas are blessed with the ability to grow camellias.

Two types of camellias grow abundantly in our area. Camellia sasanqua blooms in autumn, and Camellia japonica blooms in winter into spring. Their bloom times often overlap so that both bloom at the same time for a period. We have a little sasanqua that has bloomed from October and was still blooming as we entered the new year.

Sasanquas are easily grown in the Tyler area. Although they have smaller flowers than their cousins, they will take more sun, drought and are not nearly as picky to soil requirements as the japonicas.

Sasanquas grow from 4 to 15 feet in height and can be trimmed into a small tree or a large shrub. There are single, double and semi-double flowered ones and the usual colors are red to pinks and whites.

I absolutely love looking out on a cold winter day to see this little bush covered in its lovely rose-like blooms. I wish I knew the name of this little gem, but I cannot find a picture of it anywhere.

I have another little sasanqua called Yule Tide that is also blooming heavily. Yule Tide is a perfect name since it is deep red and blooms at Christmas and beyond. My little Yule Tide has been pushed nearly out of the ground, due to construction on our house, but is blooming just the same.

I keep all my camellias mulched with pine straw and try to keep them watered in summer and they really reward me with their beautiful blooms when I need flowers the most.

If you have a little shade where you can dig in lots of peat and compost, being careful to raise the bed enough to insure perfect drainage, consider getting a camellia. You will really love it when it blooms and even when it is not blooming, it has lovely shiny evergreen foliage. Keep your camellia mulched and watered in summer.