Camellias for Northern Gardens

Winter’s Interlude 7′

Height: 7 feet

Spread: 6 feet

Sunlight:  partial shade  full shade

Hardiness Zone: 6

Other Names: Japanese Camellia, Common Camellia


Lustrous evergreen foliage makes a great hedge; beautiful shell pink flowers appear in late fall; a very cold hardy variety; provide rich, acidic, moist, well-drained soil


Winter’s Joy

Camellia ‘Winter’s Joy’

We were thrilled last fall to see that, as always, the plants we would be shipping this spring were full of flowers. And what blooms! Sumptuous, semidouble flowers of a rich pink were incredibly radiant last October and November, and they lifted our spirits every time we passed by. ‘Winter’s Joy’ indeed! The growth habit of this Camellia is upright and narrow, so it would be useful in one of those tight spots that could use a bit of cheer in late fall. Z. 6-9

Winter's Peony Camellia 4′

Winter’s Peony

Winter’s Cupid 3′

Dr. William Ackerman – Longwood Gardens

“Thanks to advancements in breeding by Dr. William Ackerman of the U.S. National Arboretum and at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, camellias aren’t entirely out of reach for gardeners in Northeast Ohio. …

Plant in Spring

“The most popular of the cold-hardy species handily have ‘Winter’ in their names – upright vigorous shrubs such as ‘Winter’s Interlude,’ ‘Winter’s Fire,’ and ‘Winter’s Joy,’ all developed by Ackerman. While camellias are traditionally planted in the fall so that they can be well-established before facing the brutal heat of a Southern summer, Northern gardeners are advised to wait until spring.

Northern Exposure – Protected

…(Ackerman recommends a northern or northwestern exposure to protect it from the prevailing winds, as well as a windbreak in the form of evergreens, fencing or the house itself), camellias are not too picky as to accouterments.


They prefer full sun but accept light shade with grace. As long as a soil is well-draining, camellias should be equally at ease with clay or sandy soils, says Ruhren. Once established, a camellia can slowly stretch up to 12 feet tall and half again as broad, depending on the cultivar. Pests and diseases aren’t serious problems with these shrubs, as any instances of tea scale can be easily controlled with horticultural oil. …

Don’t Over Fertilize

“Camellias aren’t heavy feeders; in fact, they can become stressed and not bloom as prolifically if they are overfertilized….

“Of course, Northern gardeners will not see the January blossoms that we do here in Georgia, but your camellias should have color in October and early November, when very little else is blooming, and again in late March and April, sometimes even before the early daffodils and tulips.

Cold-hardy camellias

Look for:

• Any of the Dr. William Ackerman introductions in his extensive ‘Winter’ series, which are probably the most common cold-hardy, fall-blooming species on the market. ‘Winter’s Joy’ is a rich blue-pink. ‘Winter’s Peony’ offers semi-double blossoms of hot pink. ‘Winter’s Cupid’ offers single blossoms of icy white.

• Camellias that have roots from Korea, including Camellia japonica ‘Korean Snow’ and ‘Korean Fire.’

• The ‘April’ series developed by Dr. Clifford Park, including ‘April Blush,’ a soft pale pink; and ‘April Rose,’ a deep shade of rose-red.

• Introductions from Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, including ‘Longwood Valentine’ and ‘Longwood Centennial.’


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