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Camellia Japonica

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February 15, 2024

Today I am at the home of Mr. Jim Smelley enjoying his collection of over 500 varieties of camellias that he has been growing and propagating over 60 years. Event in his 90’s, Mr. Jim is able to show off his plants to some of the Pearl River County Master Gardeners during our video shoot. Camellias can be planted and enjoyed in landscapes all across Mississippi. Camellia japonica or Japanese camellia is best known for its large flowers, which can grow up to five inches across. There are several variations of flower forms and colors, which provides beautiful visual appeal in the winter landscape. With its bright pink petals and rose-like form, Cile Mitchell has a double to formal double flower. Lauren Tudor has a very large pink flower with red flecks on its petals and golden yellow anthers. One of my favorites, Burgundy Rose, has gorgeous burgundy red petals outlined with a touch of purple color. Camellias can also have variegated flowers. Developed in the 1960’s, Magic City has bright red, variegated flowers that are very attractive. As a general rule, camellias will have the best flowering when grown in at least partial shade. There are thousands of named camellia varieties, which means there are many for you to choose from to add to your landscape. I am Eddie Smith, and I will see you next time on Southern Gardening.

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