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Tea Flowers are Blooming Now!

from the Logee's growers

Tea Flowers are Blooming Now!

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin



 
 Tea Flowers


Tea flowers, also known as camellias, give a prolific floral display in the winter and bloom strong into the spring. Joy Logee Martin, second generation owner, used to give away camellia flowers every January to a local restaurateur, who then used these near perfect flowers at every place setting for their New Year’s Day meals. Of course, in exchange, Joy would bring guests and get a special all-inclusive meal.


With hundreds of different species boasting different shapes and forms, camellias have been well-loved since they came upon the horticultural scene in the late 1700’s in England. Originally from Asia, dating back to the Ming Dynasty, they were known as the most beautiful flower and therefore were depicted in art and porcelain. These acid-loving plants are ideal for landscapes in zones 7-9 (some new varieties are hardy to zone 6). They also make perfect potted plants to brighten the dark winter days.

Here are Some of our Favorite Varieties of Tea Flowers

For Flower Perfection:

With a pink shell and formal double flowers reaching 3” across, these are some of the most perfect blooms:


Camellia ‘Pink Perfection’ (Camellia japonica hybrid)
Camellia ‘Pink Perfection


For Color Combination:

This heirloom variety has white, formal double flowers with pleasing red striping on the petals:


Camellia ‘Peppermint
Camellia ‘Peppermint


For Fragrance:

Developed in New Zealand, the large, light pink, semi-double, 4” blooms emit an alluring fragrance:


Camellia ‘High Fragrance
Camellia ‘High Fragrance


For Size:

‘Kramer’s Supreme’ has a slight fragrance but is grown for its majestic deep red, full, peony-shaped blooms that reach 5” across:


Camellia ‘Kramer’s Supreme
Camellia ‘Kramer’s Supreme


For Tea:

  • • Tea (Camellia sinensis)

We would be remiss if we didn’t include Tea (Camellia sinensis). Although the flowers are not dramatic, the leaves provide us with black, green or white tea to make a delicious beverage. Simply harvest the young shoots and dry the leaves for your afternoon cup of tea:


Tea (Camellia sinensis)
Tea (Camellia sinensis)


Tips for Growing and Caring for Camellias

At Logee’s, we love plants that grow well in containers and camellias are no exception. In the video below, Byron Martin, Logee’s owner, discusses the proper care of camellias including light requirements, watering, fertilizing and how to prune. Watch this video to learn how you can avoid “bud blast,” and discover other tricks for getting these spectacular winter and spring bloomers to flower:


SUMMARY: Growing Camellias

Flowering Camellias: To flower camellias in containers, the most important aspect is to give them cool nighttime temperatures. At Logee’s, we grow them in a greenhouse that is kept between 35° to 55°F at night and reaches daytime temperatures between 60-70°F. This can be accomplished in a home by placing your plant in a cooler room on a windowsill and keep it as close to the glass as you can.


Soil: Make sure the potting mix is acidic, preferably without lime.


Light Level: Camellias naturally grow in open forests and get dappled sun light. Partial sun exposure, like that in an east or west window is recommended to ensure dark green leaves. Some varieties can be grown in full sun but they will need more fertilizer or else their leaves will lighten.


Fertilizer: Container grown camellias are slow growers and don’t need as much fertilizer since they are considered light feeders. Also, they only put on one growth per year and fertilization should be given as they start to grow in the early spring.


Shaping a Camellia in a Container: Camellias often have an upright form and when they are young they can be pinched and pruned to thicken the main branches. Regular pruning can be done after flowering and before the new growth. As plants grow and mature make sure to prune selective branches that might be reaching out more than they should.


Watering: When watering, make sure that the soil is brought to dryness in between waterings. This will help develop a healthy root system.


Insects and Disease: Mostly, camellias are insect free but root disease can set in if they are fertilized too heavily or grown too wet.

 

You can learn more about the above tea flower plants and check availability by clicking below: