Written by Garden Manager Lisa Bartlett
Whenever someone wonders what there is to see at the garden in winter, I ALWAYS point them toward our Palladino Camellia Garden. Camellias are a wonderful wintertime treat, offering a variety of bloom colors and types that bring life to the bleakness of winter.
Here are some fun facts:
- Camellias are native to Eastern and Southern Asia, most notably China, Japan, Korea, India and Indonesia.
- Camellias are flowering small trees or shrubs that are evergreen and are from the family Theaceae, the tea family. That’s right your iced tea comes from the Camellia plant.
- Camellia sinensis is usually called ‘tea plant’, as it is the most common plant in the world to be used to make tea, usually from young leaves that can be made into green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea and other types of tea. While not the showiest of the Camellias it is the most delicious.
- Depending on the species, camellias generally grow no more than 6 metres (20 feet) in height. Some species, especially sasanqua, can be grown as hedges, topiaries and espaliers.
- Camellia flowers can be white, cream, pink, red, purple, yellow or variegated, and come in a variety of forms like single, double, rose, peony and so on.
- The most popular type of camellias are sasanqua, japonica and reticulata, although there are approximately 300 species, as well as 3,000 cultivars and hybrids.
- Camellia flowers range in size from 1 – 13 cm (0.4 – 5 inches) and they bloom in autumn, winter and spring.
- Camellia bushes can live up to 100 to 200 years, although the oldest living camellia, planted in 1347, can be found in China’s Panlong Monastry.
- Camellias have dark shiny green leaves that stay evergreen, which makes it a perfect partner for Hydrangea that are nothing but brown sticks in the winter.
- Tea oil made from camellia seeds is a popular and essential cooking oil for millions of people, especially those that live in southern China
- Sacramento, California is nicknamed the Camellia City
- The Camellia is Alabama’s state flower
- Camellia represents adoration, devotion and loveliness