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Japanese camellia

The plant is native to South Korea and Japan (Honshu, Kyushu, Ryukyu Islands and Shikoku), where it grows in the humid forests between the 300 and the 1.100 m of altitude. 

It is a shrub or a much ramified tree with vertical standing, tall up to 10 m, even if, usually, it keeps much lower ; the branches are greyish, those of the current year are purple brown with alternate leaves on a short petiole (0,5-1 cm). 

The Camellia japonica is in absolute the most cultivated between the ornamental camellias and thanks to the crossings and hybridizations, but also to the facility with which happen bud mutations in this plant (spontaneous mutations at the level of the bud generating a branch with flowers of different colours and/or shape), have been selected hosts of varieties.

It is believed that there are around 2.000 of them with endless nuances going from the white to the pink, the red, as well as speckled and spotted, and different shapes: at single flower, semi-double, double, at peony, anemone or rose flower. The flowers stand out from its intense and glossy green, intrinsically of great ornamental value.

It loves cool and humid climates and is quite resistant to the low temperatures, down to about -10° C and even less in some varieties, but the flowers get damages when the temperature drops under the 0° C.

It prefers fertile soils, loose, rich of organic substance, well drained, sub-acid or neutral (pH 5-7) and kept humid; the best location is under light shade and at the shelter from the wind.

For keeping the soil humid and protecting the roots from excessive heat, it is useful to place a mulching at the base of the plant.

The fertilizations, moderate, are to be done at the vegetative awakening, utilizing possibly organic, or with slow cession, manures, and specific for the acidophils.

It well adapts to the cultivation in pot utilizing soils for acidophils with addition, by around the 25%, of siliceous sand or agriperlite in order to improve the drainage, keeping in mind that, especially in summer, a constant humidity must be guaranteed.

If for the watering calcareous water is utilized, a yellowing (ferric chloroses) may happen, in this case it is to be treated with ferrous chelates.

If any pruning is necessary, this is to be done by the end of the blooming.

  • Category Flowering shrubs
  • Genus Camelia
  • Species japonica
  • Families Theaceae
  • Habit Shrub
  • Climatic Zones Sub-tropical, USDA 10 b (Southern Italy and islands)
  • Leaves Semi-evergreen
  • Flower Double flower
  • Geographical Area of Origin Eastern Asia / Far East / Asia, Indian subcontinent
  • Flowering and Fruiting Period December / November / March / February / January
  • Form Touffe / Grown as shrub / bush
  • Colore Fiori Rosso   Bianco   Rosa   Viola
  • Colore Foglie Verde
  • Colore Frutti Marrone
  • Favorite soil Sub-acid / medium acid / Light sandy / Middle-Dough / Medium soil
  • Water needs Medium
  • Light Exposure Full light / Full sun / Medium shade / Half shade
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