Summers in the south can be brutal on people, plants and pets.  We struggle all summer long just to get through the hot, sultry days of summer and eagerly look forward to the fall when we have that first nippy morning, the excitement of a football game, and sitting around the fire on a starry night with friends.  But there are some of us that look forward to the fall because we know that it’s the start of Camellia season!

The first camellias of the season is almost a right of passage.  When I see the first glimpse of the simple sasanqua camellias, I know that soon my ground will be covered with carpets of red, white and pink and that for the next 8 months or so, it’s “game on” with many beautiful camellias to follow.

Camellia sasanqua and similiar species like Camellia vernalis and Camellia hiemalis are the most common of the fall flowering Camellias.  They all tend to flower anywhere from September – December in moderate climates.  Camellia sasanqua is a simple flower, but the display is one to behold.

There are many other species that have varieties that have fall blooming characteristics.  Camellia japonica boasts some fine starting lineups such as Frankie Winn, Lindsey, Arajishi, Marie Bracey, and Early Autumn.

There are camellia hybrids with Sasanqua parentage that bloom early – Winter’s Star, Winter’s Interlude, Snow Flurry, and Autumn Spirit are great plants that bloom like a sasanqua, but are more cold tolerant in areas where traditional camellias may not flourish.

Perhaps my favorite fall blooming Camellia is one that I use for Tea as well as for beauty in my garden.  Camellia sinensis, also know as the Tea Plant, is one of the first camellias to bloom in my garden in the fall.  You can have your tea and your flowers too!

Camellia sinensis
Camellia sinensis – The Tea Plant

I hope you enjoy the first flowers of autumn as much as I will!  See you in the garden!

Debbie Odom