Just recently, I saw on a garden site where someone was having trouble with their Camellias. They were baffled that they plants were doing so poorly since the supplier who sold the plants indicated that they could grow in zone 7. They also stated that they had just had some pretty cool temperatures - 15°F and were expecting a low of 8°F that night. They had mulched their plants, but that's all the protection they received. From the photos, I could tell that the plants were badly damaged by cold weather.
That started my thinking about Climate zones and how that should not really be a basis for planting Camellias because within climate zones, temperatures can vary greatly. Taking our own nurseries for example. Both my production nursery and my retail nursery are in climate zone 8. But we're about 35 miles apart. At the production nursery we are usually 5-6 degrees warmer in the summer and 6-8 degrees colder in the winter. The winter of 2018 we had snow, and the low at the retail nursery was 18°F - at our production nursery we had a low of 10°F.
That is quite a big difference in temperatures within one zone. While camellias might tolerate 18°F with a little burning, 10°F can kill the plants. When you throw in the fact that they may be newly planted, and they are not covered or protected, it's a recipe for disaster. While 10°F is way below what is normal for our area, it did occur and it did damage to the plants.
If you have a climate that is normally good for growing Camellias, you have to expect the unexpected and take precautions to protect your plant from cold damage if it arises.
So if you are planning on planting Camellias, it's a good idea to follow the guidelines that we have in our article Camelllias In Cold Climates, If you have any questions or concerns about planting in your area, please drop us a line!