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Dark Red Camellias Ride the Storm

This article was first published on 08 Aug 2014.

Rely on Red Camellias

Rely on Red Camellias

The Weather

Over winter and spring, Dunedin weather is often unpredictable. Warm, sunny days are followed by snow flurries and cold southerlies. Fate will dictate if a southerly blast strips the blossom off the early street ornamental cherry trees just when the avenues are perfect. Or if we are frost free (fingers crossed), the wind might do its worst while the beautiful Magnolia campbellii in the Botanic Garden camellia borders, is covered in the purest white flowers.

Strong, Beautiful, Red Flowers

One group of resistant plants is offered by the red flowering camellias. All the red camellias flower well but the darker red flowers are much more resilient to a little rough weather or sun scorch, compared to the paler pinks or whites. Any damage or potential aging from weathering is much less noticeable. The end result is flowers which look perfect and last longer.

All Features Visible When Flowering

The best time to select and buy camellias is during the flowering season. Consider the foliage and habit as well as the flower, so that the plant has all the attributes you want. Because there are thousands of camellia cultivars, changing fashions, and a limited selection of popular cultivars available today it is best to make a choice from camellias which are on offer locally. Deciding on a plant from a book or garden and then searching for it can sometimes be a long and difficult process.

A large selection of red, pink and white camellias is growing together in the Dunedin Botanic Garden camellia collection.

Marianne Groothuis is curator of the camellia collection at Dunedin Botanic Garden