Christmas Camellia: Prominent Red Flowers In Full Bloom During Christmas

Christmas Camellia: Prominent Red Flowers In Full Bloom During Christmas

Christmas camelliaCamellia X vernalis ‘Yuletide’ or Christmas camellia is a spectacular landscape camellia with a long blooming season that is highlighted by gorgeous single red flowers with prominent yellow stamens; it is often in full bloom during the Christmas Season, where it gets its name.

Christmas camellia has become one of the most commercially successful camellias of all time because it demonstrates all the components of what gardeners look for with an ornamental plant. Christmas camellia or ‘Yuletide’ has beautiful dark green foliage all year on a relatively dense plant. It has a long blooming season with masses of constant color. Its success is not measured by the perfection of any individual flower, but rather by the unison display of all the flowers. Their collective effect from a distance is what attracts and captivates us as gardeners.

How To Make Your Christmas Camellia Thrive

Christmas camellia thrives in light to open shade. If planted in too much shade, flowering is greatly reduced. Christmas camellia can be damaged by hot, reflected heat. The preference is a rich well-drained soil with regular watering during dry weather, especially in late summer to ensure a strong flower bud set for the winter bloom. A sheltered location near the house will help protect open flowers from hard frosts. Flowering begins in mid-November and continues until the end of December. The flowers are bright red with a slight hint of pink; flowers are single blooms. The lightly scented blooms are borne either solitary or in clusters in the leaf axils, and are located near the ends of the branches. The 6 to 8 petalled flowers fall apart as they fade. The 20 or more, free, bright yellow stamens glow against the reddish backdrop of the petals; a 3 lobed stigma protrudes in the center. The leaves of Christmas camellia make this shrub an attractive plant at any time of year. The 2-inch, toothed, alternate, dark green glossy leaves help highlight the vibrant color of the flowers when in bloom.

General Christmas Camellia Information

Pests And Diseases

The three most serious camellia diseases are camellia dieback and canker, flower blight, and root rot. The most important insect pest to watch for is tea scale.

Garden Uses

This is an excellent choice to provide definition for both garden and landscape, or it can be a workhouse as either a formal or informal hedge.  It can easily be trained into an espalier. It is an excellent backdrop in a flowerbed. It makes a lush screen for the back of the border, or it can be used as an accent in your garden. This plant can be pruned into a lollipop-shaped topiary. Christmas camellia will live happily on your patio for years in a container.  Christmas camellia makes a wonderful foundation planting; this beauty’s smaller leaves help it to both blend and contrast with other plants.

Quick Facts

  • Family: Theaceae
  • Common Name: Christmas camellia
  • Plant Type: Upright shrub
  • Foliage Type: Evergreen
  • Plant Height: 7 feet
  • Plant Width: 5 feet
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 7 to 9
  • Bloom Period: October to December
  • Flower Color: Red
  • Light Exposure: Light to open shade or full sun, avoid hot, reflected heat
  • Water Requirements: Well drained soil that should not dry out, regular watering
  • Growth Rate: Slow to moderate
  • Seasonal Interest: Winter flowers, year-round shiny foliage

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