Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

Growing Camellias in Full Sun

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Camellia bush growing in full sun.

Camellias can struggle when grown in too much direct sunlight.

Are there any camellia varieties that can tolerate full sun? -Betty

By nature, camellias are woodland shrubs that thrive in spots with dappled sun and shade that provide protection from harsh winds. In home gardens, it’s recommended to plant camellias in locations with partial sunlight or up to half a day of sun.

Too much sun exposure on camellias can cause yellowed, scorched leaves and overall poor health. During the winter, too much sun can cause the plants to warm up too quickly and be damaged by late cold snaps.

However, depending on your yard’s microclimate and the variety you choose, you may have some luck growing camellias in full sun. I’ve seen camellias thriving both in wooded backyards and in sunny front borders.

If you want to try growing camellias in a sunny yard, here are a few recommendations to help you get started:

  • Grow Sasanquas: Fall blooming Camellia sasanquas are more sun tolerant than larger leaved, spring blooming Camellia japonicas.
  • Think Red: Camellias with red blooms tend to tolerate sun better than white or pink varieties.
  • Camellia Sasanqua, 'Winter's Fancy'

    Camellia Sasanqua, 'Winter's Fancy'

  • Check Local Success: The best way to find out which varieties of plants will grow where you live is to find neighbors who are growing them. The American Camellia Society website has contact information for local camellia clubs. Contact the society closest to you and find out what’s growing and how they’re making it work, as it really can vary from city to city.
  • Provide Some Shelter: If possible, locate your camellia where it can be a little bit sheltered by your house or nearby trees as the sun moves across the sky – ideally about half the day, but whatever you can manage.
  • Avoid Southern Exposures: To prevent sunscald and winter damage, avoid southern exposures. And while eastern exposures are generally pretty good for camellias, if you have really cold winters you should also protect them from early morning sun, which can cause fragile flower buds to thaw out too quickly.
  • Increase Water and Mulch: The more sun your camellias receive, the more water and mulch they will need to keep the roots cool and moist.

Julie

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  1. Peggy Allard Says:
    January 9th, 2014 at 10:50 am

    My home faces the west and I was thinking about planting a camellia bush on both sides of the garage. Is there any that would qualify for more sun than shade?
    I live in Calif., zip 90740

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