What a treat to find evergreen shrubs that flower during the dull days of winter. Queens of the winter flowers, Camellias are attractive evergreen shrubs that are highly prized for the beauty of their exquisite blooms, their splendid evergreen foliage and their compact shapely habit. Bursting into flower for weeks when the rest of the garden offers little, Camellias are ranked as one of the very best flowering shrubs.
- Following the fall-blooming camellia sasanquas, most of these winter bloomers are Japanese camellias (Camellia japonica). This pre-eminent species of the genus counts over 30 000 cultivars in a wide array of flower forms and colors. The blooms can reach 5 in. across (12 cm) and create a gorgeous floral display from late winter to spring. Slow grower, these broadleaved, evergreen shrubs enjoy a shapely habit and a handsome, glossy foliage.
- Generally blooming after the Japanese camellias, Camellia hybrids such as the Camellia x williamsii varieties include particularly attractive winter blooming cultivars. These hybrids result from the cross of Camellia japonica and Camellia saluenensis. Among the most cold-hardy camellias, most of them are extremely vigorous, free-blooming, with attractive, semi-glossy, leathery leaves. Graceful shrubs, they tolerate low light intensity and bloom over a long season, providing a spectacular show. They enjoy a wide range of habits, from dwarf to large and spreading.