Can any camellias stand full winter morning sun?

stevedowty(6B)April 6, 2011

I realize this question has probably come up before--even many times before--but it's hard to know which search terms to use for exactly my situation. So...

We have a sloping front yard that faces east, so the entire yard gets good, strong morning sun. In addition, it gets the full effect of either north wind or south (both of them typical of incoming weather systems in my area), so there's the additional hazard of wind chill and drying.

Given those conditions: are there any camellias that could stand being planted in this front yard? We have several, doing beautifully, on the shady north side, so I know the winter temperatures aren't too low; but some of them languished in the front before they were laboriously moved.

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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

I've seen a few camellias in open sun in yards around 7a and they do OK. Not sure what varieties they are though. And I'm not sure how they'd do in zone 6B. Make sure they're not against a warm wall AND getting morning sun. And be ready for bronzed and scorched leaves and flowers as well as some die-back. As to varieties, look up Camellia Forest Nursery under Cold-Hardy and look for the most hardy.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 7:13PM
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>Given those conditions: are there any camellias that could stand being planted in this front yard? We have several, doing beautifully, on the shady north side, so I know the winter temperatures aren't too low; but some of them languished in the front before they were laboriously moved.

Hi Steve,

It's probably more a matter of drying winds than of the morning sun. Our camellias are mostly in the sun all morning, mid-day, and afternoon all day long throughout the winter (because the many deciduous trees have lost their leaves then) and they do fine. However, they tend to have more of a windbreak than most yards would have; besides having some tree trunks as partial windbreaks they're in with lots of other plants too--rhododendrons and azaleas--many of which are plenty large enough to reduce the problems from wind. And there is some wind protection from a berm too.

If you go ahead with the idea on putting back camellias where you've had some not too happy camellias previously, then consider adding some ways to slow down the wind during the worst of winter's winds. And make sure that you don't forget to water during the winter. One other thing that you might try would be spraying with Wilt-Pruf in the late fall. I've never actually done that with a camellia so I don't know whether it's a good idea or not; it's just something I'd probably try if I were nervous about a plant's winter hardiness.

I've seen sections of woven wooden fencing added to a yard to provide an attractive backdrop for a group planting. Something like that might help and make a nice highlighting for the camellias in your front yard too and featuring them in groups together with other evergreens would help with the wind problem too. You wouldn't have to fence the entire yard to be able to have some impact on winter's winds.

The hiemalis camellia shishigashira would be one of the camellias that might do just fine in your front yard; it is reputed to do well in everything from full sun to full shade. Best of luck with whatever you end up doing.

Best wishes,

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 12:06AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

I have "April Blush" and "April Dawn", two of each. One of the Blush is in mostly shade, but the other one gets morning sun all year. Both of the Dawn get afternoon sun. They are near a south-facing wall and fence but there is a lot of wind here. They are all fine, but the Blush that is in the shade does better than the Blush that gets sun, although both are fine and bloom.

I can highly recommend a fall blooming "Snow Flurry", which gets a lot of morning to midday sun, and it is rock hardy here in Zone 6B. It has hundreds of white flowers, usually from October into December. I've had it for over 10 years and no problems at all. I have to cut it back to keep it from overtaking the area!

I agree with the above post about grouping with some other evergreens, for backdrop effect as well as wind protection.

Best of luck with yours.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 10:51AM
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I have a Winter Joy planted in a spot that gets full sun. I only planted it last November, so the jury is still out. But the leaves are more a light green than dark green. I am hoping it adjusts. If not, I may move it.

I would not ordinarilly put one there, but that is where the Japanse garden is and it needed a Camellia.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 10:00AM
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Dr. Ackerman says, no. He recommends pine trees to protect the camellias. I have an old large hickory tree, not much shade; so I wrap the camellias in burlap to shade from the winter sun. And I have a north facing slope that Dr, Ackerman recommends. Zone 6A camellias do well. I'd select from what Camellia Forest carries. I had to move the Zone 6B camellias further down the slope and further out of the sun. Of them only Nuncio's Pearl blooms well.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 10:18PM
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