Camellia Spring Promise

rockman50(6b SEMASS)April 25, 2013

I just purchased Spring Promise (3 gallon container) and will be planting in the ground in a few days. I have two questions:

1) Is this a fall or spring bloomer. The Camellia Forest website says this:

"The rose-red, medium sized, single flowers are produced in late fall, during warm periods in the middle of winter and into the early spring; thus the promise of spring".

I don't know what this means for my zone 6b location. Obviously it won't happen in mid-winter here, so I assume spring???

2) I am in zone 6b (solid), and many winters are zone 7a with lowest temp recorded just above zero. I will be planting this in a warm microclimate location that It is completely protected from cold north winds and will not receive morning sun. It will get afternoon sun however, at all times of year. But my location is on the coast and is not blazing hot all summer. So, the question is do I need extra protection for this plant in winter (like wrapping) or could I just let it "all hang out" so to speak, other than an application wilt-pruf.

Thanks for the help.

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Hello rockman50.

1) It would be very strange for a mail order company to state a camelliaâÂÂs blooming time for a particular zone so what Camforest said is their attempt to cover every possible location and USDA Zone.

I would interpret their comment as a way of saying that it may bloom sometime from late November thru March, depending on the local weather. Cold temps make camellias go into a slumber from which they awaken several weeks to a month later... or more.

Examples of what "slumber" that does... (a) this year all my camellias that normally have bloomed in late November thru January, skipped blooming until March. The cause was a mild winter that included -apparently well timed- temperature dips that forced the shrubs back to sleep. (b) In other years, I have also had plants start blooming at "their regular time", stop because of cold temps and then resume weeks later. If the ups and downs get too extreme, there may be unopened flower bud drop problems.

If you want, call Camforest and ask them for a guesstimate of when they expect the plant to bloom in your zone. They are in Zone 7 so they may have good estimates if your winters are similar to the ones in 7a. Keep in mind that, what they stated, suggests that temperature rises on/after late November may trigger blooming.

2) There was one time that I considered wrapping my camellias and it was due to late freezes when one of the plants still had unopened flower buds. I never wrapped it as the bad weather forecast was cancelled. Of course, if the shrubs get large, this is not practical.

If the plant has already bloomed by the time the cold weather arrives, I would not protect it.... unless it is a really bad and drastic temp change. The things you would want to protect are the flower buds; the leaves, branches and roots will usually survive if you water them the night before and maintain 3-4" of mulch thru the drip line.

I do not use wilt-pruf so I cannot comment on that one

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 6:06AM
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I think itâÂÂs worthwhile to stake them for at least a few years. I planted some (CF 3 gallon size, but not Spring Promise) the year before the snowmageddon blizzard in the DC area and most of them were flattened. They all are coming back, but the main trunks were broken. There are some tall camellias in the area, so I know the larger ones can handle the weight of heavy snow.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 12:24PM
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stuckinthedirt(6b VA (Shenandoah Valley))


I have had Spring's Promise in the ground for about 4 years; got it from Camellia Forest; and their description is spot on. I live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, probably a bit warmer than you up in Mass. But if I get warm-ish weather anywhere from Thanksgiving on, this thing will try to bloom. If it is going to be warm for a few days, that is great, but there is also the risk that a bud will get partly opened and then get zapped by a cold snap. I like to let it bloom, and then cut and bring inside. It is great fun to have a fresh flower from my garden in the winter! On the other hand, I have found that if I cover the plant in the winter, it is less likely to bloom. Then when I uncover in the spring, most of the buds are still there. Experiment, and see what works for you.

As for winter protection, do you have other camellias, or is this your first? It is generally a good idea to wrap it in the winter the first several years, to allow it to get established. As it gets older, it can generally withstand colder temps. However, even if I leave them uncovered, I put stakes in the ground around them, and then if a really cold snap comes, I can throw a blanket over them to protect them.

Hope they work for you.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 12:16AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Springs Promise = great choice!

It's one of my favorite camellias. Mine started blooming in early December and just finished up its last blooms this month (May!). It bloomed off-and-on most of the winter here in zone 7a. I do not know how it performs in 6b, but it is pretty hardy here.

Of course cold temps into the mid-20s will brown out any opened blooms. But the buds are quite hardy and it will try to bloom again during every warm spell.

I would classify it as a winter bloomer, although the biggest bloom seems to be in very early spring.

In zone 6, I would wrap/protect plants for the first two years.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 2:43PM
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