Camellia's in CT

gagnon98(SoCT z6)September 3, 2009

I was wondering if there were any Forum members who have had success growing camellias in Connecticut? I am in Southern CT, Zone 6, but am 13 miles north (inland) of the Long Island Sound. This past winter I recorded -2F as our lowest low. Prior winters made it down to +5F - +10F. I do understand there have been new camellias instroduced (I think I read Ackerman). I read the message post from SW Michigan and Toronto but was hoping to get info from a CT grower. I have areas that provide mostly sunny, part sun and shady areas under towering oaks.

Thanks for any information you can provide.


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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

I am growing some here in RI. I'm in zone 6b (although the Arbor Day Foundation map and the proposed "new" USDA map put me at zone 7 borderline).
Rock hardy fall blooming is C. "Snow Flurry". It survived the horrible 2003-2004 winter with no problems whatsoever. Mine is about 3 feet high and 5 feet wide. It has hundreds of white flowers in October through December (if it stays mild).
I also have C. "April Remembered" which made it through that same winter but barely. It has since grown back from the thickest wood near the bottom, and now is about 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide. It has survived all the winters since then perfectly. It had about 8 flowers this spring. And April Kiss made it through last winter perfectly. I have two of those and each one had two flowers. These are young plants and were only about 2 feet high when they bloomed, but now they are about 3 feet and starting to branch.

There are lots of other kinds you should try. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 3:05PM
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I am certainly not a CT grower, but much of the research on cold hardy camellias is taking place down here in the southern state of North Carolina, believe it or not. One of the leading breeders is here in Chapel Hill, Camellia Forest Nursery. Give them a call and if you are lucky you will get David or one of his parents. Between the three of them, you have some of the best knowledge of cold tolerance in camellias here in the states. The 'April' series (Bill mentioned two in his post) were selected here. They ship, so you can place an order while you learn!


    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 2:55PM
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Ive seen camellias thrive on long island (some over 50 years old). I live in a zone 7 and my camellias do very well too. These camellias arent cold hardy cultivators, and I think a cold hardy cultivator should do well in your area, but try looking for fall blooming camellias because spring blooming camellias may have damaged flowers in a zone 6.

good luck

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 5:05PM
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We are in Connecticut near the shore. The USDA just moved us from zone 6a to 7a. We have a dozen camellias ranging in hardiness from zone 6a to 7a. We only ever lost an April Tryst by transplanting late in the season. Some are in the sun; so we wrap in burlap to protect from the winter sun. Winter morning sun is the big enemy warming the leaves while the ground is frozen. Wilt-Pruf helps, too.
But all survive and all have bloomed at least once except April Blush. The less hardy ones like Winter Fire and Spring Promise I have had to move to the northern exposure and they have bloomed better. We just put April Blush there to join them. Other hardier ones like Survivor, Winter Snowman, and April Remembered do fine in the sun this far north with the winter burlap. Best condition is a northern exposure with a wind barrier, even better with a northern pitch to a slope. Water needs to move down hill away from them, too.
The best hardy camellias can be ordered from Camellia Forest. Also I recommend Dr. Ackerman�s book, Beyond the Camellia Belt. Much of it is technical about hybridization. But there are plenty of results showing the variety of plants that have been bred. Survivor is Cam Forest�s toughest camellia. Cam Forest also sells Dr. Ackerman�s toughest, Ashton Supreme.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 10:07PM
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I am just learning how to grow Camellias in CT--we are in Zone 6A, with temperatures typically going down to -6 or so.

I recently realized that we are far enough North that there is a zone on the North side of the house that gets full sun in the Summer and no full sun in the Winter--which is likely to be ideal for growing Camellias in our climate. Next year I may add another plant or two next to April Rose, which really likes the spot like that. It also gets a lot of reflected light from the white aluminum siding.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 7:29PM
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This is an interesting discussion, I'm glad someone brought it back up. I'm in 6A in SE Michigan.

A few years back, I tried about 6 of the hardiest from Camellia Forest, mostly the fall-blooming Ackerman hyrids, and also 'April Remembered'. I planted them in spring, they grew well and looked great going into winter. I covered with rose cones and mulched around the bases in late November, uncovered in mid-March, at which time they look pristine, just like the day I covered them. However, they all subsequently browned and died over the next roughly 4 weeks. Completely dead, not just killed back to the trunks. I found that disappointing.

I just ordered two of the fall-blooming ones from C.F. -- 'Survivor' and 'Autumn Spirit'. This time, I am planting them in my brick and Lexan greenhouse. I don't heat it, but I am going to put a string of holiday lights inside the cone when I cover them in the late fall.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 8:50AM
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These are the plants I got from Camellia Forest. It's such a nice nursery, they were so carefully packaged so they couldn't move in the box. The third plant is a Winter Jasmine.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 9:32PM
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We moved all our camellias to sloping ground right next to the house to help with the drainage issue, after going to Maryland and seeing how they are grown at the National Aboretum. Drainage can be a real problem in the early Spring while the ground is still frozen.

Here is a link that might be useful: Camellias on sloping ground

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 11:13AM
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The Arboretum's collection is an impressive one.

I have "planted mine up" meaning a few inches above ground level and they seem to like that.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 3:41PM
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I have been growing camellias in Groton for about 25 years. I have several dozen varieties, including the fall flowering Camellia vernalis "Mieko Tanaka" which is currently blooming; I took this photo three days ago.
I am about a mile from LI Sound. Winter kill on plants hardy in zone 7 has not been an issue; I simply don't get flowers that year. A number of my plants are close to 10 feet tall at this point. I think my oldest plant is Camellia japonica "Blood of China" which is hardy to zone 7a and has never failed to produce flowers heavily each spring.
My plants have been quite tolerant of open sun and heavy shade. This year they were blooming around April 20th, many weeks before the arrival of azaleas and other rhododendrons. I don't know how many New Year's Days I have celebrated with flowers in bloom in my backyard.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 11:28AM
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After seeing my plants, my neighbor went to the local nursery to inquire about buying some camellias. He was told that they won't grow here in CT.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 2:12PM
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Wjervis, what are the two camellias in that picture? They are huge! I'm up in mid-fairfield county, and am interested in planting several camellias as well. Not many around here.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 5:39PM
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The dark red one is Blood of China. I can't remember what the other one is; I bought it decades ago from Roslyn Nursery in Long Island which went out of business. Blood of China has huge flowers. Try and for some varieties that are hardy here. I grow many that are Zone 7 or Zone 7a. They are really easy to grow.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 8:45PM
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Anyone would care to share some camellia seeds?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 5:09PM
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