The handsome, dark green leaves of Camellias provide a great background for the lovely spring flowers as well as for other shade loving plants. Camellia sasanqua is generally shorter with smaller leaves and flowers. It blooms earlier, usually in winter, and many of the flowers have single petals. ‘Yuletide’ is a very eye-catching example with red single flower and golden stamens. As the name indicates, it is frequently in bloom around Christmas.
Camellia japonica has some single flowering varieties as well, but many are doubles in shades of white, pink, rose and red. Camellias prefer acid soil which is completely lacking in the north county, even under oaks and pines. Adding either peat moss or azalea-camellia planter mix to the soil when planting will improve conditions. Azaleas, gardenias and rhododendrons also prefer this type of soil. Any of these plants will do very well in containers filled with an acid soil mix. All need shade here, especially in the afternoon.