HTA plant of the month: Camellias for early colour

Few hardy shrubs signal the end of winter better than camellias, the Horticultural Trades Association?s (HTA) ?Plant of the Moment? for February, providing some welcome colour through late winter and into early spring.

Highly valued for their stunning floral displays and fresh, glossy, evergreen foliage and with dozens of varieties available, you?ll be spoilt for choice, so pick from camellias in shades of pink, red, white and cream.

Their ultimate size, habit and rate of growth vary immensely too, so consider how much space the camellia will need as it grows. Whether you?d like something that stays small and compact or will grow into a bold shrub or even a flowering hedge or screen, the choice is yours.

Like azaleas and rhododendrons, camellias are ericaceous plants, and this means they need to grow in an acid or lime-free soil to ensure they stay healthy. Alternatively, compact varieties of camellia grow well in large pots or half-barrels filled with ericaceous compost, available in garden centres.

Top four popular camellias for pots or borders are:

????????? ?Donation?? – Semi-double rose-pink flowers. Upright habit. Strong growing.

????????? ?Adolphe Audusson? – Bright red flowers. Strong growing.

????????? ?Debbie? – Peony-form pink flower. Upright. Strong growing.

????????? ?Lavinia Maggi? – Large double white flowers with pink stripes. Medium vigour.

Visit www.the-hta.org.uk/plantofthemoment for more information and to download the media pack which features: plant information for each month including top plants, tips and companion plant ideas, high and low resolution photos, plus Point-of-Sale samples from Floramedia and Hortipak.

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