Camellia April Kiss
Camellia japonica 'April Kiss'
Camellia April Kiss
Camellia April Kiss (Camellia japonica) is a very popular evergreen shrub with small-medium formal double flowers in early spring. Compact with a moderate growth rate. Great as a patio plant, screen or in a mixed border
Camellia April Kiss produces a nearly continuous display of Rose Pink, perfectly formed, formal Camellia flowers over an extended period from early to late season in our gardens. A long time favorite with an upright to rounded habit. The contrasting, dark green foliage creates the perfect foil for the rose pink flowers.
Camellia japonica and most of its cultivars are considered to be winter hardy to USDA Zones 6-9. Even where winter hardy, unusually cold temperatures in winter (below 10 degrees F), particularly when occurring as a sudden temperature change, can damage or sometimes kill these plants.
Where winter hardy, Camellia April Kiss should be grown in moist, acidic (5.5 to 6.5 pH), loose, organically rich, well-drained soils in part shade. Consistent and even moisture is important. Avoid wet soils. Plants require protection from direct afternoon sun and wind. Best location may be sun-dappled part shade. Best with a root mulch. Near the northern parts of their growing range, plants should be sited in sheltered and protected microclimates such as near the south side of a home or building. Burlap wraps are sometimes helpful. Plants generally dislike changes in temperature, irregular watering or being moved. Even a change in humidity can cause plants to drop buds. Fertilize monthly in spring and summer. If desired, remove all but one bud from each cluster to increase the size of the flower. Prune immediately after flowering.
Does Not Ship To: AK, CA, HI, or PR
History and introduction of Camellias
Today there are recognized over 200 different species of Camellia – all native to the Orient. The Camellia is known in Japan as Tsubaki. For many centuries, before the westernization of Japan, the native tsubaki or “tree with shining leaves” held a special place in Japanese thought. It was a belief of the Shinto religion that the gods in spirit form made the flowers of the tsubaki their home when on an earthly visit. Plantings of the tsubaki were an essential feature of temple gardens, graveyards, and other areas associated with the religious life of the community. Today, many old varieties of camellia may be found in the old temple compounds of Japan. Camellias are not as popular as cut flowers in Japan because they are associated with “beheading”. The camellia blossom often falls off the plant in its entirety, symbolic of a man’s head being cut off.
The total number of named camellia varieties is believed to be as high as 20,000, although this figure is constantly increasing. The International Camellia Society published the International Camellia Register, an accumulation of over thirty years of research. This multi- volume book contains all but the latest camellia varieties from all countries of the world.
The most popular camellia throughout the world is often not even recognized as a member of this family. This plant is Camellia sinensis, better known as the tea plant. The word tea comes from the Chinese Amoy dialect for the word t’e. Tea is better known in China and Japan as ch’a from the Cantonese dialect. Tea first became popular in China during the reign of the Emperor Nung around 1700 B.C. During the period of trade, the East India Company brought tea from China to Europe where it became very popular. It may have first arrived in London in 1650, where it was known as Tay or Tee.
Tea quickly became a part of life and was known as “the cup that cheers but does not inebriate”. After tea became so universally popular, the government decided to place a tax on it which led to the Boston Tea Party and later to the American Revolution. So you might say that a camellia was the origin of the Revolution which created the United States as a separate country from Great Britain.
It is generally agreed that the Camellia japonica arrived in London aboard a boat of the East India Company. Tea was brought to Europe aboard boats of the East India Company from China. Officials tried to bring tea plants to England for propagation, but either by mistake or on purpose, plants of Camellia japonica were sent by the Chinese instead. The first japonica was growing in England some time before 1739 in the greenhouse of Lord Petre. Since that time, this has become the most popular of the ornamental camellias, with thousands of varieties having been named.
The Camellia was named by Linnaeus in honor of a Jesuit priest serving in the Philippines – Joseph Kamel. He probably never saw any plants, but this is not really known. Of the approximately 200 species of camellia known today, only a few are grown in the United States for their ornamental value.