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A group of superb, early flowering, medium to large, evergreen shrubs. One species, Camellia sinensis, although of little interest as a garden plant, is the commercial plant from which tea is produced.
Camellias need lime free soil (but they do not demand such a low pH as Rhododendrons and Azaleas) and shelter from early morning sun that may damage flowers after late frosts. Flower buds are induced by warm conditions in June and July. Camellias are excellent plants for growing in containers using ericaceous compost.
Grown in pots and kept in a greenhouse or conservatory in midsummer, it is also possible to encourage much more bud development and thus better flowering the following spring.