Growing Camellia sinensis in colder climates - Zones 7 and 6
Traditionally the camellia belt is known as zones 8 and 9. In the past, zones north of this area such as 7, 6 and 5, have not been very habitable for growing camellias outdoors—but in some areas that are warmer, some camellias are grown outdoors with not much trouble. It all depends on your individual climate and the variety of camellia you choose.
Research has shown that there are some camellias that have proven to grow outdoors and handle cold much better than others. With the development of Cold hardy Hybrids, the choices are much better than 20 years ago. First you should know what to expect from your camellia and then be prepared to offer it the best chance to grow.
Tips for growing camellias in colder climates from Dr. William Ackerman, expert nurseryman and developer of many of our cold hardy camellias:
Spring planting is recommended rather than fall planting, unless the plants are protected the first winter or two. Water well all season especially if the weather is dry.
Avoid full sun especially early morning sun during freezing winter weather. A canopy of evergreen shade trees will provide shade all winter and is ideal.
Planting near a wall or other structure can help block harsh winter winds.
Do not fertilize after June in colder climates of zone 5, 6 and 7. Spring applications of Hollytone or other applications is sufficient.
Protect newly planted camellias during their first winter or two. Micro foam or frost blankets usually work well for this type of protection as does extra mulch.
Soil amendments may be well rotted compost or pine bark. Use peat moss sparingly as it becomes too dense with time.
Camellia sinensis can be successfully grown in containers as long as you remember some very important tips!
The most important thing to remember about Camellia sinensis is that it will absolutely not tolerate wet soils or soils that do not drain properly. Make sure you pay close attention to the recommendations we have for potting soils.