By R. J. WILMOT
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE
BOARD OF CONTROL
J. THOS. GURNEY, Chairman, Orlando
J. HENSON MARKHAM, Jacksonville
THos. W. BRYANT, Lakeland
M. L. MERSHON, Miami
N. B. JORDAN, Quincy
J. T. DIAMOND, Secretary, Tallahassee
STAFF, AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE
JOHN J. TIGERT, M.A., LL.D., President of the University
H. HAROLD HUME, D.Sc., Provost for Agriculture
A. P. SPENCER, M.S., Director of Extension
MARSHALL 0. WATKINS, B.S.A., Assistant to the Director
Agricultural Demonstration Work, Gainesville
J. FRANCIS COOPER, M.S.A., Editor1
CLYDE BEALE, A.B.J., Associate Editor1
JEFFERSON THOMAS, Assistant Editor1
RUBY NEWHALL, Administrative Manager'
W. T. NETTLES, B.S., District Agent
J. LEE SMITH, District Agent and Agronomist
E. F. DEBUSK, B.S., State Supervisor, Emergency Farm Labor
H. S. MCLENDON, B.A., Asst. State Supervisor, Emergency Farm Labor
HANS O. ANDERSEN, B.S.A., Asst. State Supervisor, EFL
P. L. PEADEN, M.A., Asst. State Supervisor, EFL
H. G. CLAYTON, M.S.A., Director, P. & M. Admin.
R. S. DENNIS, B.S.A., Assistant Director, P. & M. Admin.
R. W. BLACKLOCK, A.B., Boys' Club Agent
W. W. BROWN, B.S.A., Assistant Boys' Club Agent
A. L. SHEALY, D.V.M., Animal Industrialist'
N. R. MEHRHOF, M.Agr., Poultry Husbandman'
FRANK S. PERRY, B.S.A., Asst. Poultry Husbandman
WALTER J. SHEELY, B.S., Animal Husbandman
A. W. O'STEEN, B.S.A., Supervisor, Egg-Laying Test
L. T. NIELAND, Farm Forester
C. V. NOBLE, Ph.D., Agricultural Economist1
CHARLES M. HAMPSON, M.S., Agricultural Economist, Farm Management
D. E. TIMMONS, M.S.A., Economist in Marketing2
K. S. MCMULLEN, B.S.A., District Agent
JOHN M. JOHNSON, B.S.A., Agricultural Engineer
Home Demonstration Work, Tallahassee
MARY E. KEOWN, M.S., State Agent
RUBY MCDAVID, District Agent
ETHYL HOLLOWAY, B.S., District Agent
MRS. EDITH Y. BARRUS, District Agent
ANNA MAE SIKES, M.S., Specialist in Nutrition
ISABELLE S. THURSBY, Specialist in Food Conservation
JOYCE BEVIS, M.A., Clothing Specialist
Negro Extension Work, Tallahassee
A. A. TURNER, Local District Agent
FLOY BRITT, B.S.H.E., Local District Agent
By R. J. WILMOT
Assistant Horticul!urist, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
The camellia is rapidly becoming more popular as a garden
shrub in the lower Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific coastal areas as its
value is learned by a widening circle of admirers. It can be used
for specimen plants, for massed effect, or for informal hedges or
borders. It furnishes cut flowers at a time when other flowers
are scarce and lends itself to a number of uses in artistic ar-
rangements. It is used extensively by florists for corsage work
and in bouquets. Having the scientific name Camellia japonica,
it is called camellia by some and japonica by others.
Belonging to the family Ternstroemaceae, the camellia has
a long and interesting history. The genus was named for a
Moravian Jesuit, George Joseph Kamel, who died in Manila in
1706. Camellia, from Kamel's Latinized name, Camellus, is
pronounced ca-mell-ia and not ca-mell-ya or ca-meel-ya. The
first plants on record, single and red, were grown in the green-
houses of Lord Petre in England in 1739 but soon perished
because they were thought to be tropical and were kept over-
In 1792 Capt. Connor of the East Indiaman Carnatic brought
the double white (Alba Plena) and double striped (Variegata)
to one of his patrons, John Slater, Esq., of London. Their
advent aroused a great deal of interest and by 1831, 26 varieties
growing in England were listed as having originated in China
and 14 varieties had been produced from seed (in England).
Thereafter the number of varieties increased rapidly both in
England and on the continent.
In 1797 or 1798 John Stevens of Hoboken, N. J., imported a
plant of single red, and in 1800 Michael Floy brought a specimen
of Alba Plena from England to add to his collection. Within
the next 3 decades camellias were to be found in practically
all greenhouse collections in Boston, New York, Philadelphia,
Baltimore and Washington. In 1821 William Prince, nursery-
man of Flushing, L. I., listed 21 varieties for sale. In the
meantime, Michael Floy had set himself up in the nursery and
florist business. He produced and named 42 seedlings during
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his lifetime. Practically every variety produced in Europe
found its way into American collections as soon as it was avail-
able to the trade.
The importation of camellias from the Orient stopped for a
time until about 1880 when a few began to be exported from
Japan to England, Europe and the United States' Pacific Coast.
They were given English names in England and European names
on the continent, while on the Pacific Coast they either retained
their Japanese names or were given local names. Thus a variety
often had a multiplicity of names.
In the meantime, their popularity as a greenhouse plant had
declined in the cities of the Northeastern states, where they
were practically abandoned. There are only a few plants dat-
ing back to those early days. In the South and on the Pacific
Coast, where they had been planted in the open, there were
many stately old plants whose names had long since been for-
gotten but whose value became more and more evident. Nursery-
Fig. 1.-The Alba Plena is a long-time favorite white variety. It has
YrVi I. m --S1
men started propagating from them, giving the varieties either
a local name or trying to establish their identity with the aid
of one of the old books. This resulted in a variety having dif-
ferent names in different parts of the country. As time has
gone on, more and more of these varieties have been identified
as old standard varieties.
There is such a multiplicity of forms and colors it is impossible
to say which variety is the most popular. The double white,
or Alba Plena, is still a great favorite and one of the best
whites known. It is used by florists for corsages and yet is
a good garden plant because it opens well under most weather
Camellia japonica flowers become progressively more com-
plicated as the stamens and other flower parts are transformed
into petals and the varieties will be discussed as they fall into
The first general group is known as Simple and is composed
of 1 or more rows of petals with a prominent cylinder of stamens
in the center. The cylinder of stamens may or may not be
broken into fascicles.
Single.-Those in the first sub-group are single and have a
corolla normally of 5 to 7 petals, occasionally 9. Varieties which
fall in this class include Kimberly, brilliant turkey red with a
broad brush of stamens with red filaments. Rising Sun is very
similar but flowers at a different time and is low growing, while
Kimberley is erect. Amabilis is pure white with a broad spread
of golden anthers. Enchantress is soft rose with a trumpet-
shaped flower. Mrs. F. L. Gibson has a white ground with rose
stripes or splashes. Lafayette is a rose colored single of good
size, as is Hibiscus.
Semi-Double.-The semi-double sub-group has more than 7
petals and usually ranges from 14 to 20. In this class will be
found Tricolor, brought from China by Dr. Siebold. It is of
medium size, usually with a white ground broadly striped with
rose and red. It is very variable and may be found from self-
white to self-red with all combinations in between on the same
plant. Leucantha has been given as a name to the white form
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and Folki to another fixed variation, while Lady de Saumerez
is the name of a rosy-red sport. Lady Vansittart is similar in
marking and size to Tricolor but has a more pleasing form. It
came from Japan and was named about 1886. There is a self-
red variation. About 1830 Dr. Siebold imported a variety from
Japan for M. Donckelaer and in 1834 it was named Donckelarii
in his honor. It is found in various shades of red more or less
splotched with white. Monjisu, sometimes called California
Donckelarii, has fluted red petals more or less blotched with
white. It is said that the self-red variation has been called
Shisu. Semi-double Blush and Magnoliaeflora are light pink
varieties that are both very popular. Sara-sa has a salmon pink
ground speckled with darker pink. Imura is a fine large white.
Fig. 2.-Enchantress has simple flowers with a single corolla.
The second group, incomplete double, has numerous petals
with single stamens or fascicles of stamens or both intermixed,
forming an irregular mass.
Petals Large.-In the first sub-group the inner petals are
formed from fascicles of stamens. Varieties in this class are
typified by Latifolia, which is also known as Fanny Bolis or
Leeana Superba Variegated. It forms a handsome shrub with
shiny dark-green leaves. The flowers are medium sized, red,
blotched with white. A self-red sport of this variety is known
as Gloire de Nantes. Rev. John G. Drayton is a soft pink with
medium sized flowers. Rev. John Bennett is also soft pink with
a dash of white on the innermost petals and is of large size.
Lurie's Favorite (shown on cover) is a medium to large flower
Fig. 3.-Kumasaka is an incomplete double with all large petals.
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which, under some conditions, becomes almost violet. It has
distinctive small crinkled leaves. Herme, which has a white
ground, is marked with 2 shades of red and may vary from self-
white to self-pink. Haku-Rakuten is a large pure white.
Petals Small.-In the second sub-group the stamens are
changed mostly to small strap-like petaloids and the typical
example is Elegans (Chandler's). It has a pink ground and is
more or less blotched with white.
Petal Sizes Intermixed.-Some varieties vary in form from
the above sub-group to the third, which is a combination of the
first 2. Gigantea, a very large turkey red mottled with white,
Fig. 4.-Elegans is an incomplete double with small petals.
sometimes has a quantity of petaloids and at other times may
have large petals mixed with the petaloids. Pomponia Rubra,
a very late turkey red, has tufts of large and small petals inter-
mixed with stamens.
In the third general group, complete double, all of the stamens
are changed over into petals or are hidden so they may not be
Regular Imbricated.-The first sub-group is regular imbri-
cated, in which the petals overlap regularly as shingles on a
roof. Alba Plena, the double white, is a typical example, which
Fig. 5.-The C. M. Hovey is a complete double, imbricated.
Florida Cooperative Extension
blooms early. Lallarook is a pleasing large, flat, soft rose more
or less mottled with white, whose flowers open from mid-season
to late. Prince Eugene Napoleon is a large, very regular flower,
turkey red in color, which opens in late mid-season. K. Sawada
is large, flat, mid-season, pure white. Mrs. Abby Wilder is a
mid-season variety with a light pink ground streaked with red
and infrequently will show a red blossom. The true C. M.
Hovey, which has been called Col. Firey and Mississippi Hastie,
has a large bright-red flower which sometimes is blotched with
Incomplete Imbricated.-The second sub-group, incomplete im-
bricated, is similar to the first except for a large rosebud-like
center which may or may not open to show stamens. If the
Fig. 6.-A good example of an incomplete double, imbricated.
latter occurs, the individual is thrown back into the incomplete
double group with large petals, because the presence of stamens
excludes it from the complete double group. Mathotiana, a very
large mid-season variety, which shades from rose to very deep
red tinged with purple under various weather and soil condi-
tions, is a typical variety of this sub-group. Late in the season
or in very warm seasons all the flowers may open to show
stamens. Otome, which shades from blush at the edge of the
petals to pale pink in the center, opens in mid-season. Matho-
tiana Alba, which is a large white with now and then a pink
Fig. 7.-Candidissima has tiered petals.
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stripe, opens mid-season to late in good weather. It has a pink
sport, Mathotiana Rosea. Marie Morren is a medium sized mid-
season red. Purity is a small to medium sized white which may
open to show stamens late in the season.
Tiered.-The petals in the third sub-group are tiered; that
is, they are laid one on top of the other to form a star-shaped
flower. The variety typical of this class is Incarnata or Lady
Hume's Blush, a small mid-season variety which is blush in
color. Candidissima is a pure, late white which falls into this
class but frequently fails to open properly. Other varieties show
individuals which are tiered now and then.
Irregular.-The fourth sub-group is irregular, in which all
the stamens are transformed into strap-like petals or are not
visible. Prof. C. S. Sargent, a bright red all-season variety, is
typical of this class and is one of the best for growing in full
sun. Debutante, a large soft pink, is one of the earliest varieties.
Warrath is very similar in form to Prof. C. S. Sargent but is
darker red and is one of the latest of varieties.
SPECIES OTHER THAN C. JAPONICA
Another species coming into favor is C. sasanqua, which dif-
fers from C. japonica in that it is more open and willowy in
growth and has comparatively small leaves. The flowers vary
Fig. 8.-Professor Sargent is an incomplete double, irregular.
from single to double but the latter are few in number. They
flower comparatively early and reach their peak of bloom in
November. Rosea is standard rosecolored single. Mine-no-yuki
is double white. Cleopatra is a red that varies from single to
double. Hiodoshi is a very large single, rose in color, mottled
with white. The flowers are characterized by a musky sweet
C. saluenensis may have possibilities as a parent for hybridiz-
ation because its flowers have a pure sweet scent. The common
named variety of this species is Apple Blossom.
C. reticulata is characterized by its long, slender, veined leaves
and open growth. It is not widely distributed but more and
more plants are becoming available. Its semi-double rose-
colored flowers are about the last to open.
By Seeds.-Camellias may be propagated by seeds, cuttings
or grafting. Seeds should be planted as soon as they are ripe,
usually in August and September, in flower pots or flats, or in
the open if they can be protected from rodents. If the seed coats
are nicked with a file they will germinate sooner because it
takes a considerable time for moisture to penetrate the hard seed
coat. They should be planted 12 to 1 inch deep in good soil and
mulched with leaves. They will germinate in from 2 to 4
months. At the end of the first summer's growth they should
be lifted, the taproot cut back to induce the growth of lateral
roots and transplanted. Seedlings may flower at 2 years but
several years may pass before they flower. Too much cannot
be expected from seedlings because the greater number of them
will be poor singles with only 1 or 2 in a thousand producing
desirable flowers. Seedlings, however, make excellent stocks
upon which to graft choice varieties.
By Cuttings.-Tip cutting should be taken when the wood
is about half hardened (July-August-September). A box 7-9
inches deep provided with good drainage is filled to within 2
inches of the top with clean, sharp sand. The cuttings with
3 leaves intact are plunged in the sand at an agle so that the
leaves lie almost flat on the surface. A cheesecloth cover is
provided and the box is set in a shady place and watered every
day through through the cheesecloth.
Rooting may be hastened by treating the cuttings with one
of the root-inducing substances. The simplest to use are those
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with a talc base. The base of the cutting is dampened with
water and plunged into the powder and the excess powder is
removed by tapping sharply against the top of the container.
Cuttings may root in 6 weeks and be ready for potting or
lining out. Rooted cuttings should be protected for the first
few months from intense cold or sun until their root system
is established. If they can be kept in a greenhouse or coldframe
they will produce a flush growth early in the spring before
plants in the open have started to grow, thus gaining half a
Plants propagated by cuttings will come true to the variety
from which they were taken except in cases where the plant
itself may show considerable color variation and in this case
may follow one of the variations.
By Grafting.-A quick way to bring a new variety into large
size is to graft it on an old root system. This may be an un-
wanted variety, a seedling grown for that purpose, an old plant
that year after year fails to open properly, or a vigorous rooted
cutting grown for use as a rootstock. Some propagators use
sasanqua understock extensively. Camellias may be grafted at
any time during the year that the stock is dormant but most
grafting is done in January and February just before new
growth commences. The period may be extended for sasanquas
because they do not send out their growth as early as japonicas.
Summer grafts are risky because of the succulent nature of the
growth and they may be lost during the cold weather because
in late summer and autumn they may not have hardened enough
to withstand the cold of winter in the open; however, half a
season's growth may be gained in this manner.
The stock is cut off smoothly just above the surface of the
ground and, depending upon the size, is split once or even twice
more with a chisel. If the trunk forks at the ground both limbs
may be used. The butt end of the scion, a tip cutting of vigor-
ous growth of the previous summer, is cut to a long tapering
wedge slightly thicker on 1 edge, and inserted, with the thick
edge toward the outside, in the cut or cleft in the stump which
is held open with a grafting tool or a screwdriver.
The growing area of a plant is between the bark and the
wood and is known as the cambium layer. To form a perfect
union, the cambium layers of the stock and scion must coincide
exactly. If the stump is quite small, pencil size for instance,
only 1 scion is put in; if it is 34 inch in diameter, a scion may
be put in at each side of the cleft, and if still larger, a scion may
be put at each of 2 or more clefts which are cut at angles to
each other. Small stocks may have to be tied with a string to
hold 'the scion tightly in place and very large stocks wedged
open to prevent crushing the scion. After the graft has been
made, the whole is covered with clean soil up to the leaves on
the scion or packed with green sphagnum moss.
A wide-mouthed glass jar is then inverted over the graft and
shaded with a piece of burlap or some Spanish moss. When
the union is made and growth starts on the scion the glass
jar is removed. Growth up to 3 feet or more and even flower
buds may be expected from a graft on a large stump. A variety
grown from a graft may be expected to be the same as from
which the scion was taken but frequently variegations appear
that were not found previously.
Camellias require an acid soil, well supplied with organic mat-
ter and moisture. They will not tolerate an alkaline or water-
logged soil. Although some varieties do well in full sun, most
varieties do best in partial shade such as is furnished by pine
trees. This is because, in their native habitat, they are found
as under-shrubs in open forests. Such a situation is naturally
well supplied with orangic matter from the decomposing leaves
of the surrounding trees. The shade afforded by the trees is
a great deal of protection during frosty weather and allows a
greater percentage of flowers to open without damage. It also
protects some of the tenderer sorts from sunburn. In the lati-
tude of northern Florida the foliage of many varieties also is
injured by frost and sun if planted in full exposure.
In selecting plants for the garden, pick out those with good
green color that are free from scale. They are ordinarily moved
from the nursery with a ball of earth on the roots, securely held
in place with burlap, and may be set in their new location with
a minimum of shock. Bare-rooted plants in small sizes, how-
ever, may be moved when they are perfectly dormant and, if
they are cut back sufficiently and shaded, they will grow off
without any trouble.
The hole in which the plants are set should be dug much
larger than the ball of earth on burlapped plants, or the root
systems of bare-rooted plants, and partially filled with a mix-
ture of topsoil and leaf mold, muck or peat, to which a handful
Florida Cooperative Extension
of commercial fertilizer may be added. Tramp the mixture
down well so there will be a minimum of settling and set the
plant at the same level at which it grew in the nursery. In the
case of a balled and burlapped plant, take into consideration
the folds of burlap around the crown of the plant, because, if
it is covered with soil in planting, it may be set 2 or 3 inches
too deep. Plants set too deep will grow poorly and may even
die. Allow plenty of room (6 to 8 feet) between plants.
FERTILIZING AND CULTURE
It is said that camellias are very slow growing, but this is not
true if they are furnished with sufficient fertilizer and water.
A well fed plant may put on shoot growth up to 18 inches a year.
A heavily fertilized plant, however, is likely to produce a maxi-
mum of vegetative growth and few flowers. When plants are
small, it is best to sacrifice flowers for growth.
Fig. 9.-The Jarvis Red is heavy blooming and fast growing, a very
satisfactory garden shrub.
A satisfactory fertilizer for camellias must have an acid re-
action and most seed and plant stores carry a ready-mixed
camellia and azalea fertilizer. If a ready-mixed fertilizer is
not available, the following formula can be mixed: 1 part am-
monium sulphate, 23/ parts cottonseed meal, milorganite, or
castor pomace, 1% parts sulphate of potash, 312 parts super-
phosphate, and 1 part of aluminum sulphate or agricultural
sulphur. A double handful or about 1'2 pound should be applied
in a thin band under the spread of a 3-foot plant. The first ap-
plication can be made in the period from November 15 to just
after the plants finish flowering. A second application is made
If a large plant is growing in an area in competition with tree
roots, plug the fertilizer by placing it in holes punched in the
ground with a sharp stick or rod under the ends of the branches.
Holes should be spaced 18 to 24 inches apart. About 1/2 cupful
of fertilizer should be placed in each and covered.
Barnyard manure is a good fertilizing material as well as soil
conditioner. It may be spread 3 to 4 inches deep over the
surface about the plants and covered with mulch.
To keep the plants in the best of condition, maintain a mulch
around them at all times. A mulch helps to conserve water,
keeps the soil cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather.
It also supplies a certain amount of plant food and growth sub-
stances to the plants as it decomposes. A mulch may be com-
posed of pine needles, leaves, grass clippings, bagasse, pine
bark, sawdust or barnyard manures. Camellias are very shallow
rooted and should not be cultivated other than to remove ob-
The plant should be supplied with water at all times but must
have good drainage. When in a flush of growth or flowering,
the ground should be thoroughly soaked at least once a week
and the plants themselves sprayed with water frequently. When
the flower buds are in process of enlarging, the plants will re-
quire quantities of water because many of the buds will shed
off if the plants become dry.
PESTS AND PEST CONTROL
Camellias are attacked by 3 species of scale-insects-tea scale,
camellia scale and Florida red scale. The tea scale is quite small
but multiplies rapidly and, if not controlled, will cover the under-
sides of the leaves. It exudes a waxy material that makes the
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underside of the leaf appear as though it were covered with
white fuzz. The camellia scale appears as a minute elongated
oyster shell and makes itself known by a telltale light spot on
the upperside of the leaf directly over its position on the under
surface. The Florida red scale appears as a round brownish-
red scale up to the size of the head of a pin and, when numerous,
may be found on the upper surface as well as the lower. A
heavy infestation of it or tea scale will require persistent efforts
All of the scales are controlled by spraying or washing with
white oil emulsion. A light infestation may be controlled with
a 1% solution but a heavy infestation may require 2 or more
applications of a 2% solution. The first application should be
put on as soon as all danger of frost is over and should be fol-
lowed by a second application in 6 weeks. If control has not
been effected, follow the same procedure in late September or
October. Oil emulsion should not be applied in very hot weather
because it will burn the foliage and cause the flower buds to drop.
During dry weather the foliage may be attacked by red spiders
which cause the upper surface to take on a grayish appearance.
The red spiders may be controlled by keeping the plants sprayed
with water or by dusting with sulphur dust.
There is only 1 common disease that attacks camellias. It is
known as diebackk" or "twig blight." When it is present a twig
or branch or even the whole plant suddenly dries up, with the
leaves intact. Twigs or branches so affected should be pruned
back to live green wood and the plant covered with a bordeaux
or Flordo spray.
Infrequently plants are killed by mushroom root-rot, for which
there is no control. If a plant is killed by this disease do not
reset a plant in the same place because it is only a question of
time until it also will be killed.
Leaf gall may sometimes affect the new growth, causing it
to be swollen, misshapen and covered with a powdery substance.
The affected parts should be hand picked and burned. A heavy
infestation can be controlled with an application of low-lime
Although it has appeared so far only in greenhouses in the
Southeast, there is another possible disease to be watched for.
It is camellia flower blight, which attacks the flowers, as does
azalea flower spot, causing the entire flower to turn brown in
24 to 48 hours. Methods of control have not been devised. If
such a disease is suspected, send flowers immediately to your
Plant Pathologist at the State Agricultural Experiment Station.
Flowers are frequently damaged during cold, rainy weather
and turn brown and rot, but this is quite different from the
camellia flower blight.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida, Florida State College for Women and
United States Deiartment of Agriculture. cooperating. A. P. Spencer, Director.