Tsubaki Camellias Inc is a Georgia nursery that is family owned and operated. Our family has grown camellias for over 60 years. We operate Gene's Nursery, a retail nursery in Savannah Georgia and we also sell our plants online and ship to retail customers throughout the United States through CamelliaShop.com and Tsubakitea.com. We also sell various products to wholesale growers in the green industry.
Camellias are evergreen shrubs that bloom late Fall to Early Spring throughout most mild climates in the USA. Camellias are not native to the USA. They originated over 5000 years ago in China, Japan and Southeast Asia.
The genus Camellia is a member of the family of plants called Theaceae. There are many different species within the Camellia genus. Each species of Camellia is different in some way and are separated into groups according to the differences. For example, Camellia sasanqua tends to bloom in the fall, the flowers are simple with colors of red, white, pink or variegated and they shatter when they fall from the plant. the leaf structure of C. sasanqua tends to be small and rounded and most can tolerate, and prefer sunny locations.
Camellia japonica, the most popular species, in its pure form, is single, simple, and leaves can be large, thick and glossy. With the advancement of breeding, both natural and manually, the species is extremely diverse. There are countless flower colors, forms, patterns, and bloom sizes and bloom seasons, not to mention the vast growth habits and cultural preferences in the plants themselves. For this reason, we consider Camellia japonica - the Queen of Camellias.
The most popular Camellia species is that of Camellia sinensis, also known as the Tea plant, and is the oldest camellia in recorded history. It is the plant that has been used for centuries for the production of Tea. True tea, is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis because it contains caffeine. The other species either to not contain this desirable element, or it is negligible.
Camellia sinensis produces flowers and they are both beautiful and instrumental in the production process. When used as an ornamental in the garden, beautiful but very simple sprays of white to blush pink flowers adorn plants in late summer to early fall. These beautiful flowers, if pollinated, will turn to seed the next year to seed the next year. Plants used to produce tea will very rarely flower because they are kept in a state of constant pruning, or harvesting and they don't flower, or flower very lightly. Camellia sinensis prefers very well drained, organic enriched, acid soils, with plenty of sunshine and humidity. They will tolerate more cool temps than the other camellias species and can be grown outdoors in most mild climates and in containers in climates that are unsuitable outdoors during the winter months.
The other Camellia species are strictly for our viewing pleasure! There are over 250 species of Camellias in the world today with hundreds, if not thousands, of varieties within each species. They prefer mild climates, with very well drained, organic enriched, acid soils. Some varieties within the species can tolerate full sun while others prefer shadier locations. There are some varieties that can tolerate cooler temperatures. Different varieties bloom at different times, but by staggering cultivars, you can expect to have a flowers blooming from early fall to late spring. Tsubaki Camellias Inc is currently among a hand full of breeders that are working to develop summer blooming Camellias and as our work continues, we hope to be able to offer these exceptional plants to the public in the coming years!