Camellia japonica 'April Tryst'
Common Name: camellia
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Theaceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 5.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Red
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

In the St. Louis area, grow in moist, acidic, organically rich, well-drained soils in part shade in a sheltered and protected microclimate such as near the south side of a home or building. Protection from direct sun in hot summer afternoons is important. Best location may be sun dappled part shade. Plants appreciate consistent moisture. Apply a root mulch. Camellia japonica is generally considered to be winter hardy to USDA Zone 8, and as such will not survive typical St. Louis winters outdoors. However, camellias in the new April Series are unusually winter hardy and reportedly will survive winters in USDA Zone 6b (southern Missouri). With protection and mild winter weather (temperatures do not dip below zero degrees F), April Series camellias are likely to survive winters outdoors in St. Louis (USDA Zone 6a). Regardless of winter hardiness, April Series camellias are still somewhat temperamental plants that dislike sharp changes in temperature, irregular watering or being moved. Buds appear in clusters. Removing all but one bud per cluster will increase flower size. Plants may be grown in containers that are brought indoors in fall and overwintered near a bright sunny window.

Noteworthy Characteristics

‘April Tryst’ is a cultivar in the new April Series of camellias that are noted for having excellent winter hardiness (to USDA Zone 6b). This is an evergreen shrub that typically grows over time to 5-8’ tall and to 4’ wide with elliptic to obovate, serrate, glossy dark green leaves (to 3” long). Fragrant red anemone-form flowers (2” diameter) bloom in mid-late season (mid-late winter) when grown outdoors in warm winter climates or indoors in containers, but bloom in early spring (April) when grown outdoors in the northern part of its growing range. Bloom time gives rise to the name April Series.

Problems

Camellias are susceptible to a number of fungal diseases including leaf spots, black mold, flower blight, canker and root rot. Scale can be a troublesome insect pest.

Garden Uses

In St. Louis, best planted in protected locations around homes, foundations and patios. May be grown in containers that are overwintered indoors. Good specimen shrub for lawns, shrub borders, backgrounds and around homes in mild winter locations (USDA Zones 7-10).