Plant of the Week: Kramers Supreme Camellia
Camellia japonica ‘Kramers Supreme’
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Camellias have been a staple in old southern landscapes for centuries. One of my favorites is Kramer’s Supreme Camellia. Fist-sized, informally ruffled, red blooms are their prized calling card. Once established, they are easy to care for and require little maintenance. Here is what you should know about growing them.
Kramer’s Supreme Camellias are upright shrubs that get 8-10 feet tall and around 6 -8 feet wide. They have glossy, emerald green foliage year-round, making them evergreens. In late winter, the 5-inch, deep red blooms will emerge. No part of this plant will be toxic to the family pets.
Camellia japonicas should be placed in part shade to full shade. Dappled sun or filtered sun is acceptable as well. They like a mildly acidic soil pH, around 6.5 on the scale. Upon initial planting, you make sure to water the new transplant regularly to ensure the root ball doesn’t dry out. The soil media you plant your Camellia in should be very well drained and amended with acid to ensure the plant receives the proper nutrition. Acidic soil conditions can be achieved a number of ways but an easy way to get this is to use Fertilome Camellia and Azalea Food. A more organic option is to incorporate UNWASHED (unused) coffee grounds into the soil before planting. Coffee contains acid which releases when you water, acidifying the soil.
Kramer’s Supreme, as with all Camellias, can be used as a specimen focal point in any shade garden. They can be used in pots as well due to their extremely slow growth rate. They can be formed into hedges and used as a screen or living wall. They can be used as a topiary and even an outdoor or indoor Bonsai. The blooms are usually cut and floated in a bowl of water, to bring a little of the cold outdoors, inside.
Being one of the most traditional Southern centerpieces in the shade garden, Camellias will continue to be a go-to here. They brighten up those cold, harsh winter days as you gaze outside, huddled around a fire with a warm cup of cocoa. There aren’t many plants that will bloom quite like these in winter. Warm up those shady spots with some red hot flowering shrubs!
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