Fans of snow covered holidays will be disappointed, it seems, by mild temperatures in recent weeks and more forecast for the week ahead. I prefer camellias to snow, and with each week in December warmer than the preceding one, the chance that camellias will flower through the month appears likely as buds swell in warm afternoon temperatures.
Typically, late blooming camellias in the garden begin to flower sporadically in November, then continue with a few scattered blooms into January if overnight temperatures do not drop too far below freezing for a few days. In recent years, warm winter days were few, so many buds did not open before being injured by the extended cold.
This year, the white ‘Winter’s Snowman’ has flowered since early November, with only a short break for one chilly week. With temperatures occasionally dipping into the mid twenties, blooms are regularly injured by cold, but the next sunny afternoon a few new flowers open. If all goes well there will not be single unopened bud by late in the month.
‘Winter’s Star’ and ‘Winter’s Interlude’ are, as usual, later than others in flowering. Many buds are swelling with a peek of color, and I will be disappointed if there are not many flowers through the second half of December.
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What a great season you’re having. Just a few years ago I was considering braving a few of the hardier introductions up here in Northern PA, but after the last two winters and the beatings even the more southern plantings got, I think I’ll have to be happy with the photos I find online.
In the past twenty five years of warmer winters I’ve stretched zones a few times, and found plants that are more cold hardy than expected. A few trials failed, while others were killed to the ground and have quickly grown back. This counts as a success, I think. I wonder how many crapemyrtles have been planted within a few hundred miles of the coast through the northeast, and if any survived the past two winters. I’m pretty certain that camellias are not a good bet for upper PA, even if warm winters.