Would you please give me a list of camellias that would grow well in Louisville and where/when to plant. I’m from SC.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Celeste: Welcome to Louisville! As I am sure you have discovered, gardening here is certainly different than gardening in South Carolina. Camellias are a staple in any southern garden. I love visiting my in-laws when the camellias are in bloom. Fortunately for us there are camellias that we can successfully grow here in Kentucky. Although there are exceptions, Camellia sasanqua are generally more cold-hardy than Camellia japonica. The flowers are not typically as large as the japonicas, but the sasanqua have been hybridized so that they are available in an array of flower color as well as size. Here in Kentucky, camellias are best planted in the spring or summer if you are going to be around to water them. Even though some are more cold-hardy than others, it is a good idea to get them in the ground earlier in the year so that the roots can establish themselves before the cold winter arrives. These acid-loving plants are happiest growing in a space where they will receive morning sun and afternoon shade. If you are interested in having your soil tested for acidity you can contact the Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Service. They are located at 810 Barret Avenue. The phone number is (502) 569-2344. The Plant Kingdom on Westport Road, (502) 893-7333, in Louisville has carried many different cultivars including the April series, which are japonicas but a bit more tolerable of the cold temperatures. The Ackerman hybrids developed by Dr. Ackerman of the US National Arboretum are all good choices. Any of the winter series will all do well in your new garden. ‘Pink Icicle,’ ‘Two Marthas,’ ‘Taylors Perfection,’ and ‘Freedom Bell’ are other cultivars to consider.