The camellia flower grows from evergreen shrubs with alternately arranged, glossy leaves and large, showy blossoms. These flowers are indigenous to south and east Asia, and grow best in partial sun and loamy, mildly acidic soil. Camellias are considered very easy to grow, and given their variety, you can easily find a flower that suits your needs. For example, camellia sasanqua blooms during the fall, while the camellia japonic Adolphe Audusson is an early spring grower. Camellias also come in a variety of colors. Although they naturally bloom in colors of basic red, pink and white, their hybrid counterparts come in a large spectrum of reds and purples.
The camellia flower is considered an ornamental flower; however, this is not strictly the case. Camellia sinensis, for instance, is used to create fine, delicately flavored teas. These plants have a few very important medical uses, as well. In traditional Chinese medicine, they are used to treat asthma and heart disease, bacterial infections and even bad breath. As an ornamental flower, though, camellias have a long and colorful history. The camellia flower was first planted in La Canada Flintridge’s Descanso Gardens by founder E. Manchester Boddy, who amassed one of the largest collections in North America. During the 1940s, the camellia became quite a hit. They were the most popular corsage choice, and in 1945 the Camellia Festival of Temple City, California began. Large floats of flowers were seen in the festival parade, while blossoms were handed out by the appointed queen. In the San Gabriel Valley during the 1950s, the Descanso Gardens’ Queen of Camellialand began, and the reigning queen was given a “crown” of camellia flowers.
When given as a gift, the camellia flower always represents something good. Although they are predominantly considered an emblem for varying shades of love, they are also thought to be lucky – especially when presented to a man. The basic hues are all given their own meaning: red meaning passion, pink meaning longing, and white meaning admiration and perfection. Camellias can be given in the traditional bouquets, corsages or as single flowers. However, they can also be given in small, pretty gift baskets that contain both the flowers, and camellia themed products.