Black Tie CamelliaCamellia japonica 'Black Tie'
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Camellia japonica 'Black Tie'
Outdoor Growing zone
Partial Sun, Shade
The Black Tie Camellia is a perfect, formal camellia with large, open blooms of neat overlapping petals. The color is a perfect true red, free of either pink or purple overtones. This evergreen bush has very attractive glossy, dark-green leaves and grows up to 12 feet tall in time, with a broad, dense form ideal for screening or hedges. It blooms for week after week from late summer into early spring, and the blooms open in succession, smothering this plant in their hundreds. Although acid soil conditions are necessary in the garden, it can be grown very successfully as a pot plant too, in any garden and in any zone.
the Black Tie Camellia will grow best in partial shade, with morning sun and protection from the hot afternoon sun. It will grow on the north side of your home, or in open dappled shade beneath deciduous trees. The soil should be rich and moist, with good drainage and it should have a pH value of no more than 6.5. If you don’t have suitable soil, grow it in a large pot or planter box. Potted trees can be grown indoors in a cool, bright place when the temperatures are below 40 degrees, so this plant can be grown anywhere in the country.
There was a time when camellia flowers were ‘all the rage’. At Grand Balls of the old South, in les salons of Europe, and in every ‘good’ home, the flowers were prized for their beauty and elegance. You can recapture some of that old-world charm and formality with the Black Tie Camellia. This evergreen bush has dark red flowers that look like they were arranged with a compass, so perfectly do the neat petals overlap each other, creating a wonderful formal shape. It doesn’t matter if you wear it to a ball or a black-tie event or not, you will love the winter gift this bush gives you. Out in the garden or in a sunroom, blooming at the end of winter, well before spring flowers start to appear, that first bloom is an exciting moment of perfection. Equally at home in the garden, with suitable soil, or in a pot, this robust bush is easy to grow, and the handsome dark-green foliage is always glossy and rich looking, keeping it attractive even when it is not in bloom. Enjoy the anticipation of watching those buds slowly swell, and then open to reveal a form so perfect that we can only believe it was created by the geometer of the universe.
The Black Tie Camellia is an upright, spreading evergreen bush that will grow at a moderate rate to be 10 to 12 feet tall in time, with a width of up to 8 feet. The leaves are leathery and very smooth and glossy, about 4 inches long and 1½ inches wide. Rich green and very attractive, this dense evergreen looks perfect every day of the year. Flower buds begin to develop in late summer, and slowly swell through fall and winter to become conspicuous at the ends of the branches. They open with a tantalizing slowness, but by late winter or early spring, depending on where you are and how you grow it, your bush will begin to open its blooms. Each one is 3 or even 4 inches across, with around 60 petals, looking like a rosebud, especially when it first begins to open. The petals are arranged in perfect overlapping circles, making what camellia enthusiasts call a ‘formal’ flower – and formal it is, with a stunning perfection to it. The color is a perfect deep lipstick red, with no traces of pink or purple at all. Each bloom lasts a week to 10 days, depending on temperatures, and since they open in succession, not all at the same time, flowering lasts for weeks and weeks.
This evergreen bush is perfect for shrub beds, or for more natural wooded areas. It looks great standing on a lawn, or growing as a hedge. For a lovely flowering screen plant bushes 3 to 5 feet apart to grow a solid green wall with minimal pruning. You could place it in a space between the paving stones of a terrace, or grow a pair either side of a doorway. Plant it against a wall between windows. It will always look great in any garden, anywhere.
The Black Tie Camellia is hardy outdoors in zones 7, 8 and 9. Of course, if you grow it in a pot it can be grown in every zone. Keep it in a cool, well-lit place for it the colder months, such as a sunporch or glassed-in entrance.
The Black Tie Camellia grows best in partial shade, with some morning sun and afternoon shade. It also grows in light full shade, such as on the bright north side of a building, or beneath open deciduous trees. It needs rich, moist soil, but not wet ground – drainage is important. The soil must be acidic, with a pH value of 6.5 at most, and preferably less. Although you will read about ways to make your soil more acidic, these usually have only limited, short-term results with soil that is already slightly acidic. If you don’t have suitable soil then luckily camellias grow well in pots. Use a large tub with drainage holes, and plant in a blended soil suitable for acid-loving plants. Water regularly and feed in spring and early summer with a fertilizer for camellias or acid-loving plants like azaleas. In colder zones bring your plant inside when the night temperatures fall to around 45 degrees and put it back outside when they reach around 50 degrees. A cool place, around 40 to 50 degrees, is best – avoid hot places and dry air. Give plenty of light but provide some screening, like a mesh curtain, from direct sun.
Camellias are easy to grow once you have the light and soil right, and serious pests or diseases are rare. You can trim after blooming if you want, but don’t trim new growth or you sacrifice flowers for the next year.
The Japanese camellia, Camellia japonica, was an enormous hit when it was first introduced into America from Japan before 1800. Most varieties were created by amateur breeders, such as Spencer Walden Jr. He was at one time the president of the Georgia Camellia Society, and he created several valuable varieties during his time as a breeder. The variety he called ‘Black Tie’ was a seedling he grew that first bloomed in 1968. We don’t know what parent varieties he used.
We love being able to offer great camellias like this to our customers. We know how loved they will be, and what joy you will feel seeing those gorgeous blooms each year. If you have avoided them because you think they are ‘difficult’, think again – with just a little TLC they are very easy to grow successfully. But order now, because they never stay with us for long, and the best ones go first.