Beautiful sculptured flowers appear on this lovely shrub and flower through winter to April/May The green leaves gradually darken with age providing a glossy backdrop to the luminous flowers when they appear. For the rest of the year, they provide essential structure, which is invaluable during the winter months when many other plants have lost their leaves. A reasonably fast-growing plant with an upright habit it can be planted into a mixed or shrub border or used as a stand-alone specimen. An added advantage is that it can do well in a pot for those with a small space or very alkaline soil. (Camellias dislike alkaline soil.)
Position: partial shade (but not east-facing)
Soil: moist but well-drained, humus-rich, acid soil (or ericaceous compost for container-grown specimens)
Rate of growth: average.
Flowering period: Winter to May.
Hardiness: fully hardy
Award: AGM (Award of Garden Merit)
Garden care: Protect the emerging buds and flowers from cold, dry winds and early morning sun. Water established plants in dry weather to prevent bud drop. Apply a balanced liquid fertiliser in mid-spring and again in June. Top-dress annually with shredded bark or well-rotted leaf mould. After flowering lightly trim or prune any branches that spoil the appearance of the plant.