With fully double ruby-red blooms, October Magic® Ruby™ Camellia is a showstopper in the landscape. Give this beauty extra punch by pairing with companion plants that emphasize and accentuate the vibrant blooms and glossy, olive green foliage.
Evergreen foliage carries the garden from fall to spring. Complement the lush blooms of October Magic® Ruby™ with the silvery-pink foliage of ‘Cracked Ice’ Heucherella or the rose-red fall color of ‘Buttered Rum’ Heucherella. Purple and rose are always a good match. Plant a groundcover of Purple Pixie® Dwarf Weeping Loropetalum to soften the planting and add year-long color. For a brighter accent, complement the cheery blooms of October Magic® Ruby™ with a golden carpet of EverColor® ‘Everoro’ Carex. Astilbes and ferns also make great companions with fine, soft-textured foliage.
When selecting partners for camellias, look for plants that share the same need for acidic soils. Shrubs that fit the bill include rhododendron, azalea, pieris, deutzia, hydrangea, and gardenia. Evergreen shrubs like Mountain Snow™ Pieris and Southgate® Series Rhododendrons provide lush foliage to support the vibrant blooms of October Magic® Ruby™ throughout the fall and winter seasons.
Deciduous shrubs also make ideal companions because they do not steal the spotlight when camellias are in bloom. The acidic conditions of camellias are perfect for our favorite blue-flowered hydrangeas like ‘Big Daddy’. By the time camellias come into bloom, these hydrangeas are dressed in a ruffle of dried flower heads that are elegant, but not too showy. In addition to blues, try Tara™ Hydrangea. With long, graceful branches and exfoliating bark, this oakleaf hydrangea accents camellias with their subtle beauty.
Another deciduous acid-loving shrub to pair with camellias are the Solar Flare™ Azaleas. Because they bloom in different seasons, matching flower colors isn’t a concern, yet the woody upright branches provide a structural backdrop for camellias.
Encore® Azaleas are the quintessential acid-loving shrub for Southern gardens. White-blooming varieties provide a soft counterpart to October Magic® Ruby™. Low-growing Autumn Ivory™ provides a flush of bright white flowers on a compact shrub that won’t visually overwhelm your camellias. The upright Autumn Moonlight™ makes a stunning backdrop to October Magic® Ruby™ with pure white ruffled blooms.
Give Me Shelter
The compact form of October Magic® Ruby™ Camellia is perfect for growing alongside an understory tree. Dogwoods and Japanese maples are perfect companions. Try the graceful Empress of China® Dogwood. It produces a riotous spring floral display followed by red fruits that complement the blooms of October Magic® Ruby™ in autumn.
An upper canopy of oaks, elms or maples are ideal as camellias generally fare better when grown beneath deciduous rather than evergreen trees. The root systems of these trees tend to be less aggressive and the annual shedding of leaves allows sunlight to reach camellias in winter and blankets the earth in a natural mulch.