Red camellia

Red camellia: where does it come from?

The camellia is native to South-East Asia and was imported to Europe from Japan at the beginning of the eighteenth century thanks to George Joseph Kamel, a Jesuit botanical missionary from whom the vulgar name of the plant derives. However, the plant only spread on a large scale at the end of the 18th century, due to a misunderstanding between Chinese and English merchants: the latter believed they were bringing a tea plant - Camelia Sinensis - onto the market and instead loaded the Camellia Japonica onto the ships, which it belongs to the family of the theaceae, but from whose leaves the tea is not obtained. The English have always been passionate about gardening and the plant was immediately appreciated as one of the most sophisticated garden plants, especially for the beauty of flowers. In particular, the red species experienced an immediate spread, thanks also to the fact that during flowering, which runs from June to late October, it could be used to decorate the home interiors giving them an exotic elegance.

Red camellia: a flower loved by artists

In 1848, the French writer Alexandre Dumas wrote "The Lady of the Camellias", a novel that enjoyed an extraordinary public success and whose protagonist, Marguerite Gauthier, adorned her dress with a camellia at every theatrical performance she attended: twenty-five days it was white and for five days it was instead a red camellia.Another great artist then took inspiration from this novel: the musician and composer Giuseppe Verdi, who transformed the Lady of the Camellias into the opera "La Traviata". fiore is always present on the stage during the performance, because Violetta, the protagonist, gives her lover Alfredo a red camellia, Coco Chanel also loved camellias, so much so that she made her the symbol flower, because they reminded her of the first flower given to her from "Boy" (the Englishman Arthur Edward Capel), the only man he really loved during his long existence: red, white or pink, the camellia It is a flower that embodies elegance and perfect beauty, which is why it is particularly dear to many artists.

Red camellia: meaning and history

The flowers speak with their beauty and have a precise language, lovers and romantics know it well but also lovers of garden plants. Violetta gives her beloved Alfredo one red camellia because its symbolic meaning is: "you are the flame of my heart". There red camellia indicates that love, already declared, is ardent, unconditional, eternal. In France it was Josphine de Beauharnais, Napoleon Bonaparte's first wife, who launched the camellia fashion, seduced by their delicacy and the brightness of the colors. The gardens of the Malmaison, the castle in which he retired after Napoleon had their marriage canceled because she could not give him an heir, they were full of red camellias, because the meaning of the red camellia is constancy of feelings, pride and admiration for the be loved; and in fact Josyphine continued to unconditionally love his emperor until his death.

Red camellia: how to grow it

Much loved and diffused in the XVIII century and in the first part of the XIX, the red camellia has then known a period of oblivion, but in the last years it is going through a new youth and nowadays it is very appreciated among the garden plants, for its refinement and elegance as well as the vivacity of its color. It can be grown in pots (better if terracotta) or in open ground. Camellia is a rustic shrub, resistant to cold and does not require special care, but the soil must be acid or neutral. The alternation between cold and heat can cause the buds to fall and gardeners recommend putting it in an area facing north, because it is colder but also more constant and therefore preferable since the camellia suffers a lot from temperature variations. In addition, it must be repaired from the wind and be careful that there are no standing water: the roots tend to rot easily. It prefers the penumbra to the full sun. If cultivated in pots, it is necessary to put some peat or some woodland soil and it must be repotted regularly, the ideal being every two years.