Camellias are native to southern Asia but are also grown in the southern U.S. They bloom in cool weather and have dark green tropical foliage. There are hundreds of different types of camellias, but all camellias grow in well-drained, rich acidic soil. Some camellias bloom in fall and some in early winter. Camellias may have red, white or pink blooms with some double blooming types available.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Peat Moss
- Organic Fertilizer
- Source of water
Choose a location on the north side of a building or in a semi-shaded part of the garden. A location that gets morning sun until noon is best.
Dig a hole so the camellia is the same depth as it is planted in the container or at the nursery. Dig the hole slightly wider to add back fill and amendments.
Mix equal parts compost, native soil and peat moss. Refill the hole around the camellia with the mix. Slowly mix water with the planting mix and allow the mix to settle around the roots so there are no air spaces left around the roots. Add more mix if needed.
Spread organic fertiliser around the root zone at the recommended rate. Choose a fertiliser that is recommended for acid loving plants like azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons.
Add a 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of the camellia that extends 6 inches further than the branches. Clear weeds or trim other brush that will compete with the new plant.
Water over the mulch and clean off any mulch or dirt on the leaves of the plant. Water the root zone deeply once a week for the first 3 months without getting water on the leaves, then water as needed during periods of dry weather.
Tips and warnings
- Camellias grow slowly but steadily. A two-foot tall plant can take five years or more to get five feet tall, so purchase accordingly.
- Damaged or overgrown camellias can be cut as low as 6 inches above the ground and will recover.
- Full summer sun will stunt the growth of a camellia.
- Soil Ph must be acidic (Ph 6.0 to 6.5) to grow camellias successfully or soil will need amendments to adjust Ph.
- Spray leaves with light dormant oil in winter to control tea scale and spray with neem oil in summer to control aphids, spider mites and fungal problems. Spray both sides of leaves.
- Excessive fertiliser will kill or stunt camellias by burning new roots and leaf growth.
- Camellia plants in full bloom during extended periods of freezing weather must be covered to prevent damage to flowers and foliage.
- Allowing plastic covering to contact plants during freezing weather will increase chance of freeze damage.
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