Camelias have glossy, evergreen leaves and large, showy, circular blossoms. The blossoms can be double- or single-petalled with a yellowish centre. The flowers come in hues ranging from reds and pinks to whites. The variety sinensis is cultivated for its leaves to be used in tea. While it does help the plant to fertilise, it is best to do so sparingly, as overdoing fertilisation interrupts the plant's natural growth pattern. Plants receiving too much fertiliser will not grow in the tighter, clumped shrubs the plant naturally prefers.
Allow the camelia to develop without feeding during its initial year of growth. During its second year, apply between 227 and 454gr. of cotton seed meal, found at a local nursery, to each camelia plant at the start of the growing season, incorporating it into the soil around the plant. Water well to avoid chemical burn. Cover with a layer of mulch to keep moisture in.
Observe the plant for its growth patterns. If it seems to have developed to an adequate size during its first year, you can apply fertiliser with higher phosphorous and potassium for overall nutrition, such as 4-8-8. It is more likely you will want to encourage more growth and, therefore, look for a fertiliser such as 12-4-8 or 10-10-10, which contains more nitrogen.
Apply the appropriate fertiliser in early spring, late spring, and midsummer. Follow specific directions on the manufacturer's label to determine amounts, as they differ by brand. Move the mulch aside and apply the suggested amount of fertiliser onto the top of the soil around the plant. Water and replace mulch.
Observe the plant at the beginning of each spring to determine if it needs additional nitrogen-heavy fertiliser to promote larger growth or if you can switch to a 4-8-8 fertiliser.