How to Grow Camellias

winterstar2

Camellia Winter Star

I loved the camellias in my Mississippi garden.  I currently live on the New Jersey Shore, far north of Mississippi.  The winters here can be brutal, and although camellias are supposed to be okay in our Zone 7, I am not sure that they will actually survive–at least not without a great deal of pampering, mulching, and luck.  Today I bought a Winter Star.  This will be my first time to try camellias this far north, and I just read an article that makes me feel slightly better about the venture.

Camellias Grow Well in Containers

The following article was written in Louisiana, where camellias would have not problem surviving winter.  Regardless, it says that camellias actually do well in containers, and it offers a couple of reasons that containers might be the best route to take with these tender plants.

Camellias are outstanding in containers

By Dan Gill
LSU AgCenter Horticulturist

“As beautiful as they are in the ground, camellias adapt happily to life in containers and are particularly impressive grown that way. Now is also a great time to purchase and plant camellias in containers.

“Growing camellias in containers allows gardeners to cultivate them where ground space is not available, such as an apartment balcony or a deck or patio. It also allows you to move the plant around to different locations – bringing it to a prominent position while its flowers are at their best and placing it in a more out of the way spot at other times, for instance.

“Their hardiness makes the need to move them into a protected location unnecessary except for the rare occasions when temperatures will go below 20 degrees and the root ball might freeze.

“Eventually, a camellia will require a container about 2 feet wide and deep as it reaches maturity. This takes a number of years, however, and it is best to grow camellias in smaller pots appropriate to their size, gradually shifting them to larger containers as they outgrow the one they are in.

“The camellia is not one of those plants that suffers the minute it gets a bit potbound, but you shouldn’t allow it to remain in that state for more than a couple of years, or the growth will be stunted and flowers will be few. When repotting, shift the plant into a new pot only a few inches – or one size – larger. Planting into an excessively larger pot creates a situation where overwatering and root rot are more likely to occur.

“The type of pot you choose is as much a matter of taste as what is best for the camellias. Black plastic pots from the nursery work fine but look a bit too utilitarian for most landscapes. Decorative plastic in muted colors, terra cotta, fiberglass, glazed pottery and wood all make suitable containers (although termites make wood a questionable choice).

“Eventually, a camellia will require a container about 2 feet wide and deep as it reaches maturity. This takes a number of years, however, and it is best to grow camellias in smaller pots appropriate to their size, gradually shifting them to larger containers as they outgrow the one they are in.

“The camellia is not one of those plants that suffers the minute it gets a bit potbound, but you shouldn’t allow it to remain in that state for more than a couple of years, or the growth will be stunted and flowers will be few. When repotting, shift the plant into a new pot only a few inches – or one size – larger. Planting into an excessively larger pot creates a situation where overwatering and root rot are more likely to occur.

“The type of pot you choose is as much a matter of taste as what is best for the camellias. Black plastic pots from the nursery work fine but look a bit too utilitarian for most landscapes. Decorative plastic in muted colors, terra cotta, fiberglass, glazed pottery and wood all make suitable containers (although termites make wood a questionable choice).

“Fertilization is best accomplished with a soluble fertilizer for acid-loving plants applied once or twice a month during the spring and summer. If you would prefer not having to remember to fertilize that often, use a slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote or Dynamite. Applied once in March, it will provide nutrients all through the growing season.

“Once your camellia is planted into its final large pot, it will spend the rest of its life in that size container. To keep the plant vigorous, every two or three years lay the pot on its side and remove the root ball. Trim off one or two inches from around the sides and about one-quarter of the height from the bottom. Add enough fresh potting mix to the bottom of the original container to equal the height of root ball removed. Replace the plant in the container, add new soil around the sides, water thoroughly and you’re all done. This is best done in late winter or early spring before new growth appears.

“When you think about using plants in containers to embellish your front entrance, patio, courtyard, balcony or deck, don’t forget the outstandingly beautiful camellia.”

http://www.lsuagcenter.com/news_archive/2009/january/get_it_growing/Camellias+are+outstanding+in+containers.htm

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s