Growing Camellias

Camellias are regarded as some of nature’s hardier plants with few pests and diseases. It is important to select a suitable site with good drainage, flow of fresh air and adequate light, factors contributing to growing a strong healthy plant.  Camellia’s are trees originally found growing as understory plants in dappled shade of large trees forming the canopy. Camellias should be planted where they are protected by dappled shade, emphasis being from our hot afternoon summer sun. Camellia sasanquas are generally more tolerant of sunny positions than japonicas.

Ideally Camellias grow best in an open, humus rich slightly acidic soil with good drainage (pH 5.5 – 6.5). Here nutrient availability is at its highest. Camellias will tolerate strongly acidic soils but below pH 5.0 yellowing of the leaves will occur caused by the limited uptake of trace elements, iron and magnesium. Generally in South Australia our soils are slightly alkaline so we recommend planting into a mildly acidic compost or container mix specific to camellias and azaleas. Link TO GO.

While the plant is in its early stages of growth and after transplanting into the garden it is beneficial to remove flower buds to shift the energy balance towards root and shoot development. Camellias respond well to pruning, it is best to prune after flowering but before the next period of growth resumes. Once plants mature and become bushy it helps to open up the canopy and prune weaker branches and help balance between growth points. This helps the appearance of the plant and promotes further growth of healthy shoots.

Two of the most popular species of Camellia are the C. japonica and C. sasanqua and our range includes a selection of each that we believe to be best suited to our environment.