The Camellia (Camellia), belonging to the family of Theaceaeis a evergreen shrub ornamental of a beautiful brilliant green, very appreciated for its opulent flowering. It is the essential of the ornamental garden but also of the terraces and the well oriented balconies since this shrub can be installed in the ground as well as in a container. Let’s take a look at the planting and care of the camellia as well as its flowering.
Plant a camellia
Two periods of the year are favorable for planting camellias: early fall for late flowering species and spring for those with early flowering. Planting the camellia proceeds as follows.
- Dig a generous hole the size of which is twice as large as that of the root ball,
- Mix heather soil with the extracted soil as well as very good quality planting soil or compost from dead leaves,
- Place some of this mixture at the bottom of the hole,
- Take the plant out of its container and untangle the roots carefully so as not to damage them,
- Position the camellia in the planting hole; the top of the clod must imperatively be at a good 4 centimeters below ground level so that it is covered with a small layer of soil,
- Plug the hole,
- Water copiously,
- Refill with compost if the watering has somewhat lowered the level of the soil,
- Finish with a layer of resinous branches.
If the risk of frost is still to be feared, especially if temperatures below -4°C are announced, it is important to protect the camellia newly planted by forcing veil until the weather is kinder.
Note that the camellia can be planted in container (or in a large pot) fully drilled. The same mixture is used as for planting in the ground. Then install the plant on the balcony or terrace, avoiding areas exposed to full afternoon sun, especially in summer.
The Camellia appreciates the situations brightsemi-shaded to sunny but without the scorching sunet sheltered from cold winds. It must also be protected from late frosts as they shorten flowering. It finds its place in many regions, including those with well marked winters when one chooses a hardy variety capable of withstanding down to -20°C.
The camellia loves sols riches, light, well drained et costs. But he also needs a moderately acidic pH soil – between 5.5 and 6.5 – so it is necessary to mix heathland in potting soil or loam. This is also the case of the hydrangea or the rhododendron. This is why it is not uncommon to be able to admire huge clumps of shrubs combining these different species which, once in bloom, are absolutely spectacular. However, you can very well grow the camellia in isolation.
Caring for your camellia
Camellia is not very demanding. In order for it to thrive without problems and to flower abundantly every year, it is enough to give it the following few cares.
In summer, when it is very hot and drythe camellia must benefit from more copious than usual and regular watering so that the flower buds in preparation do not fall.
Each year after flowering, the camellia likes to enrich the soil with 5 to 7 cm of leaf mold, mature compost or commercial heather soil. Just scrape the soil on the surface and then amend it.
When in bud, the winter-flowering camellia must be protected from icy winds and frost, especially in harsh climates. Ideally it is covered with a winter sail and care is taken to install a mulch at the foot.
Likewise, the spring weather can cause stress in late flowering plants that have just been planted. Here again the shrubs must be protected, but this time with a forcing veil also called veil p17. It must be kept in place for some time to allow the camellia to acclimatize.
Just after the fertilization carried out at the end of flowering, a mulch of pine needles is added over the compost which brings a little acidity to the soil.
Young subjects are content with a very moderate size (always after flowering) allowing you to cut above a leaf to simply remove the small branches that protrude and/or the shoots that have frozen. More severe pruning should be reserved for adult camellias, but only if necessary because it is absolutely not not indispensable. It is mainly used to eliminate dead wood and damaged branches or possibly to aerate the heart of the branches.
Pests and diseases
The scale insects and the aphids can settle on the camellia and cause the fumagine, a cryptogamic disease identifiable by blackish mold on the leaves and stems. Honeydew from these pests also makes the leaves sticky. The sooty mold can be removed with a cloth soaked in black soap previously diluted in hot water (wait for the mixture to cool completely before using it).
Then you have to dislodge the undesirables by spraying the camellia with a house mix composed of a liter of hot water, a tablespoon of methylated spirit, a tablespoon of rapeseed oil and a tablespoon of black soap. Process once the mixture has cooled. A second spray is required two hours after the first. Thereafter, this treatment is to be applied to the shrub every 7 to 10 days from spring to early autumn if necessary.
About the iron chlorosisit is a physiological disease due to a chlorophyll deficiency identifiable by marked discoloration of adult leaves, young leaves usually remaining green. In addition, the growth of the camellia is slowed down or even stopped and the shrub does not flower.
A iron deficiency is the cause since it alters the production of chlorophyll. There are two solutions to this problem. The first is to water the camellia twice a year with water to which a spoonful of make chelate well dissolved. The second solution, much softer, is the amendment with a seaweed fertilizer once a quarter, and during the winter, place a shovelful of earth at the foot of the camellia in which 5 to 6 g of sulfur powder have been mixed.
Flowering of the camellia
The camellia blooms, depending on the species, from December to the end of March or from March to May. Depending on the variety, the flowers look like carnations, others like roses and still others like peony flowers. Scented or not, they can be single, semi-double or double, more or less large since their diameter is between 6 and 18 cm. As for the colors, they are also varied (red, white, pink, variegated).
For the camellia to retain its beauty, it is recommended to cut faded flowers As time goes by, which let’s face it, becomes a little more complicated in adult subjects who can reach more than 4 meters in height… Anyway, lovers of camellias can afford a rich collection since there are exists more than 250 species as well as tens of thousands of cultivars and hybrids. They would be very wrong to deprive themselves of it.