Attractive, showy flowers once a mainstay for cut flowers and corsages have long been used as container plants. They are slow growing and flower in the wintertime.
Successful Growing Tips
1. Use fertilizer only at the beginning of active growth.
2. For feeding use a top dressing of cottonseed meal in the late winter or early spring at the beginning of new growth.
3. Water when soil surface appears dry and then thoroughly saturate the root ball.
4. Give partial sun year-round.
5. Give 30-40°F nighttime temperatures during the winter. Hot nights during the wintertime will cause “bud blast.” Up to 59°F is okay.
6. Give a slightly acidic soil between (soil ph between 4.8 - 5.8)
7. Pinch back young cuttings to get full and bushy growth, although this discourages flowering early on.
8. 1 tablespoon of Epsom Salts/ one gallon of water given twice a year supplies their magnesium requirements.
Container Grown - They are slow growers. Patience is needed to bring them into fullness of culture. Pruning slows the flowering process, however, when they’re young pinch the tips prior to the flush of growth. One-to-two flushes of growth occur per year.
• Partial sun- dappled or some direct light.
• Fertilizer- sensitive to excessive fertilizer. Only feed at the beginning of growth. A handful of cottonseed meal is an excellent fertilizer because camellias are acid loving and it’s gentle.
• Dry soil a little between waterings, susceptible to root disease. Water with epsom salt twice a year (1 tsp/gallon of water).
• Clay pots helpful.
• Nighttime temperatures below 60°F and above freezing during the winter are needed for bud formation.
Grown Outside in the North - Plant in partial sun in a protective spot, spray with “Wilt Proof” in fall. Don’t plant in a southern exposure, otherwise bud blast may occur in early spring.