Camellia

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Name: Camellia
Scientific Name: Camellia
Family: Theaceae

Soil:Rather acidic soil. Because soil here is very alkaline, I mix my own soil with some regular well-draining garden soil with pine needle, pine bark, perlit, and peat moss. On the bottom of the pot, I also put some volcanic rocks to increase water drainage.
Sun: They like sun, though southwest sun might burn their leaves. Try to place it in a place where it is safe from the afternoon sun while enjoy the full morning sun.
Water: As long as the soil has good drainage, water it often outside to keep the roots moist. Water thoroughly each time to make sure there is no dry pocket in the soil.
Fertilizer: Camellia needs a lot of fertilizer, so I was told. Before I planted, I mixed soil with some Dr. Q¡¯s Food for Acid Loving Plants.
Care: If grown on East coast, very little care is needed. They can grown happily outside without much attention. However, care must be given if they are growing outside here. To maintain acidity of soil, feed it with fertilizer for acid love plants helps.
Tips: Camellia can be tough to plant here. Hot temperature and abundant sun light are needed for it to develop flower buds. However, higher temperature in winter can led to the drop of those precious buds before they could open. For Southwest the temperature in winter fluctuates and sometime reaches above the minimum cold requirement for flowers to establish, some flower buds drop might be observed. If it is growing in a pot, try to move it to a place with less direct sun. Put it inside the house in a heated environment would surely lead to bud drop.

Description:

I wouldn't have bothered to give camellia a try except that I had witnessed a few things. A) Once, I saw a small pot of camellia in blooming was sold at a local nursery store. (Though I had not seen this plant been sold for a while, and my memory started to tell me that what I saw was something else.) B) I saw they grown into large shrubs outside my parent¡¯s house back East. C) Camellia japonica is just so pretty that I simply cannot resist.

I got mine camellia japonica 'Black Magic¡¯ from a nursery in Oregon. It is about one foot high and has very few branches. This will be my first test experiment with camellia. If I can get something growing at Oregon nursery to grown down here, I think I can rest assure in my future camellia purchases. A lot of care was given as I mixed my potting soil for it. Since it is still very small, I put it behind one of my orange shrub, hoping it will be sheltered from the blazing sun while still be able to get some sun light.

Because of the mix of sun light and coldness requirement, I dont think camellia can make a very good houseplant. It is probably better to treat it as a patio plant. It needs to be left out during winter because inside the house could get warm when heat is cracked up.

A friend of mine told me because of the alkaline contain in water here, it is better to water it with rain water. Well, only if it rains here! So the trick is to start with a slightly acidic potting soil then add a few drop of vinegar in water once a month when water the plant. This will help maintain the pH in the level camellia likes.

I will keep posting the progress of this little guy.

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