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Care label missing! Help please!

BerkleyBerkley Posts: 428


I received this lovely camellia as a gift yesterday - but the label is missing... it is in a 19cm plastic pot, inside a decorative metal bucket ... I'd love to plant it in a terracotta pot outside in the New Year ... but will it be OK in its present pot to stand in a heavier one on our patio? Obviously, I'll make sure it doesn't get waterlogged (no holes in metal bucket).


  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,699

    Any chance of getting a close up picutre of the leaves or an un-opened bud? The way it's growing looks more like an Azalea/Rhododendron. Either way, whether it is a Camellia or Azalea, if you leave it outside, it's best out of the bucket because of the lack of drainage holes. Or you could drill some in. They will all prefer rain water which you could collect.

    Longterm, best to pot into a larger sized pot. Keep it against a warm wall as it's probably been growing in a very warm situation for a while.

  • You have been given some good advice Berkley. Your plant does look lovely, but as suggested already, it has been forced to flower in time for Christmas, nothing wrong with that but perhaps don't expect it to flower for Christmas every year!

    We have a number of established and a few new camellias in our garden. Ideally a camellia should be planted out in the garden, they are naturally large shrubs although if you keep them pruned, little and often perhaps once a year soon after flowering  they will be more manageable and at a size you are happy with.

    I agree - don't move it whilst in flower, but once the flowers have faded and fallen off, then for sure put it in a larger pot with good drainage holes and water well. But if at all possible plant it directly into the ground with plenty of room for growth.  I think you can buy special acidic growing medium from a good Garden Centre, which will give this plant a good start. Keep watering through the summer at least once a week and feed from time to time. New fresh green imageimageshoots will appear soon after the flowers have dropped. New buds will appear towards autumn ready to flower again next winter.  However don't worry if not many buds/flowers appear, it may take a couple of years to establish after you have moved it to it's permanent place.

    Incidentally there are thousands of varieties of Camellia on the market - these two bushes/trees in our garden are over 120 years old.  We have six, all different colours.  One thing that disappoints me about Camellias is that they are very low on insect/bird/bee value, although birds do like nesting in them and they are evergreen too.

  • I agree with Borderline that it looks like an azalea - I've got one just the same, though not a standard, that I bought or week or so ago.

    If so, it will be an Indian azalea, which is not fully hardy.  Don't put it outside at this time of year or you will lose it.

    Mine was completely potbound and needed a good soaking to stop it wilting, I intend to repot it into a bigger pot as soon as I get a moment, using a mix of JI, ordinary mpc and a bit of grit. They don't seem as fussy about it being acidic as other azalea species. It might be worth including a stick as additional  support for the stem in case of accident.

    They make good houseplants for a bright windowsill, not too near a radiator, and avoid hot sun through the glass. They need quite a lot of water with all that foliage - check whether the compost is still damp to the touch or wait till the petals just begin to droop. My last one lasted for years, getting repotted into ever larger pots and flowered every year for weeks on end.Sadly at last it got overheated on its annual holiday in the greenhouse and I lost it.

  • It looks a passing resemblance to Camellia 'October Magic' which I believe is a semi- dwarfing variety. If that's the case it won't get much higher than about 4 ft. X 4 ft. high and wide. It's also early flowering which could account for the great display you've got currently. Impossible to be sure either way but the leaves look more camellia to me and the one bud I can half see does too. I wish I could grow the camellia in the pictures above, sadly not a chance with my soil. Pots only, oh well ! 

  • BerkleyBerkley Posts: 428


    Don't know whether this helps, Borderline - but I would like to know if my plant is a camellia or azalea ...thank you to all of you for your advice, information and advice. I found it very helpful.

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,699

    Hi Berkley, many thanks for posting a photograph again. It's definitely not a Camellia. I'm no expert with Azalea/Rhododendrons, but checked again after your new photos and believe Buttercupday's ID is correct.

    They are probably Rhododendron Simsii. Indian Azaleas, the common name. Not hardy at all. Apologies for the wrong care instructions. At this time of year, best kept indoors but in a cool damp condition. Avoid watering from the tap, so try to collect rain water. 

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