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Camellia's need help from me

Hi All,

I have planted 5 camellia sasanqua 2 years ago , Full Sun ( 35C summers / 20C Winters ) and i have had different growth rates between all 5 of them...

I have also noticed that the soil has dropped in each planter box which indicates that the soil when watered is running back in to the rocks behind..

My question is can i take the Camellia's out , fix the cavities in the wall ( ie - Expanda foam in to the wall joints ) and then replace the Camellia's ...

I am a green fingered novice so any criticism , help and advise will be received gratefully..:'( 


  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,601
    Hello, welcome to the forum. I think your camellias are suffering from stress in several ways. I find that they can cope with full sun but they need deep, moist soil with cool roots. Your containers are relatively shallow and will heat up in the sunlight, dry out and possibly overheat the roots. So I think it might be a case of the wrong plant for the situation, I'm afraid. You could remove them and top up the soil but remember, they must be able to drain. 
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,554
    edited February 2020
    I agree.  They look starved, baked and thirsty.

    Camellias are naturally large shrubs but very suited to container growth as long as the container is a) large enough, b) filled with good quality ericaceous compost c) watered regularly especially from July to November when they producing and growing their flower buds and d) regularly fed in the growing season because planting composts only have enough food to sustain plants for 90 days max.   After tha they are depending on good care from you.

    I have just the one in this new - to us - garden at the mo.  Summer high so far 44C in the shade and -8C lowest so far in winter.   I bought it 3 years ago as a 30cm high baby.  It is in a 60cm high and wide round, glazed ceramic pot and is watered daily in hot spells and fed regularly with a good dollop of slow release general fertiliser in spring and then several waterings of tomato feed.   It is now a metre high and flowering its socks off since early December.  It will be going out into the garden just as soon as OH digs my new bed.

    If you can't plant yours out I would leave them as they are and just make sure they are regularly watered and fed.   Do not use tap water if it is hard and may contain chemicals like chlorine.  Use rainwater.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thx 4 the replies...

    I will take out the 2 sad looking ones and replace with something like Chinese dwarf bamboo then take out the 3 healthier but sad ones and fill in the back of the wall with foam / concrete so water stays in the soil longer.. I will then replant them and place horse poo into and on top of the soil with sugar cane mulch on top.... I have a watering system on at present for 20 minutes every second day as i thought that would of been suffice..

    Thx Again
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,554
    If it's a drip feed, no, not enough.   I suspect all your plants are recoverable given decent care but maybe not in those hot pots.

    Beware of horse-poo.  if it's too rich and not well enough composted it can burn the roots.   Better to give them a big drink then lift out the plant with all its root ball and replenish the compost below with good quality, fresh ericaceous compost then put the plants back with a top up of more compost if needed.  Water well and then mulch with chipped bark or gravel or chipped slate.

    Give an annual top dressing of slow release fertiliser for flowering plants and then a weekly liquid feed with tomato food between daily waterings in hot weather.    make sure there is enough drainage so the roots don't sit in stagnant water and rot.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thx for the info..

  • ateese1ateese1 Posts: 5
    edited February 2020
    Thank guy's for the tips,

    I decided that 2 out of the 5 looked a bit sad so i removed them and placed Chinese Dwarf in the pots so that i get a bit of cover over the wall quickley and this will break up the remaining camellia's making them more of a feature within the Chinese Dwarfs...
    Also as the Chinese Dwarf is very bushy it will offer shade to the sides of the Camellia's therefore cutting down on Full Sun each day... I Hope  ;)

    I am still unsure as to why the uneven growth rate based on the following,

    1 :  Sasanqua Camellia's are sold for full sun.

    2 : Pot surrounds made of 75mm Hebal Block -Insulated Panel and then rendered ( This would make it cool in the soil and it was with the 60mm mulch on top... Also the soil was pretty much perfectly damp / wet )

    3 : The soil that was used was ( Osmocote Professional Rose Gardenia Azalea & Camellia Mix )

    4 : I removed the decorative wood chip mulch and took some pics of the soil so that you can see.. ( sorry for the chips still present but it would of taken all night otherwise ).

    5 : I could still see evidence of the Osmocote slow release fertiliser pellets / balls in the soil.

    6 :  The root system was approx 300mm diameter and 250mm deep and the roots were moist, bendy and healthy looking.

    I will leave the other 3 camellia's until winter ( If you can call 18 - 22C a winter ) and lift them up but in the meantime i will add some horse compost and and keep watering every 2nd day for 20mins until halfway through fall when i will back the water off to 10mins every 3rd day...

    Lets hope it is food they are needing as it appears all the other worries were answered when i took out the sad pair..


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,554
    I think you need more depth and more feed.   Just because you can see the remains of the Osmocote capsules doesn't mean they still have food value for your plants.  Try using a different slow release fertiliser such as pelleted chicken/horse/cow manure.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Will do Obelixx....
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