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Camellia doing badly

I keep my camellia in a large pot (50cm diameter), filled entirely with ericaceous potting mix (possibly entirely with ericaceous compost or soil, I can't remember which I bought. It was from a website though which claimed this was the ideal setting for camellias), on a sheltered doorstep with a large amount of southerly aspect to it. It's doing badly. It produced quite a few beautiful white flowers in season (March?), however they were browning, round the outer petals practically as soon as they came out. The leaves have been yellowing ever since, the plant is starting to splay outwards. I've put a bark chip layer on the soil-compost surface. The pot does not receive rain, and I water with quite a low amount of water (1 litre?) every other day or so. 

Any ideas gratefully received. I assume the plant's getting too much sun amongst other things.  


  • edhelkaedhelka Posts: 2,350
    How big is the plant? I would guess the issue is not enough water unless the plant is small. 1l of water can't thoroughly wet a 50cm pot full of compost. I think you've been only wetting the top layer and the roots deeper down are dry.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,739
    Southerly isn't good. Doorstep usually isn't good either.
    They're basically woodland plants, needing shelter from sun, and a damper atmosphere.
    If they're east facing, they're vulnerable to frosting and then too rapid defrosting, which damages buds and flowers - especially the pale ones. 
    Collect rainwater for them too, unless you live in an area which has softer water.
    Lack of water in late summer prevents proper formation of the buds too, which can also cause a problem at this time of year. I'd agree with @edhelka - you probably aren't watering correctly either. 
    Compost alone is no use - they need a soil based medium if they're in pots long term, and you need a big pot for them. To keep them thriving in pots isn't easy either. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Bobby SprayBobby Spray Posts: 21
    camellias don't do so well in pots in my experience. I have several in my garden and one in a pot which is always struggling. Put it in the ground if you can.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,739
    I would agree @Bobby Spray . They rarely do well, although there's a house not far from me which has one and it's looked ok when I've gone past. Not sure how long they've had it there though. 
    You can prune them to keep them 'contained', but I've never seen the point of that. It's crucial to get the timing right too.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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