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Reviving a Camelia

Daryl2Daryl2 Posts: 452
We moved into our new house in May and took over a slightly neglected garden. I have been busy pruning back the overgrown shrubs and haven't really had time to think about a potted Camelia that I found at the bottom of the garden. I have been watering it but nothing else so far so I would like some advice about what to do now to help it along. It is about 3' tall and rather sparsely covered in unhealthy looking yellowish leaves. It is in a ceramic pot about 14" across. The soil seems to have washed away over the years so all that is keeping it alive at the moment is a solid ball of weeds, grass and roots. I can lift the plant out of the pot with this soil lump the size of a football. Should I lift it and clear away the old soil then repot in fresh compost or would it be better to leave it until Spring? I also have no idea whether it is hardy or not but I know that it survived the last Winter outside as the house we bought had been empty since the previous Autumn. There is plenty of room in the pot to add some more soil if that is a good temporary measure. I have some basic gardening knowledge but have never had a Camelia so any information would be much appreciated.


  • Daryl2Daryl2 Posts: 452
    Sorry about the lack of paragraph breaks in the above. I did leave some spaces in my original but they seem to have disappeared !

    Perhaps I need to leave double spaces image
  • rosemummyrosemummy Posts: 2,010

    I know very little but I' d get it in the ground in plenty of ericaceous compost water only with rainwater

  • I'd repot in, as rose mummy says, ericaceous compost.  I wouldn't put it in the ground though unless you know your soil is acid.  Choose a shady site.  

  • Daryl2Daryl2 Posts: 452
    If I repot now, should I give any winter protection?
  • YviestevieYviestevie Posts: 7,063

    I only grow camelias in the ground.  I don't have acid soil I have a neutral soil.  To keep it healthy I mulch it occasionally with ericaceous compost and try and water it with rainwater.  If I can't I add a bit of ericaceous feed.  I don't have to give them any winter protection.  As far as I'm aware the only thing you should avoid is the early morning sun as this can affect the flower buds when its frosty.

    Hi from Kingswinford in the West Midlands
  • I have two in pots.  One is hardy. The other is a little tender but only to the extent of bud damage rather than loss of plant. So it depends on what camellia it is.  Although I think most are fairly hardy - particularly if it's already survive with neglect. If concerned give some shelter (eg near house wall) and bubble wrap the pot if gets really cold.  Agree re avoiding early morning sun if can - will damage the buds if they defrost too quickly.  Once it's got some leaves back and maybe a flower (maybe too late for this years buds tho) then might be able to identify.

  • Daryl2Daryl2 Posts: 452
    Thanks everyone. I'll get a little bag of ericaceous compost and repot it then I'll bring it closer to the house so I can keep an eye on it - and enjoy it more image
  • Daryl2Daryl2 Posts: 452
    Thanks, Mike. That's very helpful information. Unfortunately at the moment I don't have a source of rainwater but I can leave some tap water to stand for a while before using it. I guess tap water is better than no water.
  • granmagranma Posts: 1,929

    I have heard that you can add something to tap water for acid loving plamts like vinegar 

    But Google it in to check out.

  • granmagranma Posts: 1,929

    If you're repotting your plant don't put it any deeper than it is now even in the garden.

    About four years ago we lost one of ours in a keen frost it was six ft high.instead of doing anything about it we left it.two years later it was depending up new shoots.this year had two flowers.we haven't even cut out the old branches.


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