I have planted a magnolia and a camellia in ordinary soil instead of as I know now, ericaceous soil. will I have to replant with ericaceous soil or will feeding it weekly with ericaceous feed be o.k.
I have a camellia that is very happy in ordinary soil so perhaps the soil there is ericaceous? I don't know, I haven't tested it and that's the scientific way to know really but I haven't bothered because I have a couple of other acid liking plants that are happy where they are too in that bed.
One I have noticed that's particularly unhappy is a new dwarf rhododendron but it's in a different bed. I put some ericaceous compost around it thinking that might be what the problem is. If it doesn't buck up, I'll dig it up and put it in a container (in ericaceous compost of course) and move it nearer the camellia after it recovers.
I'd test your soil so that you can tell what you're dealing with (I didn't because the camellia is established and the other is small) but you're looking at long term - you can't go on feeding it weekly even if that's the answer!
Just my thoughts, hope it's helpful.
I planted magnolia, camellia and rhododendron in my soil. the rhodo turned yellow then brown then died. The camellia struggles, mainly because the squirrels decimate the flowers. The magnolias love it.
I think if you have alkaline soil, trying to grow plants that love acid soil is a waste of time.
Beth Chatto has the right idea... the right plant in the right place. You have to grow plants where they are best suited. Embrace your soil, don't fight it.
They are both OK in neutral soil, it doesn't need to be particularly acidic, but they won't like any lime, so it depends a lot on what your native soil is like. If it's neutral - and quite a lot of UK gardens are pretty much neutral - then as long as you use a lime free feed and mulch and don't water them with tap water (unless you live in a soft water area) they will probably both be fine.
If you live in a limestone region then you probably need to put the camellia in a pot. The magnolia may be more difficult - depends which one it is but a lot of them are rather big to keep in a pot
ETA if you go to Westonbirt arboretum (in the Cotswolds - real limestone country - you'll see lots of azaleas and rhodos growing happily in the ground. The dappled shade and deep leaf mould make them happy enough to cope with the lime. So I don't disagree with you, fidget, but its not always solely the soil type that dominates the determination of the Right Place for a given plant
Last edited: 10 April 2017 21:49:05
Camellia's & magnolia's will tolerate neutral soil, so best to test yours. Rhodos & azaleas of course like prominently acidic soils.