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Will Camellias or Viburnums survive in a narrow strip of soil?

Hi All I have a strip of soil about 12-13 inches wide that is currently planted with a row of 7ft tall yews. To the left of the strip is a decking area, to the right a stone-paved shed area.  I want to replace the yews with some flowering shrubs and thinking of either camellias or viburnums. However, would this strip be too narrow for these to thrive? As they won’t be restricted by walls there is room both sides of the strip for the branches to spread outwards, but the point where they enter the ground is obviously narrow. Or if camellias or viburnums won’t like this can anyone suggest any alternative shrubs that would be suitable?  I need the eventual height of the shrubs to be at least 5 to 6ft to act as a natural 'wall' for the decking area and provide a screen from the shed area.  Any suggestions much appreciated… image


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,981

    Camellias need a bit of shade from morning sun - especially in late winter when frost can damage emerging buds as the sun hits them. They also need plenty of water so if it's a dry, exposed site they're probably not suitable. There are lots of Viburnums so there's bound to be one that will suit. Choisya ternata is another possibility if it's not too exposed.  Escallonia if it's sunny and well drained. Can you give us a little more info about the aspect and soil conditions? That will help with other suggestions. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Good point - forgot to mention this. It faces West and is fairly sheltered from wind, mainly gets direct sun from later in the afternoon onwards so Camellias won't get fried in the mornings. Soil though I don't know as the yew trunks are fairly tightly packed into the space. Elsewhere in the garden there are rhododendrons, azaleas, pieris and a huge camellia that all seem to be doing OK so I suspect the soil generally in the garden may be on the acidic side although I don't actually know. (I must get one of those soil testing kits!)
    Hadn't thought of escallonia but that's actually not a bad idea - the white-flowering variety would look nice there too image 

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,981

    A word of caution re the white Escallonia - it's not too hardy. I'm in central Scotland- quite exposed garden at about 400ft and the one I planted about 18 months ago turned up it's toes. Winter wet is the main enemy and we just had too much of that for it. I've had the pink one before, but I'm not keen on the colour so I tried the white one. 

    Camellias would be nice if you can keep them well watered at this time of year when the buds for next year start forming. Your soil may be neutral - mine is - and it's a common myth that all the shrubs you already  have need acid soil. They don't - they just don't like alkaline soil. Watering with rainwater is a good idea though - we have no need to worry about that here  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Many thanks Fairygirl and Verdun for your suggestions - I think the Camellias may win out in the end (once the yews are dug up - now that's going to be a different challenge altogether!). Really like the look of the Nandina too though -  it's not a plant I'm familiar with (am still a relative newbie to gardening!) so am going to have a look at that one too.  Thank you so much image

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