Let it Grow: Recapping a years lessons in camellias

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Whoa! We have been discussing camellias all year!

So, let us wrap up the camellia talk by recapping the last four articles.

-Test your soil in the desired planting location first.

-Choose the type and colors of the camellias you want to plant according to the location in your yard, the amount of light they&8217;ll get in a day, the amount of water needed to keep them alive, the hydration conditions they will get in their planted location and how well-drained the soil is.

-Dig the planting hole twice the size as the root ball and back fill as necessary.

-Add at least 30 percent composted organic material to the existing soil.

-Don&8217;t fertilize your camellia the first year.

-After the plant is established, use a low NPK balanced fertilizer and only fertilize during prime growing periods, 08-08-08 should be fine.

-Keep your plant well watered, especially during the establishing period.

-Mulch with no more than two inches of mulch and keep mulch at least an inch or two away from the trunk to avoid those pesky pathogens.

-Camellias prefer an acidic soil with a pH of 5.0 to 6.5. Your soil test will tell you the pH of your soil.

Propagation is relatively simple. On a scale of one to 10 I&8217;d give it a difficulty rating of seven. (Eight being difficult; nine being a project to get hands on experience before trying and a 10 means I need to go back to school for a while!)

You&8217;ll find different techniques for each method. In a previous article on camellia propagation I quoted what works for me.

If you&8217;d like advice from other experts, I recommend the publication ANR-202 published by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

It&8217;s co-authored by my good friend Dr. Ken Tilt among other authorities and is easily available online at www.aces.edu, search word: camellias.

Lastly, as I have a cup of Camellia sinensis with cream and sugar, I want to wish each of you a pleasant and green Groundhog Day!

For more on these and other gardening tips log on to Home Grown Tomatoes at http://HGTradio.net