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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can large Camellia specimens be transplanted?

A. Large camellias specimens, because of their complex root system, are not easily transplanted. They should be prepared in advance  by compacting  their roots. To do that,  in early spring you should dig a circular trench around the plant to cut the  roots, roughly with the same  diameter as the plant canopy, and fill it with peat.  A moderate pruning will help the plant to sustain the  trauma. In the following year, you can move the plant, possibly by wrapping roots with a net. Make  sure that the camellia never dries out during preparation and, also, for 2 years after transplanting. To keep the reduced root system consistent with the canopy you might need to gently prune the camellia after transplanting. As you see, transplanting is not for  beginners and an expert gardener is needed. 

Q. Is it true you shouldn't plant Camellias facing east or north?

A. No, but in cold climates, try to avoid east-facing positions where the early morning sunshines directly on to blooms on frosty spring mornings. North facing is fine for some varieties as long as they are not also heavily shaded by trees

Q. How tall will my camellias grow?

A. Most camellias will eventually grow to between 8ft and 20ft tall if left to their own devices. There are exceptions which will only reach 4-6ft high. Ask your nursery for advice on the best variety for your needs.

Q. My water is alkaline. I save rainwater but sometimes it runs out. Can I use tap water?

Yes. ANY water is better than none. Drying out is the greater evil - and remember that when it rains, many plants in containers actually receive very little as it bounces off the foliage onto the surrounding ground.

Q. Why are the leaves turning yellow?

A. It is possible that your soil is too alkaline for good camellia growth, or it may be that the roots are standing in water. Alternatively, your camellia may just need feeding. The final reason may be because your camellia requires shade and is planted in full sun, which bleaches the leaves.

Q. Why are the flower buds dropping off?

A. This can be due to a variety of reasons:
The plant may have been either too wet or too dry
Extreme weather conditions, flluctuation from warm and wet to very cold and frosty
Natural thinning of some buds, when the plant has produced too many for it to support
Overfeeding, most likely too late in the season
They may not be dropping at all. Look for vertebrate pests such as mice or birds

Q. What can I do to stop flowers going brown and unsightly before they are over?

A. In cold climates, this is usually caused by frost, wind battering or prolonged wet conditions. A bit of deadheading will tidy things up, then enjoy the new buds as they open.
Another cause could be Petal Blight. There is no chemical control as yet, but good housekeeping, removing infected flowers, will help.

Q. What is causing brown marks and spotting on the leaves?

A. This can be due to weather damage, eg frost, wind or very hot sun, especially in poorly ventilated greenhouses

Q. The tips and edges of the leaves are turning brown. Why?

A. These are classic symptoms of over feeding. Water well to flush the excess nutrients. If all the leaves drop, do not throw the plant out straightaway. It may recover and produce new shoots once the chemical balance between root and soil has been restored.

Q. My camellia is looking sad and dropping some leaves. Should I feed it?

A. Definitely not! This is a bit like giving a very sick person a 3 course meal! First find out whats wrong and treat accordingly before feeding again



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