How to plant and prune a camellia?
Plant a camellia in the garden
Planting a camellia sold in a container can, in theory, take place all year round, although it is preferable to carry out the operation at the beginning of autumn. This floral shrub likes neutral or slightly acidic, well-drained soils. When planting, mix garden soil with a little potting soil and water thoroughly to facilitate rooting. If you live in an area with soil that is low in iron or laden with limestone, the camellia is likely to be affected by chlorosis causing yellowing or discoloration of the leaves. A phenomenon against which you can fight by regularly applying fertilizer suitable for this type of shrub. In cold regions with frequent frosts, remember to mulch the foot of the camellia whose superficial roots are very sensitive to low temperatures. Mulching can be done with dead leaves or, even better, with pine bark, which has the advantage of retaining humidity during the summer and preventing the proliferation of weeds.
Plant a potted camellia for the terrace
The camellia can also be planted in a pot to embellish the terrace of the house or the balcony of an apartment. However, it cannot be placed indoors during spring and summer since it needs sunlight for its flowering. Watering should be regular, but not excessive, to keep the soil moist. It is essential that the water does not stagnate at the level of the roots, as this would inevitably lead to the death of the shrub. Don’t forget to pierce the bottom of the pot and create a small bed of gravel or clay pebbles to provide drainage. The camellia can stay up to three years in the same pot, but must eventually
What is the right location for the camellia?
If a lack of sun can harm the growth of the camellia, an excess of direct sun can also have very unfortunate consequences by favoring the appearance of brownish spots on the leaves, for example. Therefore, the ideal location for the camellia is a space allowing it to receive the rays of the sun during the morning, while being in the shade of large trees or a hedge during the afternoon. It must also be protected from prevailing winds.
When can you prune a camellia?
A priori, the camellia does not require any pruning during growth, unless you want to rebalance the shape of the shrub or reduce its foliage. To do this, it is necessary to wait for the end of flowering, which differs according to the variety: in spring, autumn or winter. In addition, you can take the opportunity to propagate camellias using cuttings or air layering, the second option generally giving better results. During the first years, the camellia will require recurrent watering, especially during periods of high heat. You can make its maintenance less tedious by installing an automatic watering system.
What to do against parasites?
The camellia is a very resistant shrub, but remains susceptible to attack by mealybugs and aphids. Parasites which themselves create related problems by encouraging the arrival of sooty mold, a fungus which develops on the honeydew deposited by mealybugs and which takes the appearance of a layer of brown-black dust. If necessary, the application of an appropriate treatment (which one?) in January should solve both problems simultaneously.