The Q&A Archives: Kramer's Supreme Camellia as indoor plant

Question: What special care should I give this plant growing it inside here in Maine. I plan to put it outside in warmer weather. Which is the best window, and how should I prune it and when. Thank you.

Answer: This camellia (Camellia japonica Kramer's Supreme) will need a cool winter chilling period to set buds (no lower than 35 degrees indoors) and then continuing cool nighttime temperatures (about 55 degrees maximum) to bloom. A bright east window should be fine providing it is cool enough. This plant often fails as a houseplant because our homes are too warm -- they tend to do better in cooler conservatory settings.

These shrubs grow very slowly so pruning should not be needed very often. If needed, remove broken or badly crossing branches and possibly some of the lowest branches if that would lead to a more pleasing overall shape. The best time to prune is right after it blooms. If you cut it back too much all at once, it may not bloom the next year so prune with caution.

Take care not to overwater or overfertilize, this is naturally a slow grower and it is sensitive to buildup of fertilizer salts in the soil. Water as needed to keep the soil slightly moist, never soggy or saturated. To know if you need to water, check down into the soil with your finger.

Enjoy your camellia!

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