The Q&A Archives: Nutty Camellia

Question: I have a camellia bush that bears 'fruit'. When the small green fruits dry up, they split open leaving a beautifully shaped hull with a small nut-like seed inside. My neighbor has a similar camellia but his gets no 'fruit'. What makes mine so 'nutty'?

Answer: What you're finding are seeds from the camellia. Yours is just extremely happy and fertile. You can plant these seeds, with a little preparation, and produce a new camellia cultivar with characteristics from both parents. The seeds ripen in autumn and should be germinated then. They will need scarification (nick the outer seed coat so water can enter and help the seed to swell). Or, you can drop the seed pod into simmering water, and let stand overnight to soften the outer seedcoat. Then plant in theground and see what happens. If your neighbor's camellia is flowering and not setting fruit, it's probably a different cultivar from yours, even though it has similar colored flowers. Japonica and Sasanqua are the most prolific of the camellia family. Share some seeds with him and you'll both have a new variety.

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