Pacific Coast Gardening forum: All about Camellia!

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Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
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fiat
Feb 20, 2015 3:43 PM CST
Hi, Everyone. As mentioned in a "What's blooming in ..." thread, I am to start my new season project: the Camellia (specifically the Camellia Sasanqua 'Mondel', Pink a Boo). Since I am still a beginning grower (2nd year) and know little about Camellia, will need all you seasoned growers/gardeners' help and advice especially the ones I know have lot experience and passion on the plant: Sue, Zuzu, Liz, Sherry, etc. Thanks in advance.

First question: when will be the best time to plant (in pot, outdoor in open patio)? The local supplier (Westurf nursery) sell 5-gal plant for $58 (about double price compared to HD's non-special 5-gal Camellias) and recommend early summer to plant. I am thinking late spring or earlier. Which month you would suggest?

Since the pot I plan to use is big (18"W x 18"H) and especially tall, will it do good to put a layer of gravel/rock at bottom of the pot? How high the rock layer can be (3" or 5" or ..)? Other than pot soil mix what else media may be needed (something to cover soil surface)?


I assume these info (and any else you deem necessary) would kick me to a, hopefully, good start for now and sure many more Qs will follow along the way as my project progresses later.

Besides my Camellia project, I hope all of you Camellia lovers (or not) could share your wonderful experience, comments, insight, and passion about the plant here (all pic, new or old are welcome). Thank you all.
Thumb of 2015-02-20/fiat/979752

If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
Region: California Plant Database Moderator Roses Irises Clematis Garden Photography
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Calif_Sue
Feb 22, 2015 12:59 AM CST

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I have never grown a camellia so can't offer any advice. I do know that you should use potting mix for acid-loving plants like Azaleas. They grow all around town here, some oldies are 15-20 feet high. I know @zuzu grows some.
I found this link from the American Camellia Society for growing them in pots.
https://www.americancamellias.com/care-culture-resources/gen...
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
Feb 22, 2015 1:23 AM CST

Moderator

Hi, Fiat. I have many camellias, but I've never grown one in a container, so I can't give you any advice on that, but I have moved camellias several times. When my house was being remodeled a couple of times, I had to move several that were in the way of the planned additions. I also moved camellias when some old trees were taken down and all of the shade plants suddenly had too much sun. This happened at various times of the year, and I never noticed any difference in the condition of the transplanted camellias, whether they were moved in spring, summer, fall, or winter.

I have a few camellias growing in sunny spots in my garden, but all of the transplanted ones were moved into varying degrees of shade, from dappled shade to full shade. I think lots of shade and lots of water are essential to newly planted or transplanted camellias in our California climate.
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Feb 22, 2015 10:27 AM CST
And I'm no help on camellias at all.....I am only an inheritor of the two that were on the property when we bought it and one small one that was given to me...The only thing I would add is that if I were putting one into a container, I would make it as large as possible and I would put nothing but potting soil into it.....it if needs to be in a container, it needs as much soil as possible in there for its roots and nothing like any 'filler' in the bottom, there are varying ideas on the idea of things such as packing peanuts, etc. in the bottoms of containers. I think it may be in "Tapla's" writings on potting soil mixes for containers where he gives the technical reasons for not using fillers at the bottoms. I need to look that up....
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Feb 22, 2015 10:35 AM CST
Regarding Al's (tapla) views on soil for container growing...
http://cubits.org/containergardeningwith/thread/view/1084/
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
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fiat
Feb 22, 2015 7:58 PM CST
Thanks, Sue & Zuzu & Cherry. Suddenly a lot of good useful info! The article from AC society provides the basics of growing Camellia in pot: container size, soil mix, and fert. Zuzu's point on 'shade' need for Camellia surprisingly answered my next question. Al's discussion on pot soil in scientific view surprised me (a scientist) with the 'PWT' scenario: a layer of pine bark at pot bottom is a no, no to do, which is contrary to the suggestion from the ACS article! This is a real interesting education to me b4 starting Camellia project. So far no info on 'water Camellia' yet (though container/soil drainage requirement has been much addressed/emphasized). Hope and expect more good info and advice will keep coming... Thanks

Correction: Zuzu has given advice on watering. Thanks
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
[Last edited by fiat - Feb 22, 2015 8:01 PM (+)]
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Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Feb 22, 2015 8:54 PM CST
In our northern coastal climate, the camellias are in the sun at our house...south side. Most everything I'm used to having to plant in shade can be planted in full sun here....
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
Clematis Irises Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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zuzu
Feb 22, 2015 9:00 PM CST

Moderator

The biggest and healthiest camellias I ever grew were in my San Francisco garden in the Sunset District, where the sun rarely shone and the fog kept all of the plants "watered" well.

Sebastopol and Modesto are quite different from the coast, however. We have to make an effort to grow the plants that grew like weeds in San Francisco -- fuchsias, camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons. etc.
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
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fiat
Feb 22, 2015 11:28 PM CST
My small patio is a square open (uncovered) side yard. It is confined by 4 sides: a short wall facing west, a short wood fence facing north, a large floor window facing east, and another floor window facing south. Both short wall and fence allow morning and southern sunlight into part of patio and house (through floor windows), but there are big trees outside the patio. Two spots are in my mind for my Camellia: (1) in front of (outside) the window facing south (bit left side, my Jasmine will take right side), or (2) the opposite site (inside the fence facing north). Spot1 will give the plant much more sunlight through the day, but spot2 will provide lot shade. Oh, may be the center spot be considered? There are three large jade plants taking middle space of the patio. Any suggestion? (seems Zuzu would use spot2? and Sherry spot1? How contradictory?)
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
Clematis Irises Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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zuzu
Feb 22, 2015 11:31 PM CST

Moderator

Sherry's on the coast, so her conditions are vastly different from yours. Spot 2 should be the best for Modesto.
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
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fiat
Feb 23, 2015 12:32 AM CST
Thanks, Zuzu. Actually, I like spot2 better because at spot1 it will receive lot sunlight and block many plants I have from the light they need.
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
Name: Marie Kapuscinski
New Jersey (Zone 7b)
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makap
May 14, 2015 9:58 AM CST
I have one that I planted on the north side of my home. It is not doing well there. I need a spot to move it. I am in South NJ. Any ideas on the needs of them here? Sun or more shade. The south side I think would get too hot and burn it. I have more shade on each side of my yard due to the woods.
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
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fiat
Jun 10, 2015 4:41 PM CST
Hi, Finally, got this Camellia Sasanqua 'Mondel' (Pink-A-Boo @ Monrovia) from a local nursery. I am really excited and hopeful that this year's main project will lead to a wonderful, fragrant blooming in winter. Here are pic before and after repotting: (appreciate your comments)

Thumb of 2015-06-10/fiat/a11f79
Thumb of 2015-06-10/fiat/e7f4eb

If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Jun 10, 2015 5:08 PM CST
Oh, I think that's going to be a pretty one. I do like the pale pinks, really don't like the two camellias that were already here...gaudy colors.
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
Image
fiat
Jun 10, 2015 5:13 PM CST
Thanks for the good wish, Sherry.
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
Image
wcgypsy
Jun 10, 2015 7:14 PM CST
I'm glad that you got a good sized one to take up its rightful spot right away.....
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
Region: California Plant Database Moderator Roses Irises Clematis Garden Photography
Cottage Gardener Keeper of Poultry Hummingbirder Bee Lover Butterflies Birds
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Calif_Sue
Jun 10, 2015 7:29 PM CST

Moderator

That's what I was thinking, it's a good size already!
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Hand sewn wares and vintage finds in my Etsy store. Summer Song Cottage
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
Image
wcgypsy
Jun 10, 2015 7:32 PM CST
Yes, something to establish the tone and plant around. It would take quite a long time for a small one to get that large and sometimes we just need to "get things going".....right now.....lol...I need to get an at least 6' tree for that very reason.
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
Image
fiat
Jun 10, 2015 11:15 PM CST
It's a 5 gal size. Funny thing is that the woman (worker) at the nursery set out 4 pots of this Camellia for me to choose. I was kind leaning to the tall one, but she reminded me that if you take the short one with large "waist" it look more "full" in size! Knowing it's true, still couldn't forgo the tall one (with a fair side waist). By the way, I know that if I change my mind, I can always trim top off and make it grow to side more... So that's my pick and I would love it to grow even taller. Rolling my eyes. Rolling my eyes.
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
Image
fiat
Jun 10, 2015 11:31 PM CST
Oh, I also got a 2-C.F. bag of organic acid planting mix (for $8) and it took more than half of the bag to pot this Camellia (with the original rootball). I estimated the new pot would be 3 times big to the 5-gal plastic one. Does it sound right? I hope it will live and grow in the new pot for a long while?
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat

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