New to Camellias

olddog1213(9a-b)January 2, 2013

I am new to growing Camellias and I need information. I live in Central Florida and grow mostly Hibiscus. I have some sun and quite a bit of shade that gets 1-2 hours of sun per day.

I don't know if I should just forget my shady areas or not. I think I get enough sun in these areas but I don't know if Camellias need full sun in order to bloom or not.

Any and all information will be helpful. I just want to grow some plain ole Camellias.

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Camellias do really well in a subtropical climate. If you have a good, humous rich soil (no lime) I find they are best left on their own to do their own thing. I never prune them, though do give them a little fertilizer - wood ash - once a year after they have done flowering. They do like some shade wherever the sun is very hot, if possible, however.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 9:42PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

All plants need some sun exposure to produce blooms. While the sasanqua leaves can handle more sunlight exposure than japonica leaves, in Florida I would provide them with some afternoon shade. I have noticed that the sun here in Texas is quite hard on leaves that are exposed to a lot of sun during the worst of the summer months. Since your are further south, I would expect that your sun exposure in the summer will be slightly stronger than mine.

Shady areas that are bright due to indirect light reflecting from other surfaces (walls, driveways, etc) and dappled sun will work fine. Two hours of sun will also be fine.

I have a White By The Gate Japonica that gets limited sun and it does fine, ready to burst with blooms in a month or so. A pergola and a kitchen wall make it get direct sun only during the 11am-1pm time, with some dappled sun during the morning. The area is bright due to this indirect light effect.

Below is a link to the American Camellia Society with useful information.

Touch base with Bob Wines (Bob Wines Nursery in Ocala
(352) 629-5766) for more local hints. He might be able to tell you until what time of the day does he let camellias get sun over there. I usually notice signs of stress and sun scald if they get sun thru/past lunch time (11am-1pm ish).


Here is a link that might be useful: Planting Camellias

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 4:41AM
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Leu Gardens in Orlando apparently has 250+ varieties of camellia (2,000 plants). You can actually tour the gardens using Google street view-,-81.357027&spn=0.000009,0.004823&hq=Harry+P.+Leu+Gardens&t=m&z=18&layer=c&cbll=28.566218,-81.356984&panoid=Cnv7oSabrqscbeufxq33wQ&cbp=12,160.66,,0,10.01

If that link doesn�t work, the address is 1920 North Forest Avenue, Orlando, FL 32803.

I could only see a few camellias in bloom, but plenty of buds (and some camellias covered in spanish moss).

The printable map on their website shows where the camellia collections are located in the garden-

Here is a link that might be useful: Google street view of Leu Gardens

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 5:31PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Now that was a weird experience. I ended putting some arrows or circles on the pictures or zooming into a bush and could not 'get out' of that. Is there a link that says how the google map thing works? I want to check it out again without making a mess. Sad to say, I learned about the gardens after my now deceeased aunt left Ocala. Wish I had known about the gardens while she lived there!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 9:05PM
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That street view was wonderful. Looking forward to checking it out later when there is more in bloom. Thanks

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 4:24AM
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Thanks to all of you for the info.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 7:13AM
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Luis - If you can see the camellia plant, then the link probably works. This is a link to the "Ruined Arch" at Kew Gardens-,-0.293015&spn=0.000003,0.002411&hq=kew+gardens&t=h&z=19&layer=c&cbll=51.473814,-0.292979&panoid=g8Jd584zAN4MTt3gPMLSMQ&cbp=12,357.68,,0,0

If you put your cursor on the arch opening, then you should see an oval shape. You can click there to advance, or use your arrow keys to go forward, backwards, or turn around 360 degrees (arrow keys work with internet explorer, but not google chrome). If you see an oval shape with a magnifying glass in it, then it will only zoom when you click on it.

p.s., I couldn't locate the area in Kew Gardens that has camellias (plenty of rhododendrons, though).

Here is a link that might be useful: Ruined Arch on Google Streetview

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 5:19PM
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I grow mine in pots and move them around to find the perfect spot before planting. Mine like the filtered light under a tree best. If it's too dark or shady they won't bloom. If it's too sunny the leaves will burn. You don't want to let them have hot midday sun if you can help it. I have seen big mature plants in that kind of sun but I have not seen younger plants like it at all. I feed mine cottonseed meal which is a gentle food and some all purpose balanced food like grow power half strength but only in the spring when they are in active growth. You will like these plants. They give so much joy for so little care.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 12:11AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Try camellia sasanquas in more sunny spots.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 6:50AM
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nolefan_2006(FL 9a-ish formerly 8b)

I grow tons of japonicas and sasanquas in Jacksonville. I have planted just under 100 in two years. All are in full sun. The home came with a few 60 year old japonicas in full sun that are thriving. The japonicas do take a beating in the Florida sun, southern exposure in full sun all day. But all have lived. They haven't wilted, but I do water them well twice a week in the summer. The one advantage of more sun is that internodal spacing is shorter resulting in a fuller prettier plant IMHO.

The sasanquas definitely look better by the end of summer. Tolerate the sun better. If your japonicas survive the first 3 years in full sun they should do fine and live. It can take 3 years to know for certain.

But, I have a habit of forcing the wrong plant in the wrong place. Mophead hydrangeas in full southern exposure sun all day. Yes they wilt by the end of the day, but perk up with a short period of evening drip irrigation.

I will say that my best friend's mopheads are in a similar setting and after 3 years he no longer has to irrigate them in the afternoons, because they are fully established and no longer wilt. One more year to go for me....

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 11:50PM
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The cultivar "Professor Sargent" is supposed to tolerate full sun better than other japonica varieties. I have one in a spot that is almost full sun all day in spring and fall, and enjoys a little afternoon shade in summer. It seems to be happy.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:34AM
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