Hydroculture Camelias and Establishing new roots and leaves

HydroMindFebruary 24, 2014

Hi Camelia planters,

I am living in China and last week I ordered 3 Camelia seedlings over the internet from a company here (they are BiLuoChun tea plants http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biluochun ). I really enjoy the tea so I wanted to see what the plants were like. I also have many indoor hydroculture projects on the go - a planted aquarium and various house plants growing completely in water.

The seedlings I ordered were apparently 1 year old, but they look older to me, which isn't a big problem. They arrived late due to the delivery service being terribly disorganized, and so they had been in the dark, with muddy roots wrapped in clingfilm for 6 days by the time they reached me - something I am very upset about, but anyway, I still want to give it a try. There was stil quite a bit of moisture around the roots so that was okay. They also arrived without any leaves so I'm hoping they have enough internal reserves to send out new roots.

I soaked all three for a couple of hours before potting them. Two of the bushes I am attempting to convert to hydroculture and another I have planted in loamy soil with decent drainage lower in the pot, but I was a little short of soil so I added a layer of clay mud to the top which I wanted to coat some of the rootball emerging above the soil surface with so that it didn't dry out too quickly. I am aware that my resources and conditions are less than ideal, but I really thought the seedlings would be a lot smaller.

I have 3 main questions for anyone who may be able to help in the slightest:

1) Do you think 6 days inside a box without any leaves or soil/water, but wrapped in clingfilm would have done any serious damage to the seedlings - severely damaging any chances of them surviving even in optimum growing conditions? I hear that they are hardy plants which can be pruned bare.

2) Is there a better way to convert them to hydroculture so that one can see their roots than the route I am taking (see photos)? Much of their rootballs had been damaged which I hear is good for encouraging water roots to develop.

3) Is there something extra I can do to encourage new leaf growth? I am nervous about adding chemicals to the solutions because I want to give new roots the best chances of developing.

Any help would be much appreciated.


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Here is another photo of a closeup of the base. I'm not worried about the bush not growing big - it can be a kind of bonsai.... if it decides to live...

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 11:01PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

This is not the correct way to keep Camellia. Camellia is not bog plant. Camellia will not adjust to your wish during your life time.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 6:46PM
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Hydroponic gardening needs circulated water solution. I have never seen this method to cultivate tea plant like what you are doing. Does not look good.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 10:42PM
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vmr423(Zone 8b, SC)

What an interesting experiment. I know very little about hydroculture, but I hope you'll let us know if you are able to grow (or just keep alive) your camellias this way.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 5:25PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

Posted by vmr423 z8 SC (My Page) on Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 17:25

My best guess is that his has dried up like those cut flowers we place in a vase.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 7:05PM
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Just keep doing water changes to keep the water from going bad and it might work, this is the same way I've rescued numerous species, but it's really all up to the plant itself... Lot's of people say you'll need expensive setups for hydroculture but with a little extra work what you're doing is exactly the same. This will be the least stressful for the plant and encourage it to grow new roots. Give it a couple weeks and if it doesn't start growing there might be nothing you can do. :(

I've never worked with this particular plant but I've rescued and kept roses, numerous herbs, some succulents, coleus, Devils Ivy, and lots of random wildflowers this way so it should work just as well as it does with your other houseplants. You mentioned keeping them in just water, I do the same with all of mine and use tea as fertilizer. I just soak a teabag for a few minutes and then squeeze it into the plants vase putting enough tea in to tint the water brown.

p.s... where did you get those vases? My roses are outgrowing everything I put them in and I was looking for something like what you have pictured :3

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 3:35PM
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