New to Camellias

crazymommaj(8)March 17, 2014

I am very uneducated when it comes to gardening so I'm looking for advice. I've experimented with air layering on a plant that I've seen near my parents home for years. I've identified it now as a Camellia.

I removed one of the experimental cuttings in November and planted it in a pot. It had a root ball on it but no hanging roots. In reading about Camellias someone had said to mix sand into the soil. We live in a sandy place so I gathered some and mixed with my potting soil.

I removed the second cutting just the other day (March) and it had what appeared to be a very nice root system. I also planted it in a pot. This time with no sand.

Then I looked back at the first experimental planting and was concerned that I hadn't really seen any growth since planting it in November. So I prepared another pot and moved it into the new pot using the same soil as with the cutting I had just made. In doing so I noticed the root ball still there but still no roots growing. The leaves are more of a yellowish green than the newer cutting that I just planted.

Could it be the soil? I used Osmocote potting soil.

They are planted in large plastic pots that I have drilled holes into the bottom for drainage. I had read somewhere that you could mix leaves in with the soil so having lots of leaves laying around I gave that a try. Not sure if it helped or hurt. Now that they have been planted for a few days and I've given it more thought, I'm wondering if maybe I used the wrong type of soil or if there is something else I should mix into the soil to help. I sure would hate to see the newer one take a turn for the worse because I did something wrong. And am wondering if there is something I need to do for the other one in order for it to grow.

Any advice is appreciated.

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Hi crazymommaj I have been growing camellia here for a few months my self i started from seed though. wasn't very difficult at all to do and i ended up with very strong plants. However, i have been experiencing some yellowing my self but more of a leaf spotting green with yellow spots. i believe it might be close to what you are having happen. i tested my soil PH and it looked like it was at a 6 and 1/2 and it needs to be at 4-5 PH they like to be more on the acidic side and if they are not they will start yellowing. so i am going to mix up with this next watering some cold coffee make sure its COLD not hot. just pour a cup in there once ever two weeks or once every time you add a fair amount of water to the pot. it will balance the PH and make it just right. if you would like i have a youtube channel you could subscribe i will be doing a video on the yellowing this week and if my coffee experiment works with mine.

Here is a link that might be useful: TheItalian Garden

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 9:49PM
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vmr423(Zone 8b, SC)

There are a lot of variables that could be at play here, but you ask if the potting soil could be the problem, and I think it could be at least part of the problem. Osmocote is pretty high in nitrogen which is designed to promote foliage and flowers for established plants, but not root growth. For very young plants a low-nitrogen (or no nitrogen) fertilizer is recommended.

Or better still, an slow-release organic source of nutrients such as compost/cotton meal/liquid seaweed or an organic fertilizer (Holly-tone is an easy-to-find choice for camellias and other acid-loving plants).

Also, I think potting mixes probably won't provide a sufficiently acidic environment for camellias. I may be mistaken, but I think most potting mixes are fairly close to a neutral pH. You can easily test the pH of the mix with some litmus paper (available in soil testing kits if you don't happen to have litmus paper lying around the house).

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 12:37AM
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