Newbie, many time repeated questions, please :)

christy2828(8a)March 9, 2014

I'm sorry, I'm poring over these posts for answers, but a lot of folks grow Camellia's throughout the region and it's hard to find the correct answer. I'm in NE NC, the inner banks. I see Camellia's growing EVERYWHERE, so I know they can grow here. I bought one last May, (I forget which one and dropped the tag last week in a store) and planted it higher than ground level with a heavy layer of Claybuster mulch that I found at HD, and a rototiller to process the clay buster into the ground. We are zone 8a. We have had a particularly harsh, cold and wet winter. Our neighborhood is 40% developed all one acre plots, that used to be farmland. All of the good soil was scraped off and sold, and then the houses were developed. NO TREES. It gets very windy because of the lack of trees. My house faces WNW, more west than anything, but a slight tilt to the north. I got a 5 gallon Camellia originally, and like I said it did fine until winter. Now it has 3 leaves. Those three leaves have held on for about 3 months!! The buds on it never developed (I bought it with buds). I'm pretty certain it is a goner. Today I got two more (40% off for a garden show!!! 1 and 3 gallon pots!!). I got a one gallon Kramer's supreme and a 3 gallon Black Tie. My question is, what did I do wrong, and how can I make it right? Morning sun? Afternoon sun? I planted it at the NE corner of the house, about 3 or 4 feet off of the corner, so I think it was way too windy for it. If I put the Black Tie there, but put it on the west side to protect from winds would that help? It will get FULL morning sun, because there are no trees - when the sun comes up the sun shines until it passes over the house. I have a covered screened-in porch that juts out of the middle of the house in the back - facing east - that I thought the Kramer's Supreme could go on the north side of the jut because I read it likes less sun. But it will get that FULL morning sun. It will get shaded earlier than the other, when the porch will block it. I do have one shady spot in the front garden. If I plant one there it will get a few hours of full afternoon sun but I only have room for one. If I planted on the North side of the house, it gets very little light. Hosta's thrive there, as do Vinca, but it really doesn't get much sun. Any thoughts or suggestions would be very much appreciated!!! Oh, and I just ordered a PH test on Amazon, so I can amend as needed. Thanks :) Christy

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vmr423(Zone 8b, SC)

I think you're probably correct about wind damage- camellias are pretty tough, but a new plant of any kind needs some protection until it gets established. And camellias need to stay pretty consistently moist for at least a year or two until its roots are developed- after that they really only need to be watered during prolonged dry spells. Wind will really dry out plants too quickly, so I think your first concern should be wind/cold protection.

Are you planning to plant any trees? Trees provide shade and also serve as wind breaks, so they are a camellia's best friends. If you're planning to plant trees, you may want to keep that in mind as you decide where your camellias go. In fact, if you're planting some fast-growing trees, you could leave the camellias in containers until your trees are tall enough to provide a safe spot in the landscape for your camellias.

If you don't like the idea of camellias in pots, you could think long-term about where you will have some permanent shade/wind breaks from trees (or something else providing shade), and plant with this future protection in mind. In the meantime, though, try to think of a way to provide your plants with some temporary protection during future weather events.

Your japonicas do need some sun for bloomage (if that's not a real word, it should be), but too much can mean your plant dries out too quickly in hot weather, and can also lead to unattractive sunburnt foliage. If you have what you think is a great spot, but a little too sunny, think about whether you can give it adequate moisture (and temporary wind protection when needed) to keep it going until you can provide some shade (from trees, a garden structure, tall shrubs, or what have you).

Your older camellia may not have had time to get rooted before all the cold and wind, but it may yet pull through. In the next few months, you may see some new leaves and you can then breathe a sigh of relief.

Having said all that, I do think your hosta garden may be a good place for a camellia or two- camellias do need some sun, but not much. And if you later decide your camellias aren't blooming enough, you can always move them...

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 11:59AM
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Thank you :) I definitely want bloomage, lol!!! I have planted trees, I have 3 Tea Olives, a Dynamite Crape Myrtle, 2 Holly trees, a Vitex, a weeping willow and a Conifer all entering their third year - waiting for the leap!!! We are in the military, so we have one year left, but are considering staying for another 4 if possible. I was looking at the spot today up front that receives the least full sun with a western exposure, and light still wasn't hitting it at 5:00. When the sun will be overhead in the summer, I think it'll get a bit more, though. I will say that every full sun plant I have put there has not done well, so I think I need to switch to something with less lighting needs. It does get hot here, but not exceptionally hot - we're quite close to the water - 27944. If I put them where the hosta's are thriving, they will get the wind. My weeping willow is there now and is leaning sideways, currently. Would heavy morning sun be bad for them? Thanks :) Christy

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 6:12PM
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