Kanjiro buds didn't open

lafu115(7)April 2, 2011

I have a sasanqua Kanjiro planted last fall in northern Virginia Growing well and formed lots of beautiful buds in Jan/Feb. Some opened but most did not and are now dropping off. Could this be the result of a late ice storm?

The same thing happened to an Japonica Autumn Pink Icicle planted last spring. Buds and some blooming in late winter but most buds didn't open.

I also have a second Autumn Pink Icicle that blooms but never seems to grow. It is the same size as when I bought it last spring. Anything I can do?

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Flower buds are sensitive to temperature changes and will drop when the changes are too "extreme" for the plant. Other times, the plants may delay blooming for some time and bloom later.

If the Autumn Pink Icicle is getting constant moisture, is planted in well draining, mulched acidic soil, gets afternoon shade and fertilizer, I would not worry.

Camellias are not heavy feeders like roses. Adding "more" fertilizer does not result in lots of added growth. Little or no growth is common on many plants, especially on the first 1-2 years when they are suffering from transplant shock and concentrate on developing a root system. Camellias grow slowly, sometimes just one -or a few- inches a year. Reminds me of two varieties of hydrangeas that I bought last year and planted on the ground. One is a slow grower; the other is faster.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 12:15PM
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There's something very queer about this picture. _Camellia sasanqua_ cultivars bloom in the fall; therefore, they set their flower buds in the summer. For that matter, _Camellia japonica_ cultivars also set their flower buds in the summer. Your plant is growing outdoors, isn't it?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 6:44PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

I think she meant that the flower buds developed in the Fall; then some of the flower buds bloomed but others remained on the plant unopened; and only now are the unopened ones falling off. Can you confirm, lafu115?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 8:04PM
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Yes, all buds formed in the fall. The slow-growing Autumn Pink Icicle formed buds and some bloomed in Nov. Other buds it held and they bloomed in Feb. The faster growing Autumn Pink Icicle made more buds in the fall. Just a couple bloomed in Nov and a few more bloomed in Feb.

The Kanjiro formed many beautiful buds in the fall. None bloomed until Feb when a handful bloomed. If all had bloomed it would have been amazing, I'm sure, as it was just full of buds. But, as I said only a handful bloomed. The rest it held until recently when they started dropping off.

I was confused about the timing too. These are the first camellias I've planted. The tags for all said they should bloom in the fall, not winter/early spring, but that is not what happened. I thought maybe that was just because they were relatively newly planted (both Autumn Pink Icicle planted in May and Kanjiro planted in Sept)

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 3:31PM
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lafu115: Kanjiro did behave oddly this year--I'm also in Virginia. Normally, it is one of the later sasanquas but does its blooming in Autumn for me with (normally) no buds holding over to spring. This past year, its bloom was very sparse in Autumn, but I noticed a few blooms in mid-March and it has just finished blooming relatively heavily (all things considered). I'd chalk it up to our oddly warm weather--I think that in fact it doesn't normally have enough time in autumn to bloom all of its buds and that leftovers simply get killed over the winter. That being said, since mine started blooming about a decade ago, it has never failed to bloom (at least some) in the autumn.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 8:51PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

To determine if it was cold damage:

- Collect a newly dropped bud or one on the branch that easily comes off in your hand.
- Cut the bud vertically from the tip through the base.
- Examine the interior.

Cold damage is the culprit if the interior of the bud is brown -- browning may range from throughout the interior or only at the base.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 11:15AM
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Thanks everyone. I did cut through three buds and they were brown inside.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 8:29AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Generally in Virginia - at least everywhere except maybe SE Virginia, camellias are best planted in Spring. It gives them time to get established for the cold winter. 'Kanjiro' is generally a Fall bloomer. Your buds actually formed in summer and matured in Fall. Possibly because your plant was newly-planted, it was shocked or the cold weather delayed blooming. Buds hold on, but freeze with winter's cold and desicating winds. In warmer climates buds may not freeze. Where I work in DC I saw a Kanjiro in full bloom in February. It looked like a knock-out rose at first! (then I though -- wait, it's February!). But in my outer suburb, my Kanjiro's unopened buds mostly all froze.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 12:22PM
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