transplanting a camelia into a pot?

sandybeynon1(SE Qld)June 28, 2004

Hi, has anyone had success transplanting a camelia from the garden into a pot? I live in Brisbane (sub-tropical Qld) and the camelia can't even be seen where it's currently planted. I suspect it's at least 5-10 years old but because it gets virtually no sunlight it's not taller than about 4 feet. Will I have any success in transplanting? Either way, I've got nothing to lose because nobody even knows it's where it is in the garden.

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forrestal(Gulf Coast z8b)

It's the dormant season there now and camellias are in bloom, right? Then yes, this should be a good time to dig and pot it with little risk. If you keep as much of the root ball intact as possible it may not even know it has been moved. If you do lose some roots, a light pruning may help it bounce back quicker when growing season comes.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2004 at 12:26AM
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Don't prune to compensate for root loss. You are certain to lose a great number of roots, but plants can compensate for long as they have all of their leaves to make the new roots!!!

We USED to think it was important to 'balance' the root loss by pruning, but now we know that plants can only make plenty of new roots as long as they have all of the vegetation.

Repot into a large container with a good, coarse potting medium. Don't use garden soil.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2004 at 10:25PM
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forrestal(Gulf Coast z8b)

I am interested in the suggestion about never pruning a transplanted camellia, and would like to know more about that line of thinking. I am still learning to grow camellias, which is what I love about them, they have so much personality, and they are unique in many ways. But one thing I have gotten pretty good at is killing them (LOL) and one sure fire way I have discovered is to dig and move a mature plant, leaving few or no roots, without heavy pruning. Camellias are slow growers and simply do not generate roots quickly. The transplant soon begins to wither without adequate root support. Once it starts withering and dying, it is usually too late to save by pruning, so better to prune to begin with. In fact, with camellias, if you lose too much root from the stump, you actually have a better chance of going back and transplanting just the feeder root! No kidding. It will sprout and grow. I have seen and done this. There also are men in japan who dig camellia roots to use for bonsai. They have ways to preserve them up to a year (!) before replanting, with no leaves on them at all. They like the thick crooked ones! It makes the bonsai look old. I have moved 40-50 year old camellias that were way too large for us to save much of the feeder root system (we couldn't afford a tree spade) so we cut all of the foliage off to leave naked stumps once they were potted or transplanted. We still lost a few, but some sprouted back and are in my garden today. A bare camellia root in the ground will grow. But a mature camellia with full foliage and no roots will die. I wish it were not so. We have thousands of gorgeous mature camellias here in the Mobile Bay area begging to be saved from the bulldozer, but it costs so much to dig a large enough root ball to save them. If I could learn how we can dig a tiny root ball, and still save all the foliage, boy that would be nice.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2004 at 10:17AM
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We in the Northern Hem. move plants in January. That makes it just the right time (July) in Australia. You can move it anytime before the middle of September. I would suggest that you root prune the plant. To root prune, find the pot that you are going to move it into and measure the top. On the plant, leave about an inch for new roots to grow. With a sharp shovel, a sharp shooter type, (long thin shovel) push the it down to the depth of the shovel all around the base of the plant. This will cut the roots. Just leave the plant in the ground for at least a month before you dig it up and plant it in the pot that you have chosen. Fill in the edge of the pot that you have left with a very airy misture of potting soil and keep it watered. You should also prune the top back. You cannot over prune the top of the plant. It should do well. I usually use a little cotton seed meal in my soil mixture to give it a little natural fertilizer. You should see new growth in the spring.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2004 at 10:23PM
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melle_sacto(Z9/Sunset 14 CA)

I'll vouch for ForrestAL--last fall we transplanted a 40 or 50 year old camellia that lost all but the largest of it's roots during the digging-up process. In fact, the main root broke off about halfway. It was worth a try because the owner didn't want the huge camellia anyway. After replanting it, the leaves slowly started to brown and fall off. After two months of slow death, we cut it down completely, leaving a stump about 2 inches high. It promptly resprouted from the roots close to the stump and is growing faster than I've seen a camellia grow before.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2004 at 1:15AM
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I recently transplanted camellia with all the buds already sprouting from a spot that was too sunny and not enough water. The plant was about 5 years old and every winter bloomed but during the hot summer season constantly was stressed and the new growth was diyng. I dug it out in a circle equal to the size of the plant and as deep as I could reach. Then shaked off most of the soil and planted it in a pot with a bit of camellia fertilizer added to the soil. Put it in a shadier spot and watered it almost every day. It has been more than a month. Almost no leaves fell off and the buds are growing. I consider it a success. If you are interested, I have some pictures on my garden website.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 12:38AM
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