Camellia Didn't Bloom But Azalea Did

lois(PA Zone 6)July 18, 2009

I have a Winters Rose camellia planted on the north side of my house. It bloomed the first year, but did not bloom this past spring. The azalea next to it bloomed nicely, however.

Last summer, I applied an organic 20-10-6 fertilizer, and got about 10 inches of leafy growth this spring (but no flowers).

Did my camellia not bloom because of the fertilizer, or did it not bloom because of too much shade? Does a camellia need more sun than an azalea?

The plant itself looks great all year; it would just be nice to know if I am ever going to get flowers again. :-)

Lois in PA

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The fertilizer could be the culprit.It is high in nitrogen and may have caused rampid vegetative growth at the expense of flowers.It would really be best not to use any fertilizer at all the first year of planting to allow the plant to settle in and the roots to develop to support new growth.Camellias really don't need all that much fertilizer in the first place.Another possibility is if the weather was extremely cold and could have frozen the bloom buds.They also will bloom less if the shade is extreme. Give it another year

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 8:38PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

As johnie-grower correctly suggested, your plant probably had a overabundance of too much nitrogen. The pot in which it came probably already contain those round-looking general-purpose slow-release fertilizer pellets so when you added even more, it did not go dormant and the buds got zapped by winter temperatures. Of course, squirrels and such pests could have eaten some of the buds too since they start to become visible around mid-July so this year verify that you are getting flower buds. And make sure that lawn fertilizer does not get close to the shrub since lawn fertilizer is high in nitrogen too.

The American Camellia Society recommends then changing to moderate nitrogen and phosphate, and to higher potassium in September. Or you can use an organic fertilizer called cottonseed meal which does an all around good job when applied three times a year. I would recommend that product starting next year but, this year, I would just do nothing or add something like bone meal.

Camellias are not heavy feeders like roses are so apply fertilizers just three times a year unless the shrub is planted in a pot where monthly applications are "de rigueur" (required).


    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 1:59PM
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I also agree, too much nitrogen can definately be the problem. You want something high in the middle number which is phosphorus.

Good luck

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 12:36PM
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