what's wrong with this camellia/companion plant suggestion.

texasanna(8a)July 24, 2011

I am a beginner, very remedial level. I realize I should not have planted anything until the texas summer heat was over but the camellias were on sale and I do like a challenge, so.....

This is a bonanza camellia. I bought the camellia about 3 weeks ago, let it sit in its new location for about a week and then put it in the ground. About a week after I planted it, it started getting droopy like this. Its pretty much in full shade, maybe a teeny bit of dappled sun late afternoon. Soil is a hodgepodsge of an azalea mix (from local nursery), peat moss, and lots of compost. Amended with a little expanded shale too. I am watering it just about the same amount as I did prior to planting it (every other day). Is this too much?? I really appreciate any feedback because I just also slowly killed an azalea in a different location that was having similar symptoms. In my defense, the other three azaleas that are sitting next to the dead one are thriving.

Also, if you have any suggestions for a plant to replace the burnt fern, ideas would be welcomed. That corner gets some sun and it's too much for the fern. I would like something that would spill over the side. The plant in the other corner is a gumpo azalea.

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Hello, texasanna. This is a very bad time to plant anything in Texas. The temperatures have been in the 100s for eons and most of the state is in an exceptional drought. The wilting of the leaves is a combination of transplant shock, heat stress and little moisture.

If your soil drains well, it would be ok to water often since the plant's root system was cut to fit into the pot. I suspect that wilted leaves return back to normal once the worst of the day is over.

Make sure that you have 3-4" of mulch about 6 inches past the drip line to make sure you do not have to water often. Then as long as the soil feels moist on the top 4" inches, you can skip watering. When you water, water the soil early in the mornings starting with the main truck and then watering outwards. About 1 gallon of water per watering should be fine.

Make sure the plant gets shade in the afternoon. I find it ideal to get shade starting at 11am or 12pm. I start having trouble with the ;eaves if they get more sun than that.

It is not necessary to fertilize this year. The potting mix probably had some of those round fertilizer pellets and that will last until Spring. Besides, plants stressed by transplant shock and heat should never be fertilized.

Check the soil acidity if your soil is normally alkaline. You may want to ammend it in the Spring and again in late Summer or early Fall.

Does that help you?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 7:41PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Is that a planter of some kind?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 12:50PM
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longriver(SF Bay Area)

Good advices are all the above. I have only minor possible causes.I hope your water is not on alkaline side. Call water utility people. Also, possibly the root ball is rather tight. The water may not penetrate into root ball inside. If you think likely, use a small stiff stick to open up a few holes.It is only my guess. You might remember how was the root ball.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 5:08PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I think Camellias need at least a half day of sun.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 5:00PM
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I'm wondering if it's planted high enough.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 7:18PM
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Are you watering this plant in the heat of the day? I can see lots of water drop and leaves and it looks pretty hot. You had first stated that it was all shade with a little dappled sun. Holly ferns are for full shade. They will cook in sunlight and this one looks well done. Also a major factor is to consider the amount of heat coming off a wall that has been heated up by the sun, it reflects heat back to whatever is nearby. I don't think there is anything actually wrong with the camellia. I do think you need to water at night or in the morning not in heat of day. It is actually normal for brand new foilage to wilt a little in the heat of the afternoon, but come later evening it will probably perk back up. I also think you need to water a bit more now than when it was potted. Now you want the roots to spread so you water to help them spread they are no longer contained. Hope this helps and please forgive me if I sounded a bit like a smart eleck. I don't intend to be but I have this exact camellia and it look pretty normal to me.
James in Florida

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 11:49PM
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