What do plants ordered from Nuccio's look like?

nolefan_2006(FL 9a-ish formerly 8b)September 23, 2012


I haven't ever ordered bare root plants from anyone and I have questions. Everyone raves about the quality of Nuccio's camellias, including the current president of the ACS who graciously has been helping me track down a large/mature Bella Rossa. Nuccio's website says that shipping to Florida requires bare root plants wrapped in moss.

What should I expect when they arrive? Will they be sticks? (I remember my dad ordering a Crimson maple that literally arrived as a 36" stick from a mail order nursery 30 years ago...no leaves. It took several years, but it ultimately did fine. It just looked a little ridiculous for about 5 years. Ha!)

Will the camellias have leaves on them? Does the nursery trim off the leaves? Or, if I order a 36" tall japonica will it arrive full size with leaves and look like any other containerized nursery plant? Do I need to stake them when I get them in the ground? And, what do people do to amend the soil, etc to optimize their environment? I have planted a ton of containerized camellias (japonicas and sasanquas) and they're doing well in their environment. Soil pH 5.5 to 6. Mostly 6 in their bed, 5.5 elsewhere in my yard. Shaded by mature oaks for the japonicas. Pine straw mulch. I've been fertilizing with HollyTone. J

I'm just not sure how to approach a bare root plant.

I'm planning on ordering about ten or so 36" and 24" plants, so it's no small investment and I want to know what to expect. And, I keep missing them when I call (many time zones away on vacation right now).


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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Yes, they may have some leaves but it will be a small plant most likely; bare root plants are usually not what you would get in a 1 gallon pot. You may want to review the roots and cut any that do not look good and plant it as you would a bare root rose. Maintain the roots moist until you plant the shrub and do not wait too long to plant once you receive it. I get a paper towel, moisten it and wrap it around the roots until I plant. I do not expose it to direct sunlight until planted. I usually hear ahead of time when the shipment ships so I have the hole ready. I build a little mountain in the center of the hole where the bare root plant rests. I press the soil (tap it) and allow the mountain to be several inches higher than the surrounding soil as I find settling makes the plant be below the surrounding soil otherwise. Fill the rest of the hole with soil and water it again. Monitor the plant so it remains above the surrounding soil and put some mulch the following day if the plant has not sunk. Others prefer to first plant it in a 1-gallon pot first and then plant it on the ground much later.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 6:05PM
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nolefan_2006(FL 9a-ish formerly 8b)

Thanks Luis. In my experience Nuccio's Gem and Pearl seem to be very slow growing. Mine have grown 6" in two years. With this in mind I'm a little scared to buy bare root. How long does it take for the camellia to fill in and look full? I live in Florida zone 8b/9a. Literally right on the USDA border. We do get occasional frosts but simple sheet covering has always protected all of my plants- even my gardenias. We have a long growing season.

People seem to rave about bare root and Nuccio's Nurseries, though. So it must not be bad. I just have fear of the unknown.

Luis, you mentioned some plant into 1 g containers. Is there a disadvantage or significant risk planting directly into the ground?

BTW, thanks for your helpful tips on both this forum and over on the hydrangea form.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 7:48PM
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nolefan_2006(FL 9a-ish formerly 8b)

Edit: I meant to say they have grown 6". Definitely not 6'. Ha!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 7:53PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Well, I have not ordered from Nuccio's myself but I have ordered from rose nurseries that only mail bare root roses. I have had some failures with those roses but the nurseries have sent replacements. I would contact them if the shrubs arrive "looking bad".

In general terms, camellias grow slowly, maybe 1-2" a year or 6" too. It is nothing like you see with roses.

By the way, in case I was not clear, Nuccios does not send plants in 1g containers (weighs a lot and shipping would be expensive). I was just talking in general terms. I have not ordered from them because I have been able to get the ones I want locally but I have come close because of their great selection than includes some Higo Camellias. There are some nice nurseries in FL so check them out too. Bob Wines in Ocala, Erinon Nursery in Plymouth, etc. Wish I had gone to some of them when an aunt lived in Ocala. You can see more here:


    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:02AM
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I ordered about a dozen plants from Nuccio's two years ago, they arrived bare root, very healthy, covered with buds. They have all made it but seem to take time to adjust to the east coast. Most have grown slowly, a few have tripled in size, but only about half of them have buds on them this winter. I have excellent soil and about 200 camellias so conditions should not be an issue. I have had someone from the local botanical gardens tell me they ordered and it took about three years before the plants really took off. They do have some rare varieties that I couldn't find anywhere else, so it's been worth it.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 3:10PM
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nolefan_2006(FL 9a-ish formerly 8b)

Thanks for the info. I decided to buy from my local nursery instead just for the convenience and ability to see what I'm buying. Also, about the same price as mail order when shipping is factored in. Picked up a 5 g Nuccio's Bella Rossa (Monrovia), 35 gallon unbranded Omega (cheaper than the Bella Rossa! A STEAL!), 30 g Apple Blossom, 5 g Magnoliaeflora, 5 g Glen 40, and 5 g Tom Knudsen.

They've been in the ground since mid October and most are blooming or have already finished blooming.

About to start a huge project in the front yard... Planting 13 mine no yuki, 2 large Omegas, 2 large Purity and 26 shi shi gashira. A 6" caliper Cathedral live oak, 9 white duc azaleas, 11 white Gerbering azaleas, 5 Madanna azaleas, 5 lime light hydrangeas, and a bed of gardenias. It's going to be amazing... in several years, since many grow so slowly...

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 10:54PM
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