Container Camellia - fert during winter?

Oxboy555(Las Vegas)September 20, 2013

I live in hot, dry Vegas (I know, not exactly Camellia Country).

I have a 2ft tall Kramer's Supreme in a pot that I've kept alive outside for a couple of years in the shade. It puts out new leaves continuously so I know it's doing ok. It didn't bud/bloom the first year, but it's developing its buds now, so I'm excited. I have it planted in Al's 5-1-1 mix over from the Container Forum so it's a good, fast draining "soil."

Two questions:

1. Can I keep this plant indoors permanently as a house plant or does it NEED the cool winter temps for the spring bloom?

2. Should I still continue to feed with a weak liquid fert through the winter? I feel I have to given the 5-1-1 is so inherently nutrient poor, but I don't want to overdo it.


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I would take it outside during the growing season and bring it inside during winter. If your mild winters allow the containers to be left outside year around without cracking then that is another option. See the American Camellia Society link below for more info on container grown camellias.

Here is a link that might be useful: Container Grown Camellias by the ACS

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 7:16AM
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Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

Luis, what's "cracking"?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 1:16PM
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Some materials used to make pots/containers are not cold hardy and will crack if it gets too cold. Terra cota can crack if left outside during winter, for example. The materials expand when wet, freeze below 32F and then can crack.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 9:28PM
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My understanding is that camellias don't make good houseplants, although I have heard of camellias doing well in unheated rooms/porches that get some sunlight.

If your plant has been outside and doing well there and is now setting buds, my feeling is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". If you get a forecast for freezing temps, you may want to bring it inside temporarily.

I don't know what's in your 5-1-1 mixture, but I wonder if a fast-draining soil is really appropriate for a dry climate like yours. It's true that camellias don't like wet feet, but they do like a moist- not wet- soil. If you were to add some compost or other organic material that retains moisture, you might be able to water and feed your camellias less frequently? Just a thought...

This post was edited by vmr423 on Fri, Sep 27, 13 at 13:54

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 4:05PM
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