Camelia Winter Protection

kitkatt7777(8)October 6, 2010

We just planted a "Hot Flash Camellia" this May. Does anyone have any tips on "winterizing" it? Should it be covered? Pruned? It hasn't bloomed yet, but does still have some green leaves.

Also, does anyone know how to tell if the plant is healthy? Like I said, it has some green leaves, but it hasn't grown (that I can tell) nor bloomed.

We're in the Dallas, Texas area. Any tips would be appreciated!

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Camellias develop their buds in the summer and bloom, depending upon the variety in the fall through the spring. Yours is purported to be an early bloomer, beginning sometime in the early fall and lasting for many weeks through the winter. If you don't see nice fat buds on your plant now, I doubt that you'll see a bloom this year.

Camellias should not need to be protected in your location unless there is a very severe and unexpected cold spell this winter. I live in a much colder climate than you do, and camellias do just fine....even in the teens. Yours is a sasanqua Camellia, so it will even be a little bit hardier than the japonicas.

Your particular camellia hybrid is a very slow growing variety (so the descriptions read), and when you consider that camellias are slow anyway....this one must be a creeper. Sounds like a great bonsai specimen! Don't over fertilize this plant in the hopes that it will grow faster. That's one sure way to harm it, especially at this time of year. By the way, what size it is?

If your plant looks healthy and you have done all that you can to provide this little gem with the conditions that camellias require, you should expect it to be fine. Camellias like a little bit of protection from the hot afternoon sun, they like their roots to be high and cool so make sure your plant is mulched (but not piled up against the trunk).

Pruning of ANY woody shrub at this time of year, in your location, is a no no. As far as pruning goes for your camellia, it may never need to be pruned in it's entire life. I'm wondering why you would think it necessary.

Pruning can stimulate growth in wood that needs to go dormant for winter protection. This stimulated growth also taps into stored energy reserves in the that your young plant will want to have available come spring. No to pruning! ;-)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 4:19PM
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That is too bad about the lack of blooming this year, but I expected that it might take a year or two.

We bought the camellia in a three gallon bucket, and it's probably not more than a foot high. We planted azaleas and hydrangeas at that time, too and they have all grown! So, I was getting worried that my camellia might not be doing so well, but maybe it is just slower than I realized.

I definitely don't see anything on the plant that looks like it needs or wants to be pruned, but I thought I would check that out with you more experienced gardeners. I will NOT prune it! :) Thanks for your advice!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 4:39PM
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You stress that it STILL has some leaves on it. Did it loose a lot of leaves? Should be no reason to protect them in your area from cold. I WOULD suggest that you mulch them well--will help with moisture retention in an arid area. These plants love water and humidity--and ACID soils by the way (so if that is an issue...) I don't do anything to protect my japonicas and I'm in the North.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 6:15PM
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