Green tea Camellia sinensis how to not kill it this winter?

mersiepoo(6)December 22, 2006

I got a small one this year, and it was doing pretty good (ok, it wasn't dying, and was getting a few new leaf buds), until took it to it's present location. I have it under lights. I have been trying to water it correctly (the directions say to water and then let it dry out). Now, the mature leaves turned black and fell off, and the new ones that were green are starting to shrivel up. I think I messed up when I just watered it a 'little' bit. Should they be watered till it pours out the bottom holes, and then wait until the soil is really dry? I'm growing it indoors. Any help is appreciated! :) Thanks!

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Sounds like overwatering to me , and though I've had good luck growing them indoors, it seems the second I forget to check the saucers for overflow, and allow them to sit in water, they're gone in a blink, with the leaves turning black and dropping etc. and the newest leaves turning brown and drying up. They love having constant mosture and not getting overly dry, but hate soggy soil!! A good quick draining mix helps, but it's still easy to overdo it!!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2006 at 8:38AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The truth is that, oftentimes, camellias don't seem to take well to being grown inside. Birdinthepalm is a happy exception! It appears to be difficult to create the kind of atmosphere that they will thrive in. Particularly during the winter, when typical indoor humidity levels go way down inside.

That, in combination with some improper watering practices (maybe?) could cause some real problems. A fast draining potting mix is always best for containerized plants, making over watering more difficult. If your medium drains properly, then you SHOULD water it to overflow each time, rather than giving it little sips. However, I've sure seen some soils that were mucky and soggy, and difficult to manage.

Birdinthepalm explained it perfectly....they like being uniformly moist, but must never be overwatered! A fast draining mix makes that possible.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2006 at 3:00PM
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Thank you both for the advice. I am going to try some watering device that I have with a phaleonopsis orchid (haven't killed that yet, only because I haven't taken it out of it's original growing pot). I am going to take a cotton cord and put it around the plant roots, letting the cord come out one of the holes in the bottom of the pot. I'll take a round piece of wood (with a hole in the middle). I will get a container and fill it with water, and let the cord hang through the hole. Then it can wick up as much water as it needs. Hopefully that will help.

Thanks again! Yeah, the camellia was doing great in the summer, but once the low humidity started, bam! I even misted the leaves, and have it next to my papyrus plant (which is sitting in water), but maybe it's not enough. Or, could be overwatering it.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 4:36PM
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