Yuletide Camellia repotting

nwgardeners(7)October 7, 2013

Hello,
New member here, but have enjoyed the site for a long time.
We received a Yuletide Camellia about 3 years ago (a gift thru the mail), it bloomed that winter and we transplanted it to a 12 X 12 X 12 pot. It has not bloomed since.
We are thinking about repotting (into the same size container) with some new Azalea/Camellia soil, but are not sure if we should do it now or wait until spring.
We are concerned the old soil is getting compacted and not draining as well as it should. Also we are concerned it has not bloomed since it arrived.
It seems to be thriving otherwise.
Any thoughts? Thank you in advance.

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Small camellias that come from the outlet full of buds often wait some years before resuming flowering - apparently growers are doing something that makes them bud heavily while young, that they do not continue to experience after leaving the production facilities.

Replenish the potting medium now so the plant does not continue to sit in diminished growing medium. Fall is also the time when most root growth occurs so you may find it is quite ready for a larger container at this point - a one gallon size range camellia here was dug up this week to get it out of the way of some work and was found to have lots of recent root growth.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 2:03PM
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nwgardeners(7)

Thank you very much for the reply, that is very helpful.
That makes sense as far as not flowering, because it does appear healthy otherwise. It's doubled in size I bet.

We purchased some "acid loving" azalea/ Camellia soil mix from a garden store, is there anything you could recommend as far as the actual procedure? Should we trim some roots back or just rinse the old soil off the roots and re pot?
Should we add some organic fertilizer when we repot or wait for a better time in it's growing season?
We would also like to keep it in the same size pot, unless of course it's totally root bound.

Thanks again

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 7:07PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Dump it out, shake loose soil off, put it back and refill with fresh dirt. If there are outer roots going in circles you will either have to trim those back or provide a bigger container. Pruning the roots will have a dwarfing effect on the top, bonsai get an annual root pruning for this reason.

If the potting mix is not mucky yet it might be better to wait until spring as roots cut back now aren't likely to respond much at this time. Whereas spring is the time new roots are made, if you prune right before new top growth starts then new roots should come out of the cut root ends right after. This is because the opening winter stem buds send hormones to the roots telling them to get started.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 9:28PM
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nwgardeners(7)

Appreciate the advice, thanks for all the help! We'll give it a shot this weekend.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 7:42PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Should also mention I would not bare-root it completely or cut the roots back very far as I have found camellias to be liable to die after much root damage or exposure to air. The older roots look like rubber coated wire and are not very numerous - very different from the fine, dense, sod-like root systems of easily transplanted rhododendrons and azaleas.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 1:47AM
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