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Is it worth trying to grow seedlings?

Posted by dave_in_nova VA zone 7a (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 4, 13 at 12:59

I have several camellia seedlings in pots. Not sure it's worth the time to grow these up or use precious real estate to see what the blooms might look like vs just growing purchased named varieties.

I have a seedling Tama Americana that might be interesting. Not sure if the picottee will come thru.

What is everyone's experiences with seedlings and time to blooming as well as bloom quality (or if they even bloom!)?

I guess I could always use them as rootstock for grafting.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Is it worth trying to grow seedlings?

I find it takes too much time but others like Longriver, not only grow them from seedlings but hybridize them. Like you pointed out, the seedlings are not true to the parent but this is part of the fun of the it.

RE: Is it worth trying to grow seedlings?

Reasons against:
1) Uncertainty about end product
2) Not enough room
3)Long-term commitment- it will take years before you can evaluate the plant and its bloom
4) There are many good named cultivars suited for your locale- you might prefer to get one of those started in your limited space

Reasons for:
1) Uncertainty about end product
2) Patience is a virtue that camellias require us to cultivate
3) Your seedlings have hardy parents- since many named cultivars won't thrive in your region, a seedling that does may be a plant worth having even if the flower isn't remarkable
4) Your seedlings are volunteers- no upfront investment in a named cultivar someone else grew from a seedling...

Ultimately, I think some people are just attracted to the possibilities that seedlings promise, and don't mind the idea of waiting for the- possibly unexciting- end result.

RE: Is it worth trying to grow seedlings?

I purchased hybrid seeds from Camellia Forest Nursery (oleifera X sasanqua). It took five years, but some of the seedlings turned out to have flowers with nice color and I informally named one after my mom. Another advantage of seedlings is that you can keep the taproot which presumably makes them more resistant to drought.

RE: Is it worth trying to grow seedlings?

Thanks everyone. I think I will only grow up the seedlings from a select few of my plants. Perhaps only Tama Americana and perhaps some hardy Ackerman hybrids, just to see what comes.

RE: Is it worth trying to grow seedlings?

I bought my seeda from the same place camellia and i am just starting them but i have checked every seeds gentally and all 77 of them are germinating in 8 days have their tap roots already. Cracked open and are just getting ready to push. At 15 days which is fast for camellia. I didn't do any cold stratifying ether. So end of the story growing seedlings is a rewarding process. When done properly can turn out awesome!

RE: Is it worth trying to grow seedlings?

I have seedlings growing in the ground and no flowers yet for 4 long years. BUT they are good looking plants and I like their mother (TIffany ) so may they prosper on their sturdy taproots and produce some pretty blooms. If not, I can always graft something pretty instead.

RE: Is it worth trying to grow seedlings?

I have no first hand experience, but some years back, visited the property of a retired university ag professor in AL who'd been collecting and propagating camellias, rhododendrons, and azaleas since back in the 1960s.
He told me that of the thousands of rhodies/azaleas he'd grown from seed, that less than a dozen had been 'throw-aways', but he'd never grown out a seedling camellia (and I'm suspecting virtually all parents were superior selections) that was worth the space or time.
He was still growing seedlings - but only using them as rootstocks to graft on new, exciting selections.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dr. Tom Corley

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