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Cold-Hardy Camellias

Posted by KYJoe 6a KY (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 3, 05 at 15:15

Has anybody in zone 6a had any luck with Dr. Ackermann's cold hardy camellias. I tried "Winter's Star" and "Winter's Charm" and both had extreme dieback and winter kill. I provided ideal soil(acid) mix ,exposure(protected North) and mulch and sprayed with Wiltpruf yet they still suffered after a relatively mild winter(-5)!!!
Any suggestions???

Ky Joe

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Cold-Hardy Camellias

  • Posted by doniki z5/6 NE Ohio (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 4, 05 at 10:00

From my experience, Winter's Rose, Winter's Interlude, and the Camellia Oleifera are the hardiest of the bunch, possibly withstanding -15F once ESTABLISHED. New plants (1-2 years from planting) can suffer from severe dieback at any temp below 0F. Best suggestion I can give you, until your plants are established are:
1. Plant in spring (only) if you plant later then August you are pretty much handing them over to death.
2. Mulch lightly... No mulch around the stem base unless it is pine straw... Cams are prone to rot in the north, if you use a heavy mulch.
3. Wilt-pruf twice a year- Dec. and Feb.
4. possibly a burlap or microfoam wrap the first year or two.
5. Finally and most importantly keep out of the winter wind and sun... Preferably no sun in winter months-- VERY BAD!!!
Good luck, If I can do it up here in OH, you should be fine in KY....

RE: Cold-Hardy Camellias

Maybe it's just a matter of choosing the right cultivars. But I did all the other suggestions you recommended.
Planted them in March 04,Wiltprufed (only once in early Dec.)mulched lightly with large pine nuggets and wrapped with tobacco canvas(Remay fabric) etc.
Thinking back maybe also it was the "rollercoaster weather" we had that December. We had record highs early in the month(70's) then got slammed with a cold snap and ice/sleet storm right before X-Mas!!

Thanks, KY Joe

RE: Cold-Hardy Camellias


Where did you find a source for the Microfoam? Thanks


RE: Cold-Hardy Camellias

  • Posted by doniki z5/6 NE Ohio (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 11, 05 at 14:28

Most packaging supply places probably carry some form of it. I did a google search and purchased it from a packaging company, which I forget the name of... It's been 2 years.. It came in a BIG role, and was quite heavy. It is difficult to find in small "gardener" quantities. It can be expensive, but to me it was worth it. I was really surprised how much better the plants that were wrapped faired over winter compared to those left exposed.

RE: Cold-Hardy Camellias

I have gotten hardy camellias from 3 sources, Wayside Gardens (Ice Angels), Logee's Greenhouses, and Camellia Forest. The first two have zone 6b plants. Camforest has also zone 6a plants, which is all I recommend.
Except for April Tryst they all survive, even in -13 deg F two years ago, but the spring bloomers' buds did not survive that. Spring plant only. I winter wrap the young plants in burlap to keep the winter sun off them. The larger plants I spray with wiltpruf. I have them all in east exposure, under a large hickory tree, not the recommended white pine. I think the reason for my success is that all have shaded roots or are on a northward facing slope. I do not recommend winter bloomers.
Go for early fall bloomers, like Autumn Spirit, Survivor, or Snow Flurry, I have not tried Mason Farm, or go for the toughest April bloomers like April Rose or April Remembered. Good luck in your locale.

RE: Cold-Hardy Camellias

I read the disasters people north of Tulsa are having with their camelias. I only grow two in my yard because of a lack of space. If I had more space I would definitely have more camelias. I have Snow Flake planted by my front door in west sun and it is now 3 years old and had almost 100 flowers on a 3 foot bush that was only a foot tall 3 years ago. I also have a double red camelia (do not remember the name) and it was planted 3 years ago in hot noon sun and some afternoon west sun. It is a winter bloomer (Feb. - March), and it bloomed the first year, but not last year, the buds froze. This year the plant is filled with large buds that have already survived 8 degrees, but winter isn't over yet. At least the buds are still alive and doing better than last season. I water the camelias often in the heat of summer, and a friend told me camelias hate water. I water them daily when the temperature reaches the 90's here in Tulsa. I also help people with their gardens here and there are many, many landscapes which have many healthy blooming camelias planted both as specimens, and some as blooming hedges, especially the pink senu-doubles called 'icicle'. Others that do well here are Snow Flurry, Winter Storm, and a new variety to Tulsa called 'Hanna jiman'. There are many more that are spotted through Tulsa that I've never seen before, nor know their names, or I'd be happy to share with you. I do plant in an acid compost soil, and mulch with pecan hulls around them. God bless, and happy growing. Joe

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