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How to grow Camellia japonicas


July 27, 2022


Searles Gardening Team

In the coolest of Winter, camellia japonicas are large beacons of colour on dark glossy compact leaves. Their slow growing, long lived habit and showy winter blooms are a real indulgence for many gardeners.

Many camellia japonicas grow best in dappled shade. Deeper shade maybe needed for areas with hotter and drier climates. Many japonicas varieties differ in lighting requirements, so always read the growing label for directions.

The best soil pH of camellias

All Camellias love a slightly acid soil with pH of around 5.5 to 6. When planting Camellias, improve the soil with Searles Azalea & Camellia Specialty Mix & Searles Premium Organic Compost. The other important factor is to make sure they are in a well drained position, as they don't like soggy conditions.

Camellias grow well in pots. Choose a pot at least 40cm wide and use Searles Azalea & Camellia Specialty Mix to plant into.

Watering and Mulching Camellias

Once established, camellias grow well with regular watering, about once to twice a week. In dry conditions, where they are left to fend for themselves, they won't grow or flower so well. Camellias have shallow roots, so mulching once a year is recommended to protect their roots from drying out and extremes of temperature. Most mulch materials can be applied, but to make it easier on yourself, choose a mulch which has a fertiliser and compost added. Once this mulch breaks down it will provide essential nutrients for future plant growth.

Fertilising Camellias

Camellias will flower best when fertilised regularly. As camellias are acid loving plants, they need and love good quantities of available iron. The best way to add iron is when fertilising in soluble form, by using Iron Chelate. Searles Flourish Azalea, Camellia & Gardenia Liquid Plant Food is a specially formulated fertiliser for these wonderful acid-loving plants, and contains high levels of soluble iron in chelate form. By regularly applying Searles Flourish Azalea, Camellia & Gardenia Liquid Plant Food every 3-4 weeks, you will ensure good strong healthy growth with lovely deep green leaves.

Pruning Camellias

As they are slow growing, camellias do not need much pruning, but an occasional tip prune will help keep them in shape.