Trees

Tips for caring for Camellia in a pot

Do you like to have and take care of plants in containers? What if they have beautiful flowers? If your answers have been affirmative, I will give you a series of tips to take care of potted Camellia. Although it is a shrub that is often used a lot for hedges, planted directly in the ground, it is also an excellent decorative plant that you can have on the patio or terrace.

Discover all its secrets…

Main characteristics of camellia

La Camelia is an evergreen shrub or tree whose origin is in Asia, particularly in China, Japan, even to Korea. It can reach 10 meters in height, although in cultivation it is rare to see specimens that exceed 2-3 meters. This is so because it is often used as a low hedge, thanks to which you can have very well decorated roadsides.

Its leaves are whole, of a glossy dark green color, leathery and with either whole or somewhat serrated edges. But without a doubt, what most attracts the attention of camellia are its flowers. They are the main attraction of this beautiful plant. You will find that it has white, pink, double-flowered, single-flowered flowers… There are many varieties, and it is very difficult to choose just one, so it is highly recommended that you buy those whose flowers combine with the colors of the room where you will be located.

It grows in acid soils, that is to say, in those with a pH between 4 and 6. It lives without difficulty in mild climates, without significant thermal variations. Ideally, for her, the thermometer should not drop below 0ºC or rise beyond 30ºC throughout the year. Likewise, it also avoids sunny exposures, since otherwise its leaves could get burned.

How is potted camellia cared for?

Camellia is a plant that can be grown in pots throughout its life. Thanks to its slow growth and its resistance to pruning, it is one of those that are grown in any region where the climate is temperate or warm. Therefore, it is not surprising that it is one of the most popular in terraces, patios and balconies. But how do you take care of it?

Location

It is a genus of plants that will grow much better outside than indoors. You need to feel the warmth of the sun, the rain, the wind,… Indoors that is not possible. Although that yes, as it does not resist much the frosts, if in your zone there are them yes that will have to put it in the house until the temperatures go back to place above 10ºC.

Is it sun or shade?

From experience I will tell you that it is better in the shade, but not totally. It is the type of shade that a tree that grows in full sun gives. In the event that you do not have trees, you can place shading mesh, as if it were a kind of greenhouse.

It can also be in semi-shade, as long as the hours of direct light are those of the early morning or late in the afternoon, when it already begins to get dark. Avoid exposing it to the central hours, especially in summer, since otherwise it will burn its leaves.

Irrigation

It has to be watered between 2 and 3 times every seven days in summer, and the rest of the year 2 times a week. The water must be rainwater, or failing that we use to drink. If you want to use the tap, first you have to make sure it has a pH between 4 and 6.5, something you can do by pouring a little into a glass and then inserting a meter, or with pH strips that they sell in hardware stores for example.

If it has a pH of 7 or higher, you will have to add a few drops of lemon or vinegar to lower it. But do checks, since it should not drop below 4.

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We can take advantage of one of these irrigations to add a few drops of guano or fertilizer for acidophilic plants. In this way, the Camellia will appear healthy, without iron deficiencies.

Substratum

Image – Wikimedia/ Remi Jouan

Choosing one substrate or another will largely depend on the type of water you use to irrigate:

  • If it will be rainwater, suitable for human consumption, or if the tap has a pH lower than 7 but higher than 4 and also has little lime (with »little» I mean that this does not clog the pipes): the most ideal will be the mulch or compost.
  • If it will be a water that you have had to lower the pH: use a substrate for acidophilic plants. It will also go very well, especially if you are in the Mediterranean, planting it in a mixture of 70% akadama + 30% kanuma or kiryuzuna.

To improve drainage, it is worth adding a layer of about 2 centimeters of volcanic clay or clay balls.

Flower pot

It is important that the pot has holes in the base. It does not matter what material it is made of (plastic or clay), but it does have to have outlets for the water. Camellia is not an aquatic plant, and therefore its roots would die suffocated if they had daily contact with that water that is left over when watering.

During the summer you can put a plate under it, as the substrate dries quickly. In fact, myself (I live in Mallorca, Spain, a typical Mediterranean climate) I make sure that this dish always has a little water; But be careful, only in this season, and with temperatures that range between 20 and 33ºC (or up to 38ºC if there are heat waves).

As for the size, it must be about 7-10 centimeters wider and deeper than it was before.

When to transplant a potted camellia?

Your plant needs a bigger pot if:

  • Roots grow out of the holes.
  • If you have used up all the substrate (occurs when you hardly see soil; only roots).
  • If it has never been transplanted, or if it has been more than 4 years since the last transplant.

So if any of these circumstances occur, you have to transplant it by following these steps:

  1. The first step is to choose a pot. Remember that it has to be about 7 centimeters wider and taller than the one you have now.
  2. Afterwards, you have to prepare the substrate and fill the container with it about half.
  3. Next, carefully remove the camellia from its old pot. Avoid manipulating its roots a lot.
  4. Then put it in the new pot. Check that the surface of the root ball or soil loaf is about 1-2 centimeters below the edge of the container. If it is higher or lower, you will have to remove substrate or add more.
  5. When it’s at the proper height, finish filling with substrate.
  6. Finally, water.

Don’t pay it until a month has passed. It is highly recommended to give him time to pass the transplant, as this will make him healthier.

Related article:Transplant plants

Potted camellia pruning

If necessary, prune your camellia in late winter. Use clean, disinfected pruning tools and cut off branches that are dry or broken. Take the opportunity to trim a little (you have to grow 4-6 pairs of leaves, and remove 2) also those that have grown too much.

Rusticity

It supports weak and occasional frosts of up to -2ºC.

We hope that with these tips you can take better care of your potted camellia.

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