Camellia Care for Sun & Shade

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Camellias (Camellia spp.) are broadleaved evergreen shrubs native to southern and eastern Asia. Their suitablity for mild winter climates and showy, fall, winter or early spring blooms have made camellia shrubs fixtures in southern U. S. gardens. Alabama has designated the camellia blossom its state flower. One species of camellia, Sasanqua, is happiest in full sun, but most of these plants thrive in full shade. All camellias like well-drained, acidic soil. In the right conditions, camellia shrubs perform for decades.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Wire clippers or scissors
  • Garden hose or other water source
  • Organic mulch
  • Camellia food or 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 fertilizer
  • Choose a site with partial shade and well-drained soil for shade-loving camellias. A location along the north side of a structure or beneath tall pine trees provides adequate shade and winter shelter. Select a site with full sun to part shade and well-drained soil for your sun-loving camellia, namely Camellia sasanqua.

  • Use the shovel to dig a hole as deep as, and twice the size of, your camellia's root ball. Reserve the soil.

  • Replace enough soil in the hole so that your planted camellia's crown will be level with the soil's surface. Cut away any wires or twine with the clippers or scissors, and fold the camellia's burlap covering back to expose 8 or 10 inches of its root ball.

  • Center the camellia in the hole. Refill it, tamping the soil lightly. Water the plant well to settle the soil.

  • Place a 3-inch layer of organic mulch around the camellia, without touching its woody base. Pine straw or pine bark is suitable.

  • Feed your camellia 1 tbsp. of camellia food, 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 fertilizer in March, May and July. Sprinkle the food evenly between the plant's base and drip line. Water it into the soil.

  • Water the drought-tolerant camellia regularly until it's established. Slow, weekly watering to a depth of 15 to 18 inches is adequate for established plants. Let the soil dry slightly between waterings.

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