Camellia

The evergreen camellias are fine flowering shrubs for a greenhouse from which frost-can be excluded. The kinds most commonly grown are varieties of C. Japonica, their flowers ranging in colour from shades of red to pink and white.

Propagation

One way of increasing camellias is by removing leaves from the shoots in March, each with a bud and portion of stem attached. The cuttings are inserted around the edge of 3-in. pots filled with a mixture of 2 parts coarse sand and 1 part moist peat. After a good watering, place the pots in a warm, moist propagating frame. As the roots form, new growth will develop and the young plants should be potted individually in 3-in. pots. Compost consisting of 2 parts peat, 1 part lime-free loam and l part coarse sand is ideal. Young plants will be happy in a cold frame with shade from strong sun in summer.

Cuttings can also be taken in late July but these are made from shoots produced in the current season that have begun to harden at their base. They should be treated in a similar manner to the other cuttings.

Both types of camellia cutting will root much more easily under a mist propagator. Raised in this way they can be taken in late summer or autumn and rooted before winter.

Repotting

When the plants begin to fill their small pots with roots, move them into 5- or 6-in. pots using the peaty compost referred to earlier. Finally, the plants can be grown in 8- or 9-in. pots or tubs.

Established plants should only be re-potted when this is really necessary – in early spring before new growth begins. Some of the old soil should be removed and fresh compost worked in among the roots, using a rammer to firm it. Good drainage is essential.

Summer Treatment

If possible, stand the plants out of doors in summer in a partially shaded place and never let the roots dry out, otherwise the flower buds may drop later. Feeding with a liquid or soluble fertiliser each week will help to keep the plants growing steadily in summer, and in hot weather overhead spraying with water will keep them in good condition.

Housing

In early autumn return the plants to a fully ventilated, unheated greenhouse. A little heat can be provided in cold weather but not too much must be given. Avoid damp, stuffy conditions at all times and keep the ventilators open whenever the weather is favourable.

01. March 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, Greenhouse Gardening, Plants & Trees | Tags: , | Comments Off on Camellia

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