AUTUMN and winter are the time for camellias to really show off their best in the garden.
Sasanqua camellias have been flowering for a few weeks now, even with the warmer weather persisting. Camellias are shallow rooted plants so it is very important to keep them well mulched and, while it is still dry, well watered.
Make sure to keep the mulch away from the trunk as they can suffer from collar rot, a fungal disease, if the mulch is touching the trunk and stays too moist.
Autumn is a good time to fertilise camellias, especially as the ground is still fairly warm.
Use a specific camellia and azalea fertiliser as they are acid lovers so need the right balance of nutrients. If you have camellias that are struggling after the summer heat give them a good deep soaking of a seaweed tonic to help give them a boost.
You can do this at the same time as fertilising as they are performing different jobs.
Cut out any dead or diseased branches for a tidy up but don’t do any major pruning on camellias until the end of winter when they have finished flowering.
Sasanqua camellias make an excellent evergreen hedge, flowering through autumn Into winter.
This does require patience as camellias are not known for their fast growth, but the good thing is they flower from a very young age so you can enjoy this while you are waiting for the hedge to fill in.
With our very hot dry summers, choosing the right location for planting is extremely important. Protection from the hot afternoon sun is a must, even for the more sun/heat tolerant sasanqua varieties. Hybrid and japonica camellias need more shade.
Their main flowering is from mid to late winter which provides lovely colour during the cold months when many plants are dormant.
There are so many different camellias to choose from, including singles, doubles, ruffles and miniatures just to name a few.
Enjoy the show that they will be providing for the next few months.
COLOURFUL: Now is a good time of year to tend to your camellias.