GAR­DEN HINTS

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Front Page - WITH MANDI

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.

Happy gar­den­ing.

with MANDI MCDON­ALD, Gar­den­ing Spe­cial­ist

COLOUR­FUL: Now is a good time of year to tend to your camel­lias.

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