Published 19/03/2010 | 05:00
In part of the garden we have planted a camellia but it looks very poor and is not flourishing. What can be done to salvage our camellia?
A welcome addition to the winter spring garden, this shade tolerant shrub bears very delicate but large flowers. It is popular as an ornamental but camellias are not just a pretty face.
Camellia sinensis is grown in parts of the world as a tea crop by drying its juvenile leaves. Others such as the C. oleifera are harvested for their seed oil.
C.sasanqua is a very popular garden variety due to its versatility as it can be grown as a hedge or as a wall shrub. They are more vigorous and sun tolerant than a lot of camellias. Originating in Japan, Korea and China, C. japonica is considered to be quite hardy whilst Camellia X williamsii cultivars are popular for their cold tolerant nature.
To be the envy of your neighbours, a multitude of rare and unusual varieties can be sourced from Imberhorne Lane Nursery.
There are a few conditions which will make your camellia sulk. If planted in lime rich soil camellias will not grow well and will take on a sickly appearance. If this is the case you can plant them in lime free ericaceous compost in either specifically prepared beds or containers.
Another problem can be if they are sited on an east facing orientation, which can damage the flowers due to a rapid thaw after a frosty night.
As a general rule they like a dark spot in the garden. With dark waxy leaves camellia's inflorescence really stand out from its shadowy environs making it an indispensable addition to any garden.