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Last Updated: 26/06/2017
Camellia Cultivation - Feeding Your CamelliasCamellias usually have two growth periods in the year, the first in spring and then again in summer, and these are the times when the plants need to be able to take up nutrients from the soil.
Plants should not be fed too late in the year (not after the end of July in the UK) as the resulting flush of new growth will have insufficient time to fully harden off before the cold winter weather arrives. Feeding over the winter time can be pointless as the plants are more or less dormant and won’t take up any of the nutrients which then just get washed out of the soil.
The best fertiliser to use is one that is recommended for ericaceous plants - as well as containing the three main nutrients (NPK) it should also have the trace elements (particularly magnesium and iron) that Camellias need for healthy growth. Ericaceous fertilisers can be found in both granular and liquid formulations. Granular fertilisers have the advantage that they persist for longer and so need less frequent application, particularly in the case of controlled release pellets which can last for an entire growing season. Liquid fertilisers are more readily washed out of the soil and so need to be applied more often, but provide a rapid uptake of the nutrients. Whichever fertiliser you use, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the amount that should be applied and how often.
Don’t fall into the trap of just giving your Camellia a product based on ‘sequestered iron’. This is only necessary for ericaceous plants that are growing in conditions where the soil is not sufficiently acidic and are therefore unable to take up sufficient iron, but even then it should be used as a supplement to a standard fertiliser, not a replacement.
We recommend both our own slow-release ericaceous fertiliser as a granular feed or the specialist Camellia Focus liquid feed.