In southern England, planting camellias with some shade from the hot midday summer sun should ideally be provided to prevent leaf scorch. Some varieties, however, such as autumn flowering sasanqua camellia varieties can cope with full sun.
From the midlands northwards, plant camellias in full sun or light shade to ensure full formation of flower buds, which occurs between June and October for the following flowering season.
In dense shade, camellias will grow happily, but may not bud up properly. Hybrid varieties will, in general, perform better than japonica camellias in a shady position. On the other hand, the autumn / winter flowering camellias require more sun, warmth and shelter than their spring flowering cousins and ideally should be planted in a south or south-westerly facing position.
Leaf colour will tend to be darker green with more shade provided.
Avoid planting your camellias in a position where they can exposed to cold winds, such as where there are strong draughts between buildings
Ensure the site does not become waterlogged at any time.
Camellias are, in general, woodland plants and thrive in light, slightly acidic soils of between pH 5 and 6.5, with plenty of organic vegetable matter which is moist, but free draining, such as peat or leaf mould. Never use any form of manure near young camellias.
They do not respond well in very wet conditions such as heavy clay, as they need plenty of air around their roots.
If you're not sure whether your soil is suitable, then it can easily be tested with a soil test kit or else look to see what is growing in neighbouring gardens - Look for:
If these are thriving, then camellias should also grow.
- Prepare the ground by mixing peat (or a suitable peat free alternative 50:50 with your soil in an area 3 times the width and twice the depth of the original pot
On heavier soils, ensure there is good draining from the bottom of the planting hole. (This can be achieved by either breaking up the subsoil or incorporating a good layer of grit at the bottom of the planting hole).
- Water the plant well, before planting
- tease out the roots to separate them, if matted.
- Dig out a hole large enough to take the size of rootball of your plant and place the plant into the hole so that the top of the rootball is level with the soil surface.
- Fill in around the rootball with the planting mixture and firm well.
- Water well after planting
- We recommend mulching your plant with a rotted woodchip mulch, horticultural bark or similar mulching material. Do not to use material which is designed for decorative use, as this tends to be treated with unwanted chemicals.
- If your garden is prone to rabbit or deer attack, providing some protection is advised, to protect young shoots and leaves.
Always ensure your plants do not go short of water during their establishment. Top up with mulching materials on an annual basis to help conserve water.