Program - Growing Camellias Melvin Johnson
Mel has been growing camellias since 1954. He began to plant seeds and now has over 300 seedlings. Should the plant not be good, then Mel suggests grafting a good plant to the root. He notes that it is a good time for grafting now.
There are two species of camellias, camellia japonica which wants to be a tree and camellia sasanquia which won't do well in a house but will set seeds easily.
Growing camellias is not an expensive hobby especially if the plants are grown from seed. Seedlings need not be covered up during the winter. They will tolerate cold but if covered will wilt when the sun comes out.
Spray when there is a lot of scale otherwise not. Maybe once a year in the spring but may be a second generation.
Care of camellias:
Part shade, especially in a long hot summer, good place under pine trees
If they dry out, they won't recover well,
Thinks this is the fun part,
Bees pollinate them,
Don't know what you are likely to get
Root Cutting - a low root under the ground will take root
Grafting - cut ¾ in rooted stem, split, graft making sure cambium meets, cover with a jar or paper sack. Check on it every couple of weeks. Should be given time to grow, sun will kill it before graft has completely taken.
Seeds - Mel suggests putting them in a cold frame
Gibrillic acid - makes giant flowers and bloom faster, extends time of flowering
Joy of camellias: Mel is a retired physician and for years had taken camellias with him on hospital rounds as something pleasant to share with both his patients and the hospital staff.
Scale - oil emulsion, spray under the leaves.
Pedal Blight - fungus, turns the flower brown, you must remove all of the dead flower, can blow for blocks. Very little one can do about it.
One virus can cause loss of color in the pedals.
The soil needs to be a little on the acid side.
Camellias need very little fertilizer.
Remember that a camellia grows slowly after it has flowered.
Consider joining the Camellia Society, which has a yearbook as well as a novice column.
Dr. Johnson passed away 10/31/2010. We all will miss him, his knowledge of gardening, and his kindness
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Copyright © 11/8/10