Autumn and winter are the best time for planting. This allows the plants to establish before the rigors of our hot spring and summer.
This week’s rain – 116mm for 2021 – on top of early summer rain – 260mm in December – has been great for both the garden and the nursery plants. Rain is just the best for bringing on new growth at this time of the year.
The nursery is packed with 18 month old camellias – sasanquas, japonicas, hybrids, selected species and baby reticulatas – with growth from 30 to 90cm depending on the particular variety. Lots of different varieties/cultivars.
Sasanquas will be the first to flower – even these young plants are budding up – starting in a couple of months – around April. Japonicas flower later – from around June.
Sasanquas make for wonderful hedges and screen as well as individual plantings – evergreen, full sun hardy, and can be pruned to shape and size. Japonicas and species and hybrids prefer part shade/filtered light to flower at their best as the flowers get sunburn in our autumn and winter sun – here in SE Queensland. These bring great colour to any garden in autumn and winter.
Any camellia flower showing stamen will attract both birds and bees – they love them. Even the seeds provide a feast for rosellas and king parrots.
Look out for aphids in new growth – hose them off or use an insecticide – organic or otherwise – according to your needs.
Watering does not seem an issue for us at this time of the season, but newly planted camellias will need hand watering until established and again when we get the hot and the dry.
Remember, camellias need a well drained soil (they don’t take to ‘wet feet’ especially japonicas) and soil on the acid side of neutral – 6.5 to below 7 seems to work well. Add well rotted compost and manures – not chicken manure or mushroom compost as these can be alkaline – to the planting area.
For any new planting, always water in and mulch. Mulching keeps moisture in, insulate the soil and suppresses weeds.
We plan to have open days again this season from around April – see our website for details – and maybe we will be able to have some garden shows this year – COVID restrictions permitting.