Growing Camellias in South East Queensland

May 18, 2022

Growing Camellias in South East Queensland

Camellias are one of the best autumn/winter flowering shrubs. Their glossy green leaves and vibrant white, pink and red flowers are absolutely stunning. They grow well in many climates, especially the Camellia sasanquas, which are adapted to South East Queensland and do well in direct sunlight.

There are two main species sasanqua and japonica. Camellia sasanqua do best in sunnier parts of the garden where as japonica prefer cooler shade areas like the southern side of homes.

Highly recommended is a trip to our local Botanical Gardens atMt Coot-tha. See large scale garden design incorporating Camellias along side other plants, especially in the more formal Japanese garden. It's wonderful to see the mature specimens in the landscape.

Camellia sasanqua Paradise Pearl

Alex, our Plant Buyer and Senior Horticulturist understands the importance of buying Camellias that are suited to our climate. Often a southern variety will not be able to tolerate the long summers, or a heatwave might dislodge the number of buds too close to flowering. We buy proven varieties from local wholesale growers here in South East Queensland that do best in our region.

Featured: Camellia sasanqua Jennifer Susan

Jennifer Susan is one of the most reliable sasanquas. It has quite a strong sasanqua scent and is a great choice for hedging in Queensland.

When planting Camellias in the ground or pots it is important to get the pH right. A reassuring way to achieve the right pH is to use a medium especially curated for acid-loving plants. Try Searles Azalea, Camellia & Gardenia Mix or similar.

Camellias are fantastic when planted as a hedge to give colour and interest, and they flower for many weeks.

 Featured: Camellia sasanqua Rose Ann

 

GENERAL CARE

Fertilise after they finish flowering towards the end of winter to promote growth in spring. This will also encourage a lovely growth shape and don;t be afraid to prune to get the shape you're after. Then fertilise again in February to encourage bloom volumes. Use a Azalea and Camellia fertiliser like Nuetrog Kahoona. For those in pots you can also use a liquid fertiliser like blood and bone with some seaweed solution mixed in. This will keep the roots healthy.

Mulching is highly recommended for best results. Camellias have shallow roots so you need to protect them well with a good layer of mulch. 

Watering regularly when planting to get established is essential (approx 12 months), Camellias are very tough however and require virtually no hand watering after that.

Pruning Camellias is a matter of choice for shape, like for instance if you were hedging down a narrow driveway. You can heavily prune but only do this at the end of flowering.