Camellia Care

For the love of camellias

Camellias are a wonderfully versatile and beautiful group of plants. They can be grown as a hedge or espaliered, used a feature plant, or grown in containers, and provide gorgeous colour during the cooler months of the year, particularly in shaded areas that can be challenging to add colour to.

Sasanqua camellias are more sun hardy than japonica camellias and flower earlier, so growing several varieties of both sasanqua and japonica camellias can bring many months of flowers into the garden, from autumn to early spring.

Colours range from white to pretty pastel pinks, reds and even yellow and there are also different flower types, including doubles, ruffled petals and single flowers with exposed stamens (which are adored by bees).

As the cooler weather approaches, here are some tips to help keep your camellias looking fantastic:

Feeding – all camellias will love a feed at the beginning of autumn with the ‘perfect partnership’ of Yates® Dynamic Lifter® Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser and Yates Thrive® Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food. Yates Dynamic Lifter improves the soil with valuable organic matter and Yates Thrive provides a potassium enriched nutrient boost to help promote healthy green leaf growth and lots of flowers.

Watering – camellias like moist (but well drained soil), so water camellias regularly to keep them hydrated. Potted camellias will require more frequent watering than in-ground camellias.

Green thumb tip: If you’ve had problems with bid balling in the past (where buds form but go brown and don’t open), an application of liquid magnesium might help. Yates Leaf Greener Magnesium Chelate is a concentrated source of fast acting magnesium that can help correct magnesium deficiency in camellias.


Keeping insect pests under control

Flushes of fresh new leaf growth and flowers during autumn can attract a multitude of sucking and chewing insect pests, that will enjoy feasting on your garden.

Insects such as aphids, mealybug (both pictured right), thrips and whiteflies feed on sweet and sugary plant sap. This not only depletes the plants of important nutrients, but can cause leaves to permanently discolour and distort and sap sucking insects can also transmit plant viruses. If that wasn’t enough, these insects excrete a substance called honeydew, which the disease sooty mould can then grow on (which appears as a dark grey or black ash like covering over leaves and stems). Honeydew will also attract ants, which you can see travelling up and down plant stems.

Chewing insects like caterpillars and grasshoppers can rapidly eat through lots of foliage, stems, buds and flowers.
Ornamental shrubs and trees like camellias, azaleas, gardenias, hibiscus, fuchsias and roses as well as annual flowers like petunias, violas and calendulas can be susceptible to a range of damaging sucking and chewing insects pests.

Sometimes it’s hard to know which insect pest is causing the damage so it’s handy to have a spray which will control a range of both chewing and sucking insect pests.

Baythroid® Advanced Insect Killer for Gardens will control many of the most common garden insect pests on ornamental plants, including grasshoppers, aphids, mealybug, lacebug, caterpillars, garden weevils, thrips and whitefly. Spray foliage thoroughly when insect pests are seen, including underneath the leaves where insects often hide.

Native plant tip: Baythroid® Advanced Insect Killer for Gardens will also control damging sawfly larvae (pictured right) on native plants.


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