Most commonly known for their ornamental luscious blooms, camellias are an evergreen shrub species, popularly used around garden borders, hedges, and flower bed fillers. These beautiful flowers add a splash of color to any landscape as they bloom in the late fall to early spring. With appropriate care and attention, these flowers will have a long bloom season for you to admire.
Camellias should be watered 2-3 times per week once the top inch of soil feels dry to touch and if there has not been any rain. Camellias need a constant supply of moisture however the soil should not remain oversaturated nor should it be completely allowed to dry out as this can stunt flower development.
There are multiple species of Camellias that are available in an array of colors however the care instructions remain consistent between them with slight variations that will be clarified in this guide.
How to Tell if Camellias Need Water?
Signs that your camellias may need water can include soil that is dry beyond the first few inches from the surface. The leaves of the camellia will start to fade, dry out, and fall off. A dehydrated camellia will also produce far fewer blooms than it should with the flowers blooming with fewer petals although this may go unnoticed until the blooming season from the late fall to spring.
How Do You Know When Your Camellia is Sufficiently Watered?
You will know your camellias have been sufficiently watered when the leaves remain well structured, strong, and have a vibrant deep green color. The soil around your camellias should be consistently damp, only wet at the surface immediately after rain and watering. During the blooming season, you will know if your camellias received enough water based on the quantity and quality of the floral blooms that occur in the late fall to early spring.
Can You Overwater Camellias?
While camellias prefer consistently moist soil, you should avoid overwatering them as this can lead to many issues that will compromise the health of the plant. Overwatering camellias can cause the foliage to discolor, the leaves and flower buds to drop, and make the foliage prone to fungus resulting in leaf gall.
What are Signs of an Overwatered Camellia?
Signs that your camellias have been overwatered include leaf Oedema’s, resulting from a fungus that grows on them due to excessive amounts of moisture, discoloration of the leaves, and all foliage including the flower buds will soften and begin to drop.
You may also notice significant delays or a complete ceasing of new leaf and bud growth once your camellias have been compromised by too much water.
How Long Can Camellias Go Without Water?
During the fall, winter, and early spring months, camellias should be watered 2-3 times per week if they have not received precipitation in the form of rain. This will allow for sufficient blooms to form and maintain a long blooming season.
During the late spring and summer months, it is okay to water your camellias once per week though you should regularly check the soil to ensure that it has not completely dried out. The best rule of thumb is to water Camellias when the top inch or two of soil is dry to touch and you know it will not be raining anytime soon.
Should Camellia Soil Be Moist?
Camellias prefer consistently moist soil though it should not be oversaturated with water at any point as this can compromise the appearance of the plant and make it prone to fungal attacks. You should water your camellias when the top layer of soil is dry to touch and avoid letting the soil dry out completely.
Why is Camellia Turning Brown/Yellow?
Camellias tend to be particular about their growing conditions and may discolor for a few reasons. If camellias become dehydrated and are exposed to hot and sunny conditions for too long, the foliage is at risk of being scorched, the leaves will turn brown, and the foliage will start to dry out and drop from the shrub.
If a Camellia has been overwatered, this puts the plant at risk of fungal attacks which compromise foliage health, causing discoloration. Oversaturation can also cause the leaves to become dull or yellow, soften, and fall regardless of the presence of fungus.
Why is my Camellia Droopy?
Your camellia may become droopy if it is dehydrated. If there have been periods without natural precipitation like rain and you have not been watering them, the foliage will begin to shrivel, dry out, and drop.
Likewise, when camellias are oversaturated with water the leaves will discolor and start to lose their structure, feeling soft or weak to touch, and they will begin to drop.
Do Camellias Need Fertilizer?
For a high flower count, fertilizer is an important factor for your camellias. During the summer months try to use a potassium-rich fertilizer to prepare the plant for healthy flower production.
During the blooming season from the late fall to early spring, you may wish to switch to a slow-release nitrogen-rich fertilizer to help the leaves maintain their vivid deep green color and sustain the health of the blooms. At some home and garden centers, you can find camellia-specific fertilizer.
How Much Sunlight Do Camellias Need?
Most camellia species prefer partially shaded lighting conditions whereas species like Camellia Japonica prefer fully sunlit conditions though they will still need protection from the afternoon sun.
A partially shaded environment where the light can be diffused is best for these plants. While they will usually be tolerant of a few hours of gentle morning sun, the harsh afternoon sun is likely to scorch the foliage of the camellia plant.
Will Temperatures and Humidity Affect Camellias?
Unlike some flowers, camellias tend to bloom from the late fall to early spring months. They prefer moderate temperatures and will survive temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. With many varieties being native to East and Southeast Asia, camellias prefer slight humidity though too much exposure to moisture can compromise the foliage and leave them prone to fungus growth.
Will Camellias Survive in the Winter?
Camellias will survive and bloom in the winter in certain areas of North America. They tolerate temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. If they are exposed to temperatures lower than that for consecutive days, the bloom will likely be delayed or cease to bud.
Will Camellias Survive in Direct Sunlight?
Overall, camellias prefer partial shade and diffused lighting however they can tolerate a few hours of direct morning sunlight. They should be planted or placed in an area that does not directly receive the harsh rays of the afternoon sun as this will cause the foliage to scorch.
Camellias are an impressive flowering shrub to grow, their foliage adding a welcome splash of color to any landscape. Camellias are fantastic not only for their aesthetic but also because they attract pollinators, benefitting the environment around them. Because they bloom in the winter and early spring months, it helps to know the conditions that will allow this to happen.
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Janice is a retired High School teacher who is spending her leisure years keeping busy with all sorts of projects. Aside from freelance writing, she’s an enthusiastic amateur chef, home wine maker, and tends a large raised-bed vegetable garden, while at the same time running a Bed & Breakfast.