Camellias 2021 – buying, planting and care

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.

Happy gardening.

Still wanting camellias? Call us first – we can be available by arrangement! Camellia Glen.

Spring is here – almost summer weather – it’s hot and dry – pretty normal.

Our camellias are all full of new growth – a great time of the year but a tricky time as new foliage on the camellias is very delicate and prone to breaking off if not handled carefully.

We are not open to the public as a general thing at this time of the year – but we can be available by arrangement – and often are – whether you want one special camellia or a dozen or 100. We just ask that you call first – 54450333 – to confirm a mutually convenient time. We are at the end of the season so we might not have every variety – but we still have lots.

Around the garden, if you want to prune your camellias, last month was the time to do it – before the new growth starts. But now is better than not at all. A judicious prune refreshes established plants and keeps them to the size and shape you want. After pruning, give a fertilise using your preferred product, mulch, mulch, mulch and water. Keep an eye out for little insects like aphids in new growth – wipe them off, hose them off or use a systemic insecticide. Aphids can distort new growth, loopers and caterpillars can chew through new growth shoots. This can be an issue in newly planted small plants.

And the oft asked question – when is the best time to plant camellias? – we suggest late autumn and into winter, when the camellias are dormant ie not into active growth. This allows the roots to get established and the foliage acclimatized before the onset of our hot and often dry spring and summer. But many folk are still buying and planting camellias now – just make sure the soil is well prepared, organic material added, don’t plant deep, mulch and water in. Water daily until established.

Remember, sasanquas make the best hedges and screens and can handle the full sun – they also perform well in semi shade. In our SE Queensland climates, we recommend at least part shade for all japonicas and hybrids and reticulatas for them to grow and flower at their best. It is the sun on the dew on the flowers in the morning that does the most damage to camellia japonica flowers – so give them some shade.

Happy gardening.

How to take camellia cuttings

We are often asked how we grow our camellias. We say we take cuttings and we have had the response – so you just cut a bit off and stick it in a pot?! Well – the answer is yes – but we are a little more particular than that. So here is our basic process – for anyone interested.

We are located on the Sunshine Coast in South East Queensland. Timings will be different for different locations.

Camellia Cuttings – We start around mid December – early summer. Places south of here would be a little later as our growth starts earlier. Exactly when is when the wood is right – the new growth needs to harden off from green to light tan. Too early (too green) and the cutting collapses. Too old and the cutting is less likely to put out roots. We take some species cuttings at different times as they put on growth differently eg we do sinensis in September. The cutting piece is usually about 3 to 4 inches (8-10cm). Depends on variety – some like Sophie Ducker or Quintessence, the cuttings is about 1inch. Expose the cambium layer by slicing down the lower 10 to 15mm of the cutting stem. We use purple Clonex gel (for semi hardwood cuttings). Some varieties strike so easily that hormone is not necessary – but why take that risk! Dip the lower part (10 – 15mm) of the cutting in and then we like to let them rest for a minute or 2 for it to stick (based on no scientific evidence but it seems like a good idea and suits our process when doing multiples of the same variety). Stick your cutting in your watered, prepared medium to a depth of about 2cm – again depends on the length of the cutting – but certainly past the cut cambium part.

The mix – Sand and peat was always the rule – one which we have never followed. It seems too heavy. We use a mix of 3 parts our normal potting mix (85% pine bark fines and 15% sand) and one part one of absorbalite (diatomaceous earth), vermiculite, perlite (we have used all 3 at different times depending on availability with no visible difference with success). Use a small pot or 40mm tube for single cuttings, water until wet (let it drain), pre poke a small hole for the cutting (this is supposed to not wipe off the hormone but the gel sticks and so this is not so much an issue as with powder – which we have never used) – but the holes help when putting in multiple cuttings. We mostly use a ‘community pot’ ( a squat 7 inch pot) and use a jig to put 25 holes in at once – 25 cuttings per pot of the same variety.

Water in. Label – variety, date, source of material. You never remember otherwise. We use a purpose built propagation house with an automated misting system – mist comes on for about 15 seconds every 10 or 15 minutes (depending on the weather, time of year and stage of the cuttings. But you probably don’t have one of these handy. So use a plastic ‘soft drink’ bottle, cut off the bottom, leave the screw lid on, and place over the cutting/s. It’s good if the bottle base is inside the pot. This makes a mini greenhouse. A plastic bag held up with wire or sticks works too. Place in a shaded position. Inspect regularly for moisture (you can water small pots from the bottom by immersing them) – and moisture condensation inside the bottle is a good indicator.

We have never used bottom heat. Our success rate would indicate that we don’t need it. Maybe it would help with more difficult varieties. As I understand it, the wisdom is that the temperature of growing medium (pot) should be higher than the ambient temp for best root promotion – and the only way to get this is bottom heat. I think that as long as the medium is a high enough temperature (which we have in summer), then striking follows without additional bottom heat.

December/Jan cuttings will have roots usually after about April (12 weeks). We leave ours much longer and feed with a weak liquid feed and Seasol. We like the roots to be pretty well developed before potting up – which we do over September and October. We use this timeframe because we are busy with other functions (sales, shows) earlier and also we don’t have the space to put down the potted up cuttings.

We pot straight into a 140mm pots. We use 8gm – a teaspoon – of a 12 month CRF (Controlled release fertiliser) per pot. Mix the fertiliser through the mix – the camellia roots will avoid a blob of fertiliser whereas a weed or thistle will engulf the lot. New growth will start Sept/Oct/Nov depending on variety/species (Japs will always start new growth before sasanquas) irrespective of when the cuttings are potted up.We expect 95% strike rate for most varieties. Some we get 10% – or something in between (retics, Mark Alan Var we have high failure rates) which is why commercial growers drop some varieties from their list – the failure rate makes it unviable commercially.

This process has worked for us well for 20 years – some is very low tech compared to what others may use but it suits us and is easily adapted for general use by anyone.

Open to the public – Friday 18 and Saturday 19 September 2020

After a number of enquiries as to when we we will be open to the public again, we have decided to open Friday 18 and Saturday 19 September 2020 – 8.00 to 3.00.

As usual we are available by arrangement at other times – please call 54450333 to make a time.

We will decide on an October date later.

There will be few camellias in flower but we will still have lots of both sasanquas and japonicas/hybrids – in 140mm pots – lots….

We are hoping for rain – the garden needs it.

Camellias – open to the public – get some

Camellias – now is the time to get your camellias and get them planted out before the new growth starts. In fact, some japonicas are starting already.
Camellia Glen is open to the public again this Friday 28 and Saturday 29 August 2020. – 8.00 to 3.00. We have sasanquas for sunny spots, for hedges and privacy screens, japonicas for shady gardens, small leaf and fragrant hybrids for highlights.
Plants in 140mm pots – most are $13.
Come visit, lots of camellias still in flower in our garden – get some for yours.

Camellias – Camellia Glen – 2 more ‘open to the public’ events for 2020 – Maleny GC ‘Spring Fair’

We are getting to the end of our camellia flowering season. While we still have dozens of garden camellias full of flower – the reticulatas, many hybrids – Nicky Crisp is a mass of flower – lots of japonicas, all the sasanquas are finished and the early flowering japs are all but done.

We will be open to the public 2 more times this season – Friday and Saturday 21 and 22 August and 28 and 29 August – 8.00 to 3.00. Please remember – no eftpos and byo carry bags. After that – by arrangement – please call 54450333 to make a mutually suitable time. Come visit – and buy a few camellias for your garden. We are planning to be at the Maleny Garden Club ‘Spring Fair’ at the Maleny Showgrounds Saturday 3 October 2020. Past our flowering season but we will will have the best range of camellias you will find.

We say it every year – but it is interesting to see comments from camellia societies ‘down south’ – Sydney and surrounds, Melbourne Adelaide – where their season is now getting into full swing, with one garden planning to open in October. By then, we are all over, the weather is well and truly warming up and too hot for camellias to hold fresh on the bush for more that a day or two. That’s just the way it is.

So for now, we just enjoy the flowers. We have pruned our driveway sasanquas already and will continue with the pruning with the objective of being all done before the spring new growth starts – around September. The reticulatas will start growth first, then the hybrids and japonicas, and finally the sasanquas. As always, don’t prune after Christmas as your camellias will be developing flower buds for season 2021. Any flushes of unwanted growth can be cut back to suit your needs.

Spring also signals growth season and for our camellias to look their best, it it also fertilising time and therefore also mulching time. For best results, scrape away the mulch around your trees, apply the ‘measured’ dose of fertiliser and then re-apply the mulch. Fertilise around the drip line – not against the trunk – and keep mulch away from the trunk too – to help prevent damage. Add new mulch where necessary. Water in well. Fertilising before new growth starts enables the plants to take up the nutrient they need to grow nice plump growth shoots which will give you the best opportunity for good strong healthy growth when the plant is ready. Mulching helps suppress weeds, keeps in moisture and insulates the soil from temperature extremes – and for us that means our hot summer temps.

As the SEQ seasonal westerlies kick in, these dry the air and dry our plants and soil. Water as necessary – check first – stick your finger into the soil – if it is damp under the mulch this should be sufficient. A wetting agent in with the water will benefit if soil, particularly with potted plants, is becoming water repellant. Always follow directions and handle all garden chemicals and fertiliser with care.

Apologies for the ‘no pics’ posts – a technical difficulty. You can also keep in touch through our FB page. Happy gardening – keep safe, keep well.

Camellia Glen’s open to the public days – just a few more for this season – walk the garden – camellia plant sales

Camellias are in full flower at the moment – particularly japonicas, hybrids and reticulatas. Some say they have flowered early, some that theirs are the best flowers ever. We put it down to great spring and summer rain – but whatever the reason, Camellias are having a great year.
Here are a few that are flowering in our garden now.

Camellia Glen has another 4 planned Fridays and Saturdays where we will be open to the public – 8.00 to 3.00.
7 and 8 August, 14 and 15 August, 21 and 22 August, 28 and 29 August 2020 – Covid-19 rules considered.
We have a great range of great camellias in 140mm pots still available this season.
Come and visit, wander our garden, buy some camellias for yours.

Hybrid Nicky Crisp
Japonica Wilamina

Camellia Glen – nursery and garden – open to the Public – Friday 31 July Saturday 1 August 2020

Our Camellia Glen website has had a few problems recently and has been largely inaccessible. We have addressed some issues and apart from some tweaking, we seem to be back live. Thanks to our support ‘team’…

We will have the garden and nursery open Friday 31 July and Saturday 1 August 2020 – 8.00 to 3.00. We have an extensive range of camellias – sasanquas that can take and love full sun, japonicas which prefer at least part shade to grow and flower at their best in our climate, hybrids, miniatures, fragrant camellias, some species camellias and a reducing number of reticulatas. Most of our stock is available in 140mm pots with a very few random varieties in 200mm pots.

Roam the garden and and nursery, make your selections yourselves or we can assist you. Whether you are wanting one or two plants or a larger number of camellias for a hedge or screen, or perhaps you have created a large garden space and need a hundred plants to fill it – drop by, see our 400 or so camellias growing in our garden, get some for yours.

Remember, our website has most of the information you are likely to need regarding camellia culture, how, when and where to grow them and post planting care. We are still ‘mid winter’ and while we are likely to have some cool days yet, and the westerlies yet to come that dry out our plants, now is the best time to be planting your camellias out in the garden. Let them get established before the stress of new growth in spring closely followed by early summer heat. Hopefully we will get some good spring rain, but meanwhile keep all your garden, particularly newly planted camellias, well watered.

We will have further days where we will be open including 7 and 8 August. Other times, you can call 54450333 to arrange a mutually convenient time to visit.

Get out into your garden and enjoy this beautiful SE Queensland weather.

One of my favourites – Japonica Cherries Jubilee

Camellias – Friday 10 and Saturday 11 July 2002 – at Camellia Glen Sunshine Coast

And so, this weekend would have been Queensland Garden Expo at the Nambour Showgrounds – and unfortunately this too has been cancelled. For many years Camellia Glen has had a stand at the QGE with a great range of camellias.

Get your camellias this Friday and Saturday 10 and 11 July 2020 direct from us – open 8.00 to 3.00 – and you will be able to choose from our entire range of sasanquas, japonicas, hybrids, and a diminishing range of reticulatas and species camellias. And you can wander our garden- there should be plenty in flower this weekend.

Please byo carry bags and note we do not accept eftpos.
See you then.

Camellias in the garden – now

Camellia hybrid Maleny – with bees

Our camellia season is in full swing in our garden with the sasanquas just about finished and the japonicas and hybrids full of flower.

So people are asking – when is the best time to plant camellias? – and the answer is – Now! Apart from benefiting from any flowers out now, the plants are largely dormant – that is – not in a growth phase. So planting now allows them to get established in your gardens, the roots growing out into the surrounding soil, and established before the rigors of spring growth, followed closely by what summer throws at us.

Get you Camellias now.

We will be open to the public again this Friday 10 and 11 July – 8.00 to 3.00. This would have been Queensland Garden Expo weekend which has been a casualty of the COVID-19 restrictions. Come and get your camellias directly from us – and you can choose from all our varieties.

Remember – no eftpos, and BYO carry bags.