Camellia season; Summer care and maintenance

Early sasanquas are spot flowering – that means camellia season is almost upon us.

It has been a tough start to summer – hot and dry – and our garden plants have suffered.

We are, however, far better off than many who have been devastated by fire and drought. We have been lucky to have received some 32mm of rain over the past 48 hours with more coming – according to the forecasts (here at Camellia Glen on the Sunshine Coast) and this seems to be somewhat widespread over most of the South East.

Even new season plants, under shade, in the Nursery, have had new foliage scorched. These will fall, and now that we have cooler summer temps – interesting I think it’s cooler when it only gets to 32 – and a bit of rain, these plants will recover and continue to put on new growth.

As usual at this time of the year, we discourage folk from planting out camellias – mid summer is not the best time to plant – wait until autumn or later into winter. This allows the largely dormant plants to settle into their new environment before the spring growing season. Having said that, we still sell a lot of camellias now – just be aware of the challenge.

Keep an eye on new growth and look for pesky aphids, loopers and caterpillars that like to chew on new growth. Hose or rub off aphids and squish the loopers. Look out for red spider mite damage – usually on the mature foliage lower on the bush where it is sheltered. Use organic alternatives to discourage these – we use a systemic miticide spray as a preventative and curative to keep the plants looking at their best.

Keep up water where you can, fertilise if you haven’t done that in spring, and mulch, mulch and mulch. Organic mulch like pine bark, wood chips, sugar cane mulch adds nutrient to the soil as it breaks down, it suppresses weed growth, retains moisture, and insulates the soil from the summer heat.

This is the latest time this season that you can prune – some sasanquas are putting on flower buds now – we even have some early flowers on Bonanza, Mikuni-Ko and Something Special – and you don’t want to cut them off. Japonicas will be budding up soon too so take care what you prune.

We will have some open days again this year starting after Easter – when the camellias will be starting to flower in earnest. We will post the program here when we know. Meanwhile, we continue to be available by arrangement – please call to arrange a mutually convenient time – 54450333.

Open Days – Friday 2 and Saturday 3 August 2019

This will be our last planned ‘open days’ for the 2019 season. After this, we will continue to be open by arrangement – just call us to check that we are available.

During the camellia season, we have had lots of folk visit, wander our garden and see out beautiful camellias – and other things – in flower. We hope you have enjoyed this – we do every day.

8.00am to 3.00pm.

Queensland Camellia Society Show 2019 – what a great day!

Yesterday – Sunday 28 July 2019 – what a great day at the Auditorium, Mt Coottha Botanic Gardens. Great weather, named camellia displays, Ikebana displays and camellia floral arrangements, guided camellia garden walks, camellia talks, camellia plant sales, and refreshments – all day.

Sunday 28 July 2019 – Queensland Camellia Society Show and Sale

This Sunday, 28 July 2019, the Queensland Camellia Society Show and Sale is on again, at the Auditorium at the Mt Coottha Botanical Gardens, Brisbane. 9.00 am to 3.00pm

Displays of named varieties of camellias, camellia talks and demonstrations, Ikebana displays, hosted camellia garden stroll, raffles, refreshments – morning teas and lunch, tea and coffee.

Queensland Camellia Society members will be on hand to answer your camellia questions – and camellia plant sales.

$4 entry

Planting out a camellia – a basic ‘how to’

We are often asked what to do when planting out a camellia in the garden.

Well, we have been planning to plant out as many of what we call the Tama no Ura family – seedlings that originated from Tama no Ura. These include Class Act, Ena’s Joy, Strike a Light, Tama Beauty, Tama Honnie, Volunteer, a couple of unregistered seedlings of ours – that sort of thing.

So today we planted out the first one – Ena’s Joy.

Here are some pics of the process.

We had pre-dug a hole some weeks ago and added composted material, horse poo and covered it all with mulch. So we re-dug the hole ready to go..

Keep in mind the plant’s needs when selecting your planting spot – well drained, slightly acidic soil, part shade for these japonicas.

Taking the plant from the pot, we see that the root ball is fairly solid so we loosen the root ball by ‘raking’ down the side of the root ball and across the bottom with a 3 pronged hand cultivator. This will take the roots out of that ‘pot’ shape and encourage new root growth when replanted. If it has been dry, it is a good idea to put the plant, pot and all, into a bucket of water – totally submerge it until the air bubbles are all out. This way we know that the entire root ball is wet through.

We found lots of worms enjoying the organic matter and poo so we relocated them to a safer spot for their protection.

Trial place the plant in the hole – this one was way too deep so we back filled so that the plant was still slightly higher than the surrounding garden. This allows for the soil in the hole to settle once planted and watered in. We always like to have the plant planted just a little higher than the garden. Position the plant so that it is facing the way you want it.

Firm in the plant – gently – I lightly tread around the root ball. It should not be packed down too tightly.

We added a light sprinkle of fertiliser, the plant already had fertiliser in the pot so it did not need much. We will add more in spring.

Place the name tag where you can find it. We always have the tag on the right hand side of the trunk when standing below or facing the ‘front’ of the plant. We like to have the name of the plant and a reference as to where or who we got it from. Stick the marker into the soil in your preferred position – somewhere you will be able to find it again.

Water the plant in. We have had 135mm of rain in the past 2 days so both the plant and the new position were nicely moist. We still used half a bucket of water.

Mulch – we used wood chip that has been standing for a few months – ready to be used. Any organic mulch is useful – avoiding mushroom compost; mulch keeps the moisture in, suppresses weed growth, insulates the soil from temperature extremes and adds nutrient as it decomposes. We always throw down some nitrogen rich fertiliser – blood and bone is useful – before we mulch.


Stand back and enjoy – or in our case – one down, 9 to go!

See us at Queensland Garden Expo too

Some of the camellias prepared to take to Queensland Garden Expo at Nambour Showgrounds next weekend – Friday, Saturday and Sunday 12, 13 and 14 July 2019.

We are also open this Friday 5 and Saturday 6 July – 8.00 to 3.00

Lots of hybrids

A range of sasanquas – for the full sun

Huge range of sasanquas, japonicas, hybrids, some species and reticulatas

Japonicas – more to choose from

Probably the best range of camellias you will ever see in one place – including these little beauties – Tama no Ura and Courtesan.

Japonica Tama no Ura

Japonica Courtesan

Also open tomorrow Friday 5 July and Saturday 6 July.

See our web site blog for details.

Camellias – the best flower for a winter garden –

A personal opinion – and while I also love and enjoy other winter flowers – Camellias put on the best show at this time of the year for us.

At this time of the year there is little maintenance – unless you are planting out more – so now is the time to enjoy some of the most beautiful flowers around.

Reticulata Flower Girl – pretty much in full flower

Japonica Extravaganza – a favourite

We are open again Saturday 22 June 2019. We have still an extensive range of camellias – sasanquas, japonicas and hybrids – probably the most you will see in one place. Come visit, wander our garden, see some of our camellias in flower.

For more open days see our previous web site blogs here.

One of the rarer camellia species – Amplexicaulis

Another of the rarer camellia species – Lucii

Another big camellia weekend – displays and plant sales

This weekend – Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June – we will be at the Maleny Garden Club ‘Gardening on the Edge’ – Maleny Showgrounds – 9.00am to 4.00pm. See us inside the main hall – we will have an extensive range of camellias – not every one of the 200 varieties we grow – but still more varieties than you are likely to see anywhere else. The nursery will also be open both days as well and we have a bunch more varieties available here. Open 8.00am to 3.00pm both days.

There is a great camellia display in the hall as well as our bloom display.

Come and see us in Maleny or visit us at the nursery in Palmwoods. We have an extensive range of camellias – sasanquas for full sun, for hedges and screens, for individual garden plantings. These give great autumn flowers for 3 to 4 months and attract birds and bees to the garden. We have dozens of different varieties available.

Sasanqua Plantation Pink

Japonicas prefer part shade – flowers, particularly the lighter colored formal double flowers, will burn in the sun – and particularly the morning sun. So pick your spot and plant wisely to get the best results and perfect flowers from late autumn and into winter. Again, these will flower for 3 to 4 months and flowers with stamen showing will attract and feed the birds and bees. These are a great addition to any garden.

Japonica Alba Plena

Then there is the cluster flowering fragrant hybrids – see Sweet Emily Kate, Scentuous, Fragrant Pink, Mandy, Our Melissa, Cinnamon Cindy – other fragrant ones like High Fragrance, Isaribi, Tarokaja, species like Miyagii, Grijsii, Sinensis, Rosiflora.

Camellia species Sinensis – the tea camellia

And if you are really keen, ask us about the yellow flowered species camellias. We have a very small number of seedling camellia Nitidissima – available at the nursery only.

Camellia species Euphlebia – one of the many rare yellow flowered camellias.

Come and visit – see the 400 camellias in our garden – buy some for yours….

Camellia Nursery and Garden Open Days – an update

Our camellia season is in full swing – many sasanquas are still in full flower and more and more japonicas are flowering each day. We have had a busy few weeks so far with visits from camellia lovers – both on our open days and others calling to come in at other times.

Collection of picked camellia blooms – from our garden

So many people express surprise at the number of camellias (and other plants and trees) in our garden and the number of varieties that we have available in the nursery. Although we are not growing nearly as many plants or varieties these days, it is still more than you can see anywhere else – certainly in SE Queensland.

Here is a repeat of our plan for next few months:

Friday 31 May and Saturday 1 June – open

Friday 7 June – CLOSED

Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June 2019 – Maleny Garden Club ‘Gardening on the Edge’ – Maleny Showgrounds. See

Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June 2019 – open (we will be at GOE and the nursery will be open as well on this weekend)

Friday 14 and Saturday 15 June 2019 – open

Friday 21 CLOSED

Saturday 22 June 2019 – open

CLOSED 28 and 29 June 2019 – rest days for us …..

Friday 5 and Saturday 6 July 2019 – open

Friday 12, Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 July 2019 – Queensland Garden Expo, Nambour Showgrounds. See We will be there at site No 295 with the most extensive range of camellias that you are likely to see anywhere. Our nursery will be CLOSED this weekend.

CLOSED Friday 19, Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July. See us at the Toowoomba Camellia Show.

Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July 2019 – Toowoomba Camellia Show – Toowoomba TAFE. See us there. We will have an extensive range of camellias available. See

CLOSED Friday 26 and Saturday 27 July 2019. See us at Queensland Camellia Society Annual Show and Sale, Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens, Brisbane.

Sunday 28 July 2019 – Queensland Camellia Society Annual Show and Sale, Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens – see us there. We will have an extensive range of camellias available. Also Camellia displays, camellia talks, morning teas/lunches and more.

Friday 2 and Saturday 3 August 2019 – open

This will be all of our planned Open Days for this season.

As usual, we will continue to be open at arrangement.

Japonica Emperor of Russia Variegated

Camellia Sale – Garden Open – this weekend. And some growing notes

At this time of the season, most camellias go into growth dormancy but flower their head off – early sasanquas starting around February/March and the last of the japonicas and reticulatas finishing about August. It’s too hot for them in SE Queensland by then anyway.

Young plants – say to about 18 months old, will decide whether to put on flower buds or not. If they decide to bud up, vegetative growth – leaves – pretty much stops while the plant puts its energy into the flower. If the plant does not put on flower buds, it will quite often have another flush of growth instead, especially if the plant has been fertilised late in the season eg late summer/autumn. There is nothing wrong with this and the plant will just be a bit bigger a bit earlier – the flowers will come next autumn/winter.

We find, for the best flower display, prune back your camellias after they flower coming into spring/early summer, give them a good feed, mulch well and water over our hot summer period. Don’t prune after about Christmas as you will probably be cutting off wood/branches that will produce flowers.

Camellia sasanqua Jane Morgan

Camellia sasanqua Plantation Pink

Camellia Japonica Little Man

Our nursery and garden are open again this weekend – see earlier blogs here for details.

We have more camellias than most folk know exist – come and visit.