The camellias' important vegetation phase begins in May, during which they should be particularly cared for and cared for.
In addition to the new growth, which is already clearly visible in many varieties, the flower buds for next year are now also being created. Now it is important that the camellias are watered regularly; the root ball must not dry out under any circumstances, as this can lead to the loss of the upcoming flowers.
I am often asked how frequently I should water. Of course, this depends on the size of the plant, its location, the microclimate in the garden and the weather conditions. In general, it is better to water thoroughly once rather than frequently in small amounts. This also applies to other plants, but particularly when it comes to camellias in pots, particular sensitivity is required. Please make sure that there is no waterlogging. A drainage layer made of clay balls or lava rock helps. Also avoid using a saucer and instead place the bucket on small feet.
From now on, fertilize regularly until the end of July once a week with a special nitrogen-rich camellia fertilizer to provide the plants with all the nutrients they need. It is important that fertilization on a moist substrate is preferably carried out in the morning or evening and not during the midday heat. From August onwards you should no longer fertilize so that the young wood can mature properly by winter.
If you want to cut camellias, you should do so immediately after they bloom. This way you don't run the risk of cutting off the buds that aren't yet visible. The cut is made 2-3 cm above the leaf axis; this allows you to correct the growth habit and achieve stronger branching in younger plants. Topiaries are often seen in Portugal and Spain; one is amazed at conical shrubs and trees or precisely trimmed hedges.
When planting out, you should use a humus-rich substrate with a slightly acidic pH value; rhododendron soil is particularly suitable. The planting hole may be a maximum of twice as large as the camellia's plant pot, which should not be planted deeper than it sits in the pot. The shallow-rooted camellias are protected from drying out with a layer of mulch in the root area. The mulch should be spread around the trunk with some distance to prevent bacteria from forming.
If you have chosen a wind-protected, partially shaded location for your camellias, they should thrive.
Camellia japonica "Midnight Magic" (pictured above) with buds, flowers and new growth on May 1st, 2020