In addition to growing and selling camellias for most of my life, I have been a landscape designer and professional horticulturist for over 43 years.in the landscape industry, shrubs are planted all during the year. The one thing that I have learned over all these years is that fall and winter are the very best times to Plant most shrubs in the south, and that concept definitely applies to camellias.
In northern areas where camellias can be grown,it is exactly the opposite. Up there, spring is the best time for planting. They use their milder summers to acclimate their camellias and other plantings by installing them in the spring. In the south, we use our milder winters to acclimate the plants. Planting camellias during the cooler seasons means less problems getting your plants established in the garden.
During the cool seasons, plants have less water requirements. Therefore, it is less likely that your camellias will dry out and be stressed before their roots grow out into the surrounding soil. The other really great thing about cool seasons planting is that your plant’s roots will continue to grow into the soil during this time of the year in the south. The whole idea is to get those roots growing out of the root ball and establishing a strong root system in the soil around them as quickly as possible.
One thing to remember is to not be afraid to water your plants this time of year. You don’t want them to dry out, so continue to water them even though they don’t need as much water as when planting them during warmer times of the year. It is a great time to plant camellias in the fall, and our selections are probably the best during this season. So,…what are you waiting for? Fall is an excellent time for all you weekend gardeners to get some new camellias planted in your garden! I’ll see you in the nursery!
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Gene Phillips is one of the owners of Gene’s Nursery in Savannah, Ga. He is a 2nd generation grower and attributes his love of Camellias to his father, who inspired him to breath in the beauty that they bring to him but more importantly to others. In his ‘free’ time, you’ll find him wandering through old gardens, trying to identify flowers or taking countless number of photos to share with others! He also enjoys meeting people and comparing ‘garden’ stories.