Mulch is such an important part of camellia gardening, and our customers are always asking about what material works best as mulch. In the picture above, we are using pruning clippings as a mulch for the front of our nursery. There are many materials available for mulch such as pine straw, pine bark, leaves, cypress mulch, and more. It does not mater which type of organic material that you use for mulch, but it is important to understand the reasons for maintaining an adequate mulch around your camellias.
An adequate layer of mulch in our area is usually around 3-4 inches in thickness. If your mulch is very thin or beginning to thin out, it is a good idea to thicken the mulch up by adding extra material. Mulch helps to keep weeds under control by creating a barrier between the soil surface and and potential weed seed that may be present. In addition, mulch helps to conserve moisture in the soil by providing a top layer that will minimize drying of the soil from sun and wind. Mulch helps to keep the soil a more even temperature year round. It makes the soil warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Also, mulch provides a layer of organic material that will slowly break down and provide an ideal environment for feeder root development near the surface of the plants. Mulch keeps soil splatter off of your camellias during periods of heavy rain, and last but not least, mulch looks good as well.
Maintaining and adequate mulch around your camellias is a vital part of camellia gardening.
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.