Azaleas and Camellias
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AZALEA and CAMELLIA Care
and Camellias enjoy the partial shade and acid based
soil culture. When both plants are in bloom, they are
in a dormant stage, making this optimum time for
Camellias and Azaleas prefer locations with good
light, but need protection from strong, direct sun and
from forceful, drying winds.
When planting Azaleas and Camellias in the ground or
in a pot, we recommend using 100% Bandini Azalea Mix.
When planting in the ground, dig a hole twice as wide
and twice as deep as the root ball. The top of the
root mass should be 2 inches above the soil level at
the time of planting.
-Azaleas and Camellias need a soil that is moist,
but not soggy, throughout the year. They are not
deep-rooted. Make sure the entire shallow root zone is
moistened when watering.Check the soil with your
finger to determine how deeply any water has
penetrated. Generally a deep soaking once a week is
sufficient. Use an irrigation basin around each plant
-slow deep soaking or low sprinklers to cover ground
beneath the plant. Avoid overhead watering as wet
flowers finish much faster.
-Mir Acid -4 fee dings a year -spaced from March
through September. Roger's Soil Activator every
2 months. Never fertilize an Azalea when leaves show a
yellow or paleness between the veins. This is usually
caused by a lack of available iron. Treat with a
chelated iron product until foliage becomes
Mir Acid -April, June, and August. Roger's Soil
Activator every 2 months.
Prune Azaleas any time of the year, removing weak or
dead wood and whatever trimming is required to keep
plants shapely. One good pinching or pruning of new
spring growth in July will create more branches and
bushiness for fall bud setting.
promote bushiness in Camellias, cut out last year's
growth to the annual growth scar and several branches
will start below the cut. For height, no pruning is
-Treat aphids with Orthene. If affected with
yellow mottle (irregular splotches (f various sizes),
discard plant to prevent spreading. Root rot (brown
leaves) can be cleaned up by reducing the water and
trimming off damaged foliage. If too many buds appear,
flower production is automatically reduced. To prevent
this, simply pinch off all but one or two buds at each
Thrips (silvery foliage and leaf drop) can be cured
with Orthene. Root weevils (chewed leaf edges) can be
cured by drenching the soil and spraying the leaves
with Orthene. Chlorosis (caused by alkaline soil, lack
of iron and overwatering) can be treated with chelate
iron. Azalea blight exhibited by wilted foliage and
brown leaves, can be treated with Benomyl spray.
PROFILE - Preventing Camellia Problems
Too often lumped together with far-touchier Azaleas, Camellias (varieties of both C. japonica and c. sasanqua) are quite adaptable and very satisfying landscape plants for Southern California. In fact, old, established Camellias survive with minimal water and care, some even in full sun. Few pathogenic diseases pose serious threats - with Phytophthora root rot being the outstanding exception. Several non-pathogenic (physiological) diseases can be problems; all are easily avoided through good planting and cultural practices.
of vigor, and dieback of twigs and branches are signs
of root rot; the problem merits immediate attention.
petal (flower) blight is blamed every time a flower
rots or a petal edge turns brown. However. most often
the cause is wind or sun exposure -or accumulation of
irrigation or rain water in the flower bud. To confirm
the presence of blight: Look for brown veins running
up the petals. Bud drop can be natural: many varieties
routinely produce more flower buds than they can
support. It can also result from uneven watering (esp.
drought stress in conjunction with hot, dry winds) or overfertilizing.
leaf drop of leaves with burned edges. Corky spots or
scorched areas can also be traced to overfeeding.
Buildup of fertilizer and salts in the soil can result
in burned leaves and poor growth.
leaves with green veins indicate a lack of iron. If
condition persists, even with added iron, early stages
of root rot should be suspected.
(heat necrosis) appears as burned or yellow patches on
the tops of leaves and is more common on south or
west-facing foliage. Frequently, damage occurs after
overhanging trees are pruned. exposing
previously-protected foliage to strong sun. An early
spring heat wave can also burn soft, new growth.
Choose a planting site with good drainage and some protection from hot sun and dry winds.
the soil with plenty of organic matter; use your own
compost, commercial planting mixes, or try leaf mold
and redwood compost.
well (2-3' deep); be sure that no soil or mulch
becomes mounded up around the trunk or base of the
extremes in soil moisture: neither bone dry, nor
constantly soggy will do. Both conditions encourage
root rot and other diseases.
prudently and only during the growing season (after
flowering -September}. To avoid fertilizer burn: water
well before feeding; cut recommended amount in half
and apply twice as often. Supplement with chelated
iron, as needed.
occasionally, drenching soil several times in one day.
This will wash accumulated salts and fertilizer down
below the root system. Leach twice during the summer
months; leach container plants once per month.
overhanging trees and shrubs during cool periods to
drenches with Subdue (metalaxyl, a chemical fungicide}
provide effective control for Phytophthora, but must
be repeated indefinitely. unless watering and mulching
practices are improved.
to be on the safe side, clean up fallen flowers and
petals (every day Is good) to prevent Camellia petal
gardeners live in beautiful places because they make
them so. Joseph Joubert