Sunday 23 October 2022

Camellia flower buds

We have an established (but not very large) camellia growing against a wall. In the Spring, usually early March, it is dotted with pink flowers. I don't think it is the widely grown and reliable Camellia williamsii 'Donation'. The flowers are smaller and a darker pink. There is, in fact, a variety called C.'Shocking Pink'. Perhaps that is what it is.

The williamsii varieties are hardy enough for the UK so the fact that it flowers so early in the year is not usually a problem. However, the advice is not to grow it on an East-facing boundary because the rising early morning sun following a frost can spoil the flowers.

When I passed the camellia yesterday I noticed quite a few flower buds which are full of promise for next Spring. They develop during the Summer and overwinter protected in the leaf axils, patiently waiting for their moment to flourish the following year. Hydrangeas, among others, follow the same pattern.

Established plants should be able to look after themselves, but given our camellia is planted between patio paving and a wall, during the second half of the Summer I like to give a few waterings to help flower bud formation. As camellias prefer a slightly acid to neutral soil, I use rainwater from a nearby water-but, although this year this source dried up because of the drought and I had to resort to the tap.

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