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A family of teahouses. Homeland - China, India, Indonesia and Japan, mainly branched shrubs and small trees, more than 80 species in total.
The most famous Japanese Camellia Camellia japonica is an evergreen shrub, in nature up to 3 m in height, in indoor conditions it grows on average up to 80-100 cm. Leaves are oblong-ovate, leathery, with a jagged edge, pointed at the end. They sit on branches alternately, on short petioles. Camellia stems are woody, young shoots are purple-brown, old ones with gray-brown bark
Over the centuries-old history of cultural cultivation, many forms and varieties have been bred for camellias. There are simple flowers, semi-double, anemone, peony, rose-shaped and others. Japanese camellia is relatively winter-hardy, grows well in climatic zones 7-9. Most of the species of camellias are greenhouse and garden plants; they do not like heat either in winter or in summer. In nature, they grow at an altitude of about 400 - 1000 m above sea level, which means relative coolness and high air humidity.
Camellia is a very demanding plant, does not tolerate soil salinity (hard water), requires a cool and well-ventilated room. It can only be grown by patient and experienced growers who have the opportunity to provide wintering on an insulated balcony.
Temperature: cool is required - in summer it is optimal from 20 to 24 ° С during the day, 16-18 ° С at night. Camellias very poorly tolerate heat above 27 ° C. In winter (from October to February) 8-10 ° C with very rare watering, the permissible limit in winter is slightly above zero (theoretically, it can be up to minus 3 ° C (with the pot insulated and dry). Already at a temperature of 12 ° C camellias shed flowers and buds.
How to preserve camellia in winter: if you do not have an insulated loggia or winter garden, the only way to preserve camellia at home is to fence it off the warm air of the room on the window. In this regard, wooden frames are preferable to plastic windows. Along the edge of the window sill, you need to install a sheet of plexiglass, see how this can be done in the forum thread Placing plants on the windowsills in winter. If the frames are wooden, the temperature of + 5-12 ° C is maintained on the windowsill, if the windows are plastic, then from 12 to 20 ° C, you can leave slot ventilation. If plexiglass is not available, use greenhouse film.
Lighting: bright diffused lighting, shaded from direct sunlight from March to August in the afternoon, morning sun is the best. In summer, it feels good outdoors in a semi-shady place. Rearranging camellias, changing position to the light source is difficult. The western window is not suitable for camellias - it is very hot, although the light is good. It will not bloom in partial shade.
Watering: moderate, after drying the upper part of the soil at temperatures up to 20 ° C, at a higher temperature - according to the rate of drying of the soil, if it's hot, then water the camellia abundantly and often, but at the same time the soil should remain loose! Avoid waterlogging the soil - when the soil on the surface of the pot dries for more than 2 days. At a temperature of 12 ° C and below, watering very carefully, touch with your finger - until the middle of the pot, the earth should have time to dry.
What water to water camellias with: soft, free from salts, especially iron and calcium, and warm: 3-4 degrees warmer than the air temperature. The water must be settled for at least 12 hours; it is better to use filtered water
Air humidity: Camellias love at least 50%, better 60-65%, therefore they require frequent spraying of the leaves. When the flowers bloom, spraying is stopped, but you can humidify the air if you put wet sphagnum moss around the pot. Moreover, raw moss should not lie on the surface of the earth near the camellia trunk, but outside the pot (on a wide pallet).
Top dressing: from the moment new shoots grow with fertilizers for deciduous plants, with a sufficient dose of nitrogen. After the first 2-3 dressings with an interval of 2 weeks, you can fertilize with fertilizers for flowering plants - with a high dose of potassium, phosphorus and a low nitrogen content. If a transplant is carried out in the spring, then you need to wait 1.5 months with top dressing, then immediately use mineral fertilizers for flowering plants. Ideally, the fertilizer formula for camellias should be NPK 10:10:10.
Transplant: at the end of the first growth in June-July, young plants are transplanted annually, adults in 2-3 years. When planting a camellia, it is unacceptable to deepen (cover with earth) the root collar. Camellias prefer acidic soils. You can make the following soil for camellias: 1 part of leaf, 1 part of coniferous (or pine bark), 1 part of universal peat soil (or garden humus) and 1 part of fine gravel (zeolite granules). For mature and old plants, part of the sod land is added to this soil. When buying land for camellias, potting mixes for rhododendrons are best suited. The pot will fit wide with a margin for a high drainage layer. Camellias are formed by cutting and cutting weak shoots.
Camellia - legends, myths, reality.
Reproduction: cuttings in summer with the use of phytohormones and lower soil heating up to 25 ° C. Rooting lasts about 2 months, it is better to use a mini greenhouse.
From personal experience, Elena Kulikova: I have a camellia on the western window on the loggia, with constant ventilation, I water it with acidified water as soon as the top layer dries up quite a bit. But she has very good drainage! Camellia does not tolerate hot weather and stagnant air. The temperature is about 17-22 ° C and fresh air is just that. Above 25 ° C, it starts to feel bad. In winter, the camellia sleeps so it can be rotated and trimmed.
Camellia has two growth periods.
- The first comes in February: new leaves appear and young shoots start to grow. In early spring, many buds appear, which fall off if the plant is rearranged, as well as with a sharp change in air temperature or soil moisture.
- The second period is summer, when flower buds are formed, which will grow in late winter or early March.
Duration of flowering camellia from 28 to 70 days. It blooms better and more abundantly in cool and lighted rooms at a temperature of 6-8 ° C. Store-bought camellias are usually all covered with buds and flowers (which is achieved in greenhouses with the help of appropriate farming techniques, stimulants, and precisely measured dressings). But to achieve such flowering in six months or a year in your own apartment is not an easy task.
For camellias, a dormant period is required, for this, after flowering, you need to reduce watering, and stop fertilizing completely.
Another important point, if during the winter warming suddenly came and the temperature rose above the prescribed 10-12 ° C, on sunny days the camellia may decide that spring has come and start growing and forming buds prematurely. We know that winter will return, but the growing color greatly weakens the plant, so the growing shoots need to be plucked out.