Camellias (Camellia japonica) are a group of evergreen, flowering shrubs indigenous to China. They are revered for their showy 3 to 5 inch wide, frilly flowers that bloom in late winter through early spring. Thousands of varieties of camellias are available to the home gardener and most are as easy to grow. Camellias make for good container-grown plants provided they are planted in slightly acidic soil and not over watered.
Choose planting pots for the camellias that are large enough to accommodate the root system on each of the camellias. Do not use overly large planting pots that can hold excess moisture and cause the roots to rot. According to camellia.org, the pots should, ideally, taper downward.
Place the planting pots in a location in your garden that can provide partial shade in hotter southern climates and morning sun with dappled afternoon shade in cooler northern climates.
Mix aged plant-based compost, pine bark, coarse peat moss and oak leaf mold to create a camellia potting mix. Commercial camellia planting mix can benefit from mixing two parts of it with one part pine bark and one part coarse peat moss. This helps improve the acidity of the planting mix.
Scoop the potting mix into the containers until each is approximately one-third full. Pack the soil gently using a trowel, the bottom of a 1-gallon pot or your hands.
Lay the camellia on its side, being careful not to break any branches. If the camellia is growing in a 3- or 5-gallon planting pot, use a pair of all-purpose snips to cut along the sides of the pot, starting at its drain holes. If planting from a 1-gallon pot, strike along the bottom of the pot, at the drain holes, using a stout piece of wood or a small hammer.
Place the camellia in its new growing container and inspect how it is sitting in the planting pot. Ideally the top of the root system should be sitting no lower than 1 to 2 inches below the top of the rim.
Scoop in potting mix in and around the root system of the camellia to secure it in the pot and check the plant's position again. If correct, fill the remainder of the pot with soil, keeping the top of the camellias root system at the same level in the soil as it was growing at in the original pot. Pack the soil down in the planting pot, to remove any air pockets.
Water each camellias thoroughly until you see water coming out of the drain holes. Plan on watering the container grown camellias twice weekly during the summer.