Camellia, a native of China, is one of the great ornamentals found in Texas gardens. Growing in warm climates, this evergreen adds structure and texture to the landscape with its upright shape and glossy leaves. Flowers, arriving in winter or early spring, resemble roses or peonies. Much of Texas, especially the warm, humid east, offers an ideal environment for growing this old-fashioned Southern favorite.
Choose a well-drained shady site for your camellia that gets morning and evening sunlight. Make sure your site can accommodate the ultimate size of the camellia you have chosen.
Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and 1 1/2 times as wide.
Amend the excavated soil with one-third humus-rich compost.
Place the new plant in the hole so that the top of the root ball is even with the existing soil level.
Backfill the hole with the amended soil.
Cover the planting hole with 2 inches of mulch. Keep the mulch 2 inches away from the trunk of the camellia to discourage excessive moisture, which can cause bark rot.
Water deeply to settle the soil around the root ball. Use a vitamin-rich liquid plant starter according to label directions to encourage healthy root development.
Water throughout the first season to keep the soil from drying out. Be vigilant about keeping the soil moist during times of drought.
As flower petals and leaves fall in late winter, rake them up and throw them in the trash to discourage mildew and blight. Replenish mulch at this time to shade roots and conserve moisture.
Once a year, after flowering, use an acid-rich fertilizer suitable for acid-loving ornamental trees and shrubs. Used according to label directions, it will encourage moderate growth, rich green foliage and abundant flower production.