Camellias are highly prized for their beautiful, glossy green foliage and striking flowers. While they grow very slowly, camellias are heavy feeders. Some camellia plants may perform well without being fertilized. However, most will do better with regular feeding, which is usually applied at regular intervals through spring and early summer. Camellias also love acidic soil. Ensuring that the soil pH is correct will also help camellias to grow. With the right combination of food, water and soil conditions, camellias with thrive and bloom prolifically.
Select a well-balanced fertilizer with proper amounts of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. A 4-8-8 or 2-10-10 fertilizer will work well for established plants. New plants may need more nitrogen to stimulate growth. Try a 12-4-8 or 10-10-10. Ensure that the fertilizer also contains minor elements.
Set up a good schedule for feeding. Apply the quick-release fertilizers three times during the spring. Feed in early March, May and July. Slow-release fertilizers may be applied once in March. Do not fertilize dormant plants in the fall or winter. This can severely damage the root system.
Water the camellia plant thoroughly the day before feeding. Avoid feeding during hot periods to protect sensitive roots.
Apply 1 tbsp. for every foot of plant height. An 8-foot tree will require 1/2 cup of fertilizer. Spread the fertilizer on the soil under the plant and a little beyond the drip line.
Check the pH of the soil using the pH tester. If the pH is above 6.5, increase the acidity of the soil by adding an acidifer. Also, add pine mulch or pine straw to improve the acidity of the soil.
Rake the soil and water the fertilizer in thoroughly. This will allow the fertilizer to effectively penetrate the soil.