Camellia plants like to be grown in well drained acidic soil although neutral soil is also fine if some ericaceous compost is added and mixed in well with the existing soil. Good drainage is important when growing Camellias, but they do not like to dry out completely in the summer. On heavier soils the drainage could be improved by adding some horticultural grit or sharp sand to open the soil. The new flower buds are being formed at this time of year (in Summer), so it pays to give them a generous mulch of bark chippings or something similar in the spring to conserve moisture on lighter sandy soils. Younger plants may need watering during longer dry spells until they are well established.

Camellias are great (and easy) plants for container growing, choose a generous sized pot and plant it in ericaceous compost. Ideally place the pot in a sheltered spot away from cold north or east winds and with a touch of shade – somewhere close to the house so the flowers can be appreciated on dull winter days! In a generous size pot, Camellia plants will give many years of service gracing a patio or terrace before finally and inevitably, they will need to be planted out into the open ground when they outgrow your chosen container.

These handsome plants seldom need pruning although deadheading them will keep the plants looking fresh when some of the flowers start to drop. If you do need to prune then immediately after flowering is the best time, cutting back to a strong and healthy pair of leaves. Large or overgrown Camellia plants can be reduced in size and rejuvenated by pruning hard after flowering, new growth should follow soon after, but it may take a couple of years before they flower again.

Healthy and established Camellias growing in the soil will seldom need feeding, if they do look ‘washed out’ then a general-purpose ericaceous feed in spring should restore a healthy colour fairy quickly. The same fertiliser is ideal for container grown Camellia plants.