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Don't let the cold weather make your garden look dull!

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Written by Deb Delahunty, Horticulture teacher

The cold weather has certainly set in - but cold weather doesn’t necessarily mean a boring garden. If you’re lucky enough to have a Camellia sasanqua growing it should be thick with blooms, blooms that fall and carpet the ground with colourful petals. A well maintained, Camellia is enough to brighten even the coldest day.

When it comes to Camellias, the Camellia sasanqua is the earliest to flower – followed closely by the popular Camellia japonica. Surprisingly enough – these colourful shrubs are members of the Tea family (Theaceae). Camellias enjoy a sunny position which is needed for good flower production and they are relatively easy to grow. The Camellia can be used for a variety of purposes and need little maintenance.  

Before you race out and buy yourself a Camellia make sure the chosen spot for planting is prepared correctly. Add composted manure to the soil and ensure the position is free draining. Check the pH of the soil, it needs to be slightly acidic. When you first plant your Camellia it will need regular water until it’s established.

A Camellia sasanqua in full flower at the Wodonga TAFE campus.  The fallen petals make up part of the display.

The Camellia is extremely versatile. It can be used as a shrub/small tree in a lawn, it can be used for hedging and it does beautifully as a tub specimen. A potted Camellia in flower makes a fabulous birthday or housewarming present.

Camellias are available in a range of growth habits, from smallish shrubs to spreading small trees and the range of flower colours is extensive.

A bit of pruning is required by the Camellia. Prune around spring time to encourage more growth and to promote a heavy set of flowers the following year. An application of fertiliser never goes astray. If you prune and fertilise at the same time and then top up the mulch during spring that’s pretty much all your plant will need apart from the odd application of water during summer.

Once established the Camellia have proven itself to be fairly drought tolerant and only require an irregular deep watering. You can check regularly for pests and diseases but you’ll find the Camellia sasanqua is pretty resistant to ailments.

If your garden lacks colour during the winter – seriously think about popping in a Camellia.



AgVet Chemical Users Course is the industry standard for training in chemical use, storage and handling.  Wodonga TAFE will be running the AgVet Chemical Users Course on the 17th and 24th July (2 day course).  Cost is $360.  For more information ring 1300 MY TAFE (1300 69 8233) or email


Camellia sasanqua in full flower at the Wodonga TAFE campus.  The fallen petals make up part of the display.


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