Camellia japonica 'Desire'
- Position: partial shade (but not east-facing)
- Soil: moist but well-drained, humus-rich, acid soil (or ericaceous compost for container-grown specimens)
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: January to March
- Hardiness: fully hardy
The formal, semi-double flowers of this gorgeous variety are mainly a pale blush pink or white, but each petal has a darker pink edge, which gives them a distinctive bi-coloured effect. They look very pretty when in flower in late winter and early spring and they make a striking focal point in a seasonal planting scheme. Their glossy evergreen foliage also makes them a valuable garden shrub, which will provide structure and interest throughout the year. Alternatively find a large pot and fill it with ericaceous compost and you will have a super specimen for the patio.
Garden care: To prevent damage to the emerging buds and flowers protect from cold, dry winds and early morning sun. Water established plants in dry weather to prevent bud drop. Apply a balanced liquid fertiliser in mid-spring and again in June. Top-dress annually with shredded bark or well-rotted leaf mould. After flowering lightly trim or prune any branches that spoil the appearance of the plant.
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I have a number of Camellias, which are flowering well. But one has developed brown leaves, with shrunken buds. It is West facing and sheltered, so frost bite seems an unlikely cause. It has been very vigorous for about 5 years + What might be the problem? Any cure? MichaelAsked on 4/7/2010 by Michael McAvoy
A:Hello Michael, I'm afraid I have not been able to determine what has happened to your Camellia to cause this browning. A spell of drought may be the cause, but this would normally take several weeks (if not months) to become apparent, so the damage may have occurred weeks ago. Other more serious things to be aware of are Pestalotiopsis, which is caused by a fungus or Phytopthora, a much more serious problem that is untreatable. I'm sorry not to be more help. HelenAnswered on 4/8/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Winter flowering shrubs and climbers to plant with new hedge
Hello, I have newly planted a hedge (made up from Hornbeam, Rosa rugosa, Blackthorn, Cornus, Hawthorn and Hazel) about 50ft long. I have been told that if I was to plant amongst the hedge some winter flowering Clematis such as 'Wisley Cream' it would give some nice colour these bleak winter months when the hedge is bare of foliage. The hedge is south facing and although the ground is ???good??? heavy Cambridgeshire clay the hedge has been planted in a trench back filled with leaf mulch, chipped wood and spent peat. Although I have said about in-planting Clematis in the hedge, I am open to other plant suggestions if you have any. Regards TerryAsked on 12/31/2009 by Terry Allum
A:Hello Terry, If you click on the following link it will take you to all our winter flowering climbers - of which the Jasminum is tougher and more like a shrub. http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/climbers/plcid.15/vid.204/ Alternatively, this link will take you to all our winter flowering shrubs. http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/plcid.1/vid.204/ I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 1/5/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Plant help with Camellia pruning, bugs on our Acer, Cornus not growing and our Philadelphus still not flowering!
I have some queries regarding a few plants purchased from Crocus which I'm hoping you can help me with. This year we purchased "Camellia ?? williamsii 'Debbie'" and it seems to be growing nicely already, however it's very straggly, it arrived with two stems tied to a cane. The stems have continues to grow, and it's now tied to a longer cane, but it's showing no signs of bushing out. Will it do this with more time or do we need to start pruning to encourage it? We also bought "Cornus alba 'Sibirica'(red-barked dogwood)" and have it in a nice sunny position. It's lost its leaves for the winter and the stems are lovely, but it hasn't grown at all since we bought it (in June). Is this normal or do I need to do anything specific to help it along? We bought a Japanese Maple "(Acer palmatum var. dissectum Atropurpureum Group)" a few years ago but has recently become infested with some kind of beetle. We didn't notice anything, until we were moving the tub at the weekend and found the tree, soil and side of the pot coated in little grey/brown beetles slightly bigger than aphids. I've sprayed it with a pesticide which seems to have killed them, but I'm wondering what they were and what if anything can be done to ensure they don't come back, preferably without having to keep coating it with pesticides. Finally, we also bought a Mock Orange (Philadelphus Manteau d'Hermine). We originally had it in a tub, where it grew at an enormous rate, but it had no flowers. This year it seemed to be pot-bound, so we transplanted it into the garden, in a nice sunny position. It has continued to grow in both width and height, but to date has still had no flowers. Any suggestions? Thanks MarkAsked on 10/21/2009 by Anonymous
A:Hello Mark, Young Camellias can be very variable in shape, and some pruning is often needed to encourage a balanced, bushy shape. If yours is long and thin, then you can encourage it to bush out by pinching out the growing tips and shorten over-long stems. Ideally this should be done in spring, after it has finished flowering but before the leaf buds break. As for the Cornus, it may simply be concentrating on putting on new root growth rather than top growth, or perhaps you have very heavy soil, which will slow growth down. You should not really be feeding many plants at this time of the year as you can do more harm than good by encouraging new growth at this time of the year. I would however expect to see some signs of growth in spring next year, at which point you can start feeding again. I am not really sure what insects you found on your Acer, but it may have been woodlice. These are completely harmless, but they do eat decaying organic matter such as leaves etc and they do like cool, damp spots to hide out in. Finally, there are a number of reasons why plants don't flower including too much shade, not enough water or nutrients, or pruning at the wrong time of the year. I am not really sure why yours has not produced buds, but you can often give them a bit of a push by feeding with a high potash fertiliser during the growing season. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 10/22/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Hello, I would like to buy my Mum something lovely to plant in her garden as a thank you gesture for putting up with me while I've been doing my degree. I have no idea where to start. I saw in an article about pink daffodils and thought that sounded lovely - is this the right time of year to buy them? Ideally I'd like to get her something that will last a long time, something that she can nurture, and also looks very pretty. Can you help me please? I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Many thanks, KatieAsked on 8/30/2009 by Katie Bowkett
A:Hello again Katie, I think the bulbs would be lovely, but they do make it hard to have a perfect lawn as after they have finished flowering, you should not cut them back until they have died right back - there is also the issue of digging them up to plant them. If however
you think she would love it, then you could plant a combination of the following - just click on the links to go straight to them.
snowdrops (flowering Jan-Feb)
Alternatively, perhaps you should opt for a nice pot and a flowering shrub like a Camellia
http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.rhododendron/ I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 9/1/2009 by Katie Bowkett
A:Hello Katie, There are so many lovely plants it is difficult to know where to start. It would help if you could give me an idea of what type of garden your mum had, if she has a preference for a particular style of planting scheme, how large the garden is, the soil type and aspect etc. I have checked our stock and unfortunately we are not selling the pink daffs this year, but we do have lots of other bulbs, many of which are good for naturalising, so she could leave them in the ground and let them spread over the years. I look forward to hearing from you soon. There Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 9/1/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
A:Hello Helen, Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. As you open the back door there is a small decked area and she has a few small plants dotted around.The lawn, which is half moon shaped, and has a few different sized conifers and red geraniums. around it She likes planting things in terracota pots, As for the soil type, I really don't know. Best wishes, KatieAnswered on 9/2/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:When can I prune my Camellia?
I have a Camellia on my west-facing balcony in London. It is huge and laden with flowers but I'd love to know when I can cut it back to ensure I don't damage it.Asked on 4/17/2006 by Susie Dowdall
A:Mature Camellia's generally require very little pruning, but any that is necessary should be tackled after they have finished flowering, but before the growth buds break.Answered on 4/18/2006 by Crocus
Q:When should I plant?
I recently received some new plants from Crocus. I've unpacked them, made sure they are moist and they are presently in my garage as its snowing outside. I have Clematis, heather, some Roses and Camellias. The days have been very sunny but the nights frosty, could you please tell me the best time to plant them as I know they shouldn't stay in my garage?Asked on 3/3/2006 by Tracey May
A:As a rule plants grown in containers, such as ours, can be planted at any time of year as long as the soil isn't frozen solid. Also the plants you have mentioned are all hardy so don't need to be kept indoors until you are ready to plant. They should be taken out of the garage as soon as possible and stood outside in a sheltered, sunny spot until the weather warms up.Answered on 3/6/2006 by Crocus
Q:What plants do you recommend for a gift?
Please can you advise me..... I would like to send a gift of to some friends who have just moved into a new house. I would like to send them something that is long-lasting. Do you have some suggestions?Asked on 2/27/2005 by Susie Tomlin
A:We have some gorgeous plants, which as a keen gardener myself, I would love to receive! Roses - all of these have a knock-out scent http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/roses/plcid.8/vid.250/ Lavender - always a favourite - you could also buy a pot to plant this in. http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.lavandula/?s=lavandula Black Bamboo - the canes turn a gorgeous near-black as they mature http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/bamboo/exotics/phyllostachys-nigra-/classid.1601/ Camellias - flowers during the coldest months of the year http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.camellia/start.1/sort.0/cat.plants/ Magnolia - much-loved shrubs and trees http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.magnolia/?s=magnolia Prunus Accolade - one of the best ornamental cherries for a small garden http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/trees/other-trees/deciduous/small-garden-trees/ok-for-small-gardens/prunus-accolade/classid.4619/ Acer palmatum Sango-kaku - a Japanese maple with all year round interest http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/trees/deciduous/small-garden-trees/ok-for-small-gardens/acer-palmatum-sango-kaku/classid.110/ Acer palmatum var. dissectum Inaba-shidare - Exquisite, red-purple fern-like leaves http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/trees/deciduous/small-garden-trees/ok-for-small-gardens/acer-palmatum-var.-dissectum-inaba-shidare/classid.95/ Dicksonia antarctica - one of the oldest plants in the world http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/ferns/exotics/dicksonia-antarctica-/classid.1817/Answered on 2/28/2005 by Crocus
Q:Which Camellia is best in a pot?
I would like to order a red Camellia to put in a pot, and wondered if you would recommend either the Anticipation, or the Adolphe Audusson (or something else entirely). The pot isn't huge, so a slow grower would be best.Asked on 2/13/2005 by Mrs T. Massing
A:Most Camellias are fine in large pots (ones at least 45cm in diameter), but if your pot is smaller than that, then I'm afraid I wouldn't recommend keeping a Camellia in it for longer than a few years. The two I would particularly recommend are Camellia japonica Elegans http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/pl/?ContentType=Plant_Card&ClassID=617&CategoryID= Camellia sasanqua Sparkling Burgundy http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/pl/?ContentType=Plant_Card&ClassID=627&CategoryID= These are not as fast-growing as 'Anticipation' and do not grow as large either, which makes them more suitable for pots. Also when you do plant up the Camellia, make sure you use ericaceous compost as all Camellias prefer an acidic soil.Answered on 2/14/2005 by Crocus
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