Do Camellias Need Ericaceous Soil? (Yes, here’s why)

There are some basic requirements for the Camellia flowering plant, and there are many different ways to care for it.

While it prefers light shade, Camellias grows well in ericaceous soil, composed of acidic nutrients.

Ericaceous soil consists of a large concentration of acid, and certain types of plants prefer to grow in them.

This type of soil is mostly man-made composts reserved for some plants.

Plants that prefer acidic soil can tolerate and even thrive in Ericaceous plants.

ericaceous soil

Growing Camellias in acidic soil

The pH of any type of soil is an important factor in the growth of camellias.

They prefer a soil pH of 6.5 or lower, which is slightly acidic. Most garden soils fall within this range.

You can check the pH of your soil by taking a sample. If it is too acidic, you can add limestone to the soil. This can be applied at any time of the year.

The average garden soil does not require daily watering. However, Camellias need regular watering during the growing season.

This will prevent the soil from becoming too wet, which can cause root rot.

Inadequate rainfall can also lead to the development of plant diseases, so it is important to provide adequate water to your camellias.

You may also need to give them less water during winter when they are dormant.

Fertilize Camellias with a 4-to-8 ratio 

When using camellia fertilizer, it is important to use the right amount for the camellia’s specific needs.

Young camellias require little additional growth and can benefit from fertilizers with a 4-to-8 ratio. Fertilizers that are higher in the first number, however, will need to include minor elements.

Camellias usually only need fertilization a few times per year, with the best times being in spring and midsummer.

Fertilizing during these times can make a huge difference in the number of blooms the camellia will have the following blooming season.

Planting Camellias in Pots with ericaceous soil

One of the best ways to grow camellias is to plant them in pots made of ericaceous soil.

This type of soil is acidic and retains moisture. It is also suitable for moving the camellias out of direct sunlight.

Before planting camellias in pots, make sure they have adequate drainage. You can use gravel, broken crocks, or coarse wire mesh as a bottom layer.

Ordinary garden soil can be too dry and lose humus, so it is not a good option. Most garden centers sell commercial camellia/azalea mixes, but many growers make their own mixes.

Water Camellias weekly

Camellias grow best in moist soil and need plenty of oxygen around their roots.

This makes them difficult plants to grow in dry soil, but they can be planted in containers for ease of maintenance.

Camellias should be watered at least weekly, with a little extra water every few weeks during dry periods. The amount of water required varies depending on the variety and its growing conditions.

The best time to plant camellias is during the autumn and early spring. Autumn planting is most beneficial in warmer climates, while spring planting is better in cooler regions.

Water your camellias regularly during the growing season, and don’t forget to backfill the hole with ericaceous compost.

Symptoms of drought tolerance in Camellias

In several studies, it’s revealed that Camellia oleifera plants exhibit certain symptoms of drought stress. Leaf ABA, IAA, and MeJA levels were significantly increased when exposed to drought stress.

We also found that ABA and MeJA ratios were positively and negatively correlated with the degree of stomatal opening.

These data suggest that drought stress could affect stomatal growth and cause the plants to wilt.

While most camellias are drought-tolerant, they still need adequate watering in their first year.

They are also susceptible to petal blight, a disease of the leaves and flowers.

It is important to prevent it from spreading by pruning damaged foliage. Camellias are also slow to grow. Pruned plants may take years to recover to their former size.

Do not expose Camellias to mid-day sun

Midday sun is harsh on camellias, and it can bleach the flower color and cause them to fail.

Planting your camellia in a pot will provide it with some protection from harsh elements.

Aside from that, you can also bring the plant indoors by covering it with bubble wrap or landscaping cloth.

While camellias do not require a lot of care, they do require periodic feedings. Feeding is essential for plants’ health and appearance.

Fertilizers for camellias should be a balanced mixture of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.

Depending on the soil type, you may only need one application of fertilizer per year.

Is a soil test for Camellias necessary?

Yes, it’s a necessary step to take. Camellias grow best in well-drained, slightly acidic soil with adequate organic matter.

Before planting your camellias, it is advisable to take a soil test to determine the right pH levels.

If the soil is too alkaline, you can add some organic matter or compost to make it more acidic.

Camellias will also perform better in a partially shaded location than in a full sun area.


Before planting, it is important to remember that camellias do not like to be planted too deep. Their roots are sensitive and will not thrive if planted too deep.

Therefore, it is important to plant them at a depth of two to four inches above the surface of the soil.

When planting them in a pot, it is important to use organic matter for the potting soil around the root ball.

Once planted, make sure to water the plant at least once a week.


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