Camellias, Rhododendrons and Azaleas
I have two lovely camellias. I bought them 5 years ago in Cornwall. One is 2 ft high and the other is 22 inches high, so you can see they haven't grown a lot in those 5 years. They are in pots (size 17 inches wide and 14 inches tall), and I would like to transplant them into larger pots (size 2 ft wide and 18 inches tall). Am I doing the wrong thing? How do I look after them properly and feed them? Last year's frost knocked them back a bit. I also have three rhododendrons, but last year's frost has just about ruined my azalea. I am planning on getting a greenhouse this year. How can I protect my camellias and rhododendrons? They don't like to be moved and they don't like to be taken in the house for the winter. I think of my plants as family, and it upsets me when they die.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Moving the camellias to a larger pot sounds like a great idea. They sound like they may have been a bit rootbound and this would stunt their growth, so in the bigger pots, they should grow better for you.
If you are growing all your plants in pots, the best thing you can do for them in the winter is to place them in a sheltered location, like near a foundation or a wall. These location hold heat and help protect the plants from the cold and wind. Also, covering the plant and pot with leaves or straw and then covering this with burlap will help insulate them from temperature fluctuations, which kills more plants than the cold.
Make sure you uncover everything in early spring once hard freezes have passed.