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I don't have acid soil and someone has bought me a Camelia. Is it as easy as just filling in the planting hole with Ericacaeous compost and it will grow ok or do you plant in the pot? It is only a small one and don't have anywhere else to put it but in a border.

I really love acid soil loving plants so hoping there is a remedy that works.



No, it isn't really as easy as that. Certainly, initially you could dig out a largeish area and replace with acid compost, but inevitably, over time, the acidity will reduce and the plant will also spread its roots and be confronted with alkaline conditions. Is it not possible to grow it in a pot?

22 Mar, 2012


And to some extent it will depend on your actual pH - if its only neutral you might get a way with your suggestion, with regular feeds of ericaceous feed, but it its actually alkaline a big tub (eventually) might be the best bet. My soil is very slightly acid and my pieris needs twice yearly attention to stop the leaves yellowing. The azalea and skimmias seems a bit more tolerant but I think camelias are more particular than any of them.

22 Mar, 2012


Moving house seems like the only really long term solution to me. In the meantime a large pot will have to do.

24 Mar, 2012


Lol Beattie! Looks like I shall have to stick it in a pot after all.

Thanks Bamboo & Steragram - My neighbour manages to grow both Camelias and Rhododendrums by adding the acid soil, maybe she dug down deep to replace it all. Thanks for the info, my guess was I thought eventually it would turn to alkaline.

Not much of a choice in my shady neutral clay border - sigh!!!!

25 Mar, 2012


I read in one of the Sunday papers a week or two ago that there are some new "lime tolerant" rhodos & azaleas. You could look into those if you like them.

25 Mar, 2012


Ooh that sounds interesting - shall check that out Beattie.

26 Mar, 2012


the 'lime tolerant' rhodies were shown at Chelsea last year, I can't remember for the life of me the name of the nursery grower now, but if you google lime tolerant rhodies it might come up.
Re your Camellia - it might be that your neighbour uses sequestrene twice yearly, or some other acidifying solution, and feeds with an acid feed, to try to combat the alkalinity of the soil.

26 Mar, 2012


Will do - Yes she certainly does something to them as has quite a few acid loving plants and like me is always complaining about our clay neutral soil.

A friend told me she has put her Camelia into a bigger pot with the right compost and planted it in a border.If you did that and fed it etc would it be ok?

I think all the Japanese type plants that I like require the acid soil as was looking at Acers and Skimmia Rubella.

26 Mar, 2012


Yes, you can put it in a pot and sink it in the border - but you run the risk, and its quite a high one, that it will push out roots through the drainage holes in the bottom into the ground around.
As for the acid lovers, it must be difficult - but you know, in the end, good gardening's always down to right plant, right place. There'll be plants you can grow well on alkaline soil that others on acidic can never hope to grow...Regarding Acers, its the Japanese ones that don't like alkaline soil - they do okay in neutral though. Other acers aren't fussy.

26 Mar, 2012


Oh well, back to the drawing board I guess!

Thought all Acers were Japanese, you learn something every day on this great site. Which ones do ok in neutral soil then?

27 Mar, 2012


Acer griseum would be an example - it's a large group of trees/shrubs.

27 Mar, 2012

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