UACES Facebook Flowering


(August 2012)

QuestionI have two large 15' camellias on the east side of my house. They were planted in 1968 and haven't been watered or fertilized for at least 6 years. They bloom profusely without fail. My question is for the first time I've seen some seed pods forming. I'm curious as to why the pods are forming on such an old shrub. Why now? Is it a portent of doom for the mother plant?

AnswerCamellias have the potential to set seeds every year. I think part of the reason we are seeing more this year, is that they bloomed so early, met with no late freezes and had ample time to set seeds before the heat hit. We often think of camellias as water needy plants, but I have found that they can be pretty resilient, once they are well established and in the right spot. Flower buds are set for next year’s blooms now.

(June 2012)

QuestionMy dwarf gardenias were full of blooms this year but lasted only a couple of weeks. What can I do to prolong the bloom period?

AnswerDifferent varieties bloom at different rates. I have a Kleim’s Hardy or Daisy gardenia. It has a simple flower and when it is in bloom, it is a solid mass of white flowers that all bloom at one time. But it only lasts for about a week. My double standard gardenia blooms for at least a month with flower buds opening over an extended period. Some varieties re-bloom such as August Beauty and Jubilation.

(June 2012)

QuestionI live in Bella Vista, Arkansas and I have a question about my hydrangeas. They were absolutely huge and loaded with blue flowers this year — I use coffee grounds on all my acid loving plants and they thrive. This year I had about 60-75 flowers and we got a big rain. All the flower heads were bowed over. Now I have a lot of bent branches. I know they set their flower buds on last year’s growth, so if I prune all the bent branches, I probably won’t have any flowers next year. I would have to cut about two feet off of each branch to get to straight limbs. Any suggestions on what to do?

AnswerActually, the time to prune hydrangeas is immediately after they bloom. Instead of just cutting two feet off, try thinning the plants out and remove up to 1/3 of the limbs at the soil line. Cutting hydrangeas at the tops of the stems will encourage branching. Each branch on the stalk can produce the large flower heads which can make them top-heavy and not able to support the blooms. Pruning now will allow the plant to recover and you should still have flower buds set this fall for a bloom for next summer. Hard, cold winters often take a toll in the NW part of our state, but our lack of winter this year has given us quite the hydrangea show this year.

(November 2011)

QuestionI have seen so many pretty camellias in bloom in the state and would like some for my garden in Independence County. Am I too far north for them to survive? If not, what variety do you recommend?

AnswerYou are too far north for the Camellia japonica to do well, but there are several selections of hybrid Camellia’s which have crosses between C. sasanqua and C. oleifera that can go as far north as Fayetteville. Polar Ice, Winter’s Rose, and Winter’s Charm are just three that have been released. They will bloom nicely every year in late fall through early winter.

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