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Archive for January, 2014

Camellia Azalea

20140117_103650_s“Three?! You bought three?” my friend’s voice shot up a few octaves.

No one would have batted an eyelid if it had been the angelonia, pentas or even brunfelsia. But I suppose the Camellia Azalea was a different kettle of fish altogether.

For a start, the Camellia Azalea had cost between SGD200 and SGD500 for a modest plant a little more than a year ago. But no, I didn’t pay a prince’s ransom for mine. I had been advised to wait and so I did. More than a year down the road, I found them at a fraction of the initial price.

IMG_9331sI grabbed one first and then another two … all within an hour.

What’s the fascination? Apparently it’s the only camellia that will bloom in our hothouse conditions.

Our previous camellia plants had never bloomed before, aborting all their buds prematurely. So we gave them away and stopped buying … until the Camellia Azalea came along.

20140117_103257csSo now I have three. But any hope of propagating more plants was dashed even before I could begin. The Camellia Azalea is known for being notoriously difficult to propagate.

All the plants I see in the market have been grafted onto other more resilient camellia rootstock, but they are still relatively rare.

I shall be contented with the trio, the first of which bloomed about ten days ago.

Imagine the scarlet of the camellia against a foil of yellow melampodium. My grandmothers would have loved it; all red and yellow in the days leading up to the lunar new year.

The Camellia Azalea is definitely my plant of choice for the festive season.

Why?

Because it’s red hot; firecracker hot.
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Care and propagation: full sun, well-drained mildly acidic sandy loam; water moderately. Propagation is tricky; grafting recommended.

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Camellia Azalea at Gardens by the Bay

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the ever-blooming Camellia Azalea at GBB

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