Friday, May 28, 2010

Camellia japonica flowering in KL

 

Camellias flower all year on the highland resorts of Malaysia but not in the lowlands. I have tried for years to grow camellias in Kuala Lumpur, in sun as well as in shade, but even if they formed flower buds, the buds would dry up and abort without blooming. It has been terribly frustrating. Finally, one plant has flowered, after three years in a pot, under the shade of a langsat tree. The first flower, about 3 months ago, might have been a fluke. Now the plant is bearing its third flower, indicating that some barrier has been broken. Now we know it can be done, we can try harder to add camillias to our lowland gardens.
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14 comments:

AaronVFT said...

Hi Dr. Ng,

Wow! Good job in hardening them to our lowland conditions! I hope we can one day grow them in our gardens like any other plant.

Autumn Belle said...

Congratulations on your first headway on this special camellia plant! I'm really looking forward to see, touch and smell the real flowers. May I know where in the highland resorts can we find this? Do you mean Cameron Highlands and/or Genting Highlands?

AaronVFT said...

Hi, Dr Ng

Where do you usually go in Sungai Buloh for plants. Since I'm going there on the 9th of June, I want to buy lots of plants, especially passion flowers (recent obsession) and other weird plants.

Thanks a lot.

Dr Francis Ng said...

Hi everybody
I have seen camellias in all the mountain resorts in Malaysia but the best place is Cactus Valley in Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, where many varieties are grown.

I bought my plant in Sg Buluh at a nursery that specializes in 'wierd' plants. To get there from Kuala Lumpur you have drive along the Sg Buloh road up to the big junction. From this junction one branch goes left to Subang, another goes straight on, to Sg Buloh. Between them there is a road that rises up a ramp and turn right to lead to the new Sg Buloh Hospital. After the hospital there is a small turning to the left over a small bridge. This road bends to the left and has nurseries along both sides. this road was the original 'Sg Buloh' of horticulture. The first big nursery on the right usually has a striking display of colourful flowers. This is the one I buy most plants from.

AaronVFT said...

Thanks Dr. Ng.

It would help if you can provide the name/address.

But still thanks!

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Lee said...

Have you tried planting azaleas? I get similar results...buds that do not open. Occasionally, one or two will and they are lovely. But these are rare. Is it because of our hot weather...I thought they are related to rhododendrons which are native in the tropics?

Dr Francis Ng said...

I recently bought a Camellia with red flowers in Sungei Buloh for RM45. The flower stayed on plant for a few days until it faded. I think this plant will do well, so I now have a white and a red Camellia in my collection.

I think what happens is that plants change by mutation and if there are many people multiplying and testing plants, the desirable qualities will eventually appear and get disseminated. This happens a lot faster in Thailand than in Malaysia because there are many more people in Thailand growing and testing plants and many more patrons who will fund the process by paying good prices for novelties. The same is happening in Indonesia and Taiwan but not in Malaysia.

As for Azaleas or Rhododendrons there are many beautiful native species in our mountains but they do not thrive in the lowlands. Rhododendrons produce tiny seeds in vast quantities but nobody in Malaysia has taken the trouble to germinate, test and develop them for lowland gardening.

The introduced Rhododendron simsii is commonly planted in the hill stations and some forms will grow and flower in the lowlands. At Christmas, pots of Rhododendron indicum are imported from the Netherlands. These can be kept growing and some varieties will flower sparingly throughout the year. I have kept some of these imported plants growing and flowering for nearly 10 years.

Lee said...

Thailand's climate is tropical whereas Malaysia's is equatorial? Perhaps that is why there are more flowering plants there? Speaking of flowers, how can I get the stephanotis to flower? I bought the plant in Sungei Buloh but have not been able to get it to flower for more than 4 years and now it even looks like it is dying.

Dr Francis Ng said...

It is not possible without looking at a plant to know why it does not perform. The stephanotis in the Secret Garden of 1 Utama flowers nearly all the time and even produces fruits. You should try again.

Ryghnes said...

I tried wisteria...surprising getting them to bloom with deep purple flowers. Ya, I am trying camelia, osmanthus, lady shoes...my camelia is over the season, if it start flowering again, I will snap a couple of images for you folks..

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ToBuy/Barter pls call 013 301 9113 said...

Hi Dr Ng,

How are the camelias? Are they still blooming? I saw a few plants at Sungai Buloh and may try planting them.

Dr Francis Ng said...

There is indeed a new camellia on sale at SG Buluh that will bloom in KL. I will buy one after Chinese New Year.

My own plants have not flowered in the past two years.