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Houston, TX

I have 3 gorgeous hamelias (well, they were last year) and none seem to be coming back as robust as they were.

The winter of 2011/12 saw them die back to the roots and then they emerged in the spring in glory.

This past winter (it's Houston, so no winter conditions this year) they did not die back - I trimmed them - and the new growth is ignoring the existing branches and growing from the roots.

Should I have cut back the bushes to ground level, is it too late to do that?

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Hi Tiger, can you give another name for the plant as Hamelias dont ring a bell for me, I would imagine someone else can maybe help you better than me, unless you have made a miss print and you are talking about Camelia's, if that is what you meant the Camelia's dont need pruning but from your description of last years growth, I may be barking up the wrong tree so to speak.
Goodluck WeeNel.

Houston, TX

Mexican firebush, AKA Hamelia.

I should learn how to send a photo, except I don't have one showing the bush in its best form in any case.


Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Thanks for that info Tiger, there is nothing worse than scratching your head and getting nowhere, I cant help you with that I'm afraid but wish you the very best of luck, Hope someone else comes in soon for you.
Good luck. WeeNel.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Sorry Tiger but we seem to be sending at the same time, looked at the site you gave and that is a lovely plant, quite stunning in fact, hope you get the info you need.

Houston, TX

Lovely part of the world is Ayrshire. A bit cold now though it seems.

But, thank goodness for the gulf stream which makes the west coast of Scotland almost barmy for plants.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Thanks Tiger, several years ago you would be 100% correct re the balmy conditions and here in West coast, it was always said that whatever grows in New Zeeland in their more temperate climate area's, we could grow here, hence the reason 30 / 40 years ago I began growing my beautiful Rhododendrons, Azalea's, Magnolas, Camelias ect, because we had the warmer temps and enough rainfall, lovely long summers and really quite milder winters.

I must enlighten you however, like the rest of the world, suffering climate change, we have in the last ten years went from delightful temp's to absolute freezing cold winters, I live right on the coast, only clifts and a few self seeded trees between my ground and the sea, the winds strip the foliage or burn it to a frazzle, the ground cant take anymore rain, last night in the dark, my husband had to go outside and dig a trench to divert the waterfalls the rain had caused, we have a small river run down the side of our property and flows into the sea, so we diverted the water into the (BURN) Scottish for river, had we not managed this, the house and cultivated part of the garden been washed away again, so IF you ever want to visit West Scotland, I warn you now, rip up all the books you read from years ago about balmy weather, bring your winter woolie's, waterproof coats and the latest bed wear, Onesy's, ( all in one PJ') ha, ha, ha,

Every year I hit husband with "that's it, I'm not going to continue with the garden, (ten Acres) but you know what, every year come March, I'm out there loving the new season and praying it wont be as bad as the year just passed, add deer that eats Roses and everything else other than Rhododendrons and you have a good idea my gardening year is a battle between the elements and deer, ha, ha, ha. We are toying with the idea of down-sizing but, we have the most beautiful views, right over the River Clyde, which runs into the Irish sea / Atlantic Ocean, outlook also onto mountains and Islands with the most Fab sunset's, when we now-a-days get sun. Only in winter these days do I want to leave here really but, we come over the pond to your place for sunshine in winter as it cut's out winters shorter.
Best Regards, WeeNel.

Houston, TX

As far as the winters' are concerned, we left England some years ago for much of the same reason.

We were never much into gardening in England though, and we only plant here for the feel of the country. Gardens are wonderful for the soul, but give as much heart break as joy.

But we will be in England this year and plan to see as many NT gardens as we can manage in the time.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Hope you have a lovely visit, the best time we give visitors for a West of Scotland Visit is around May, might not have the sun splitting the sky but, the weather is more settled then.
We have many gardens in Scotland if you get here.
Edinburgh East coast has the most beautiful Botanical gardens my favourite West Coast Gardens is the Mansion house called Mount Stewart House, the Ancestral home of the Earl of Bute, the Gardens are huge and grounds reach right down to the waters edge, the house is breath taking internally Stain Glass windows and the wood carvings along the lower walls is truly a work of art that has died because that kind of craftsmanship no longer exists and IF you go upstairs and look directly across the water, you see my home above the cliff tops, to reach this Mansion house you get the ferry from Wemyss Bay along the coast from me by 10 min's.
All this ofcourse depends how long you have to stay on your visit, I would imagine IF your going to see family there is lot's of time needed to accommodate that, Whatever you do, have a great time, who knows, I might here an American accent going by the name Tiger, ha, ha, ha.
Take good care, WeeNel.

Houston, TX

Thanks Nel.

In the mean time, back to those Hamelias, any ideas anyone?

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

Reading all the info I could find about it, looks like it dies back in winter(even though it didn't this year, was it warmer than usual?) and then grows from ground again every year, so if you prune all the old growth now it should be fine, since it doesn't grow on the old growth

Houston, TX

That's what I've come around to accepting. The ends of the branches which I pruned have turned from green to brown and any growth visible has come from close to the soil.

Thanks flow, you've finally galvanized me to accept the inevitable. The pruners will come out today.

And yes, almost no winter this year. We have had 2 or 3 days where the temp. fell below 32, but that's about it.

We've had a bit of rain so far and hoping we don't have another drought year. This part of the country lost millions of trees in 2012, entire forests disappeared. Any more of this climate, and we'll start to look and feel like Arizona.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

We had a Firebush, lived for 3 yrs and last years drought got it. It hasn't returned. Was that last year? With the fires, ugh, time is running away...

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