Camellias will grow in sandy, loamy, or clay soils that vary greatly in their water-holding capacity and in the presence of the essential elements of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK). All soils contain these elements and may also contain the trace elements of iron, magnesium, copper, calcium, and others. Good garden loam containing organic matter (leaf mold, compost, or humus) would be expected to contain these essential elements as well as the trace elements to some degree. Camellias do well in soils with an acid reaction (pH 5.0 to 6.5) and do poorly in alkaline conditions (pH above 7.0). Contact your county Extension agent for information about the soil analyses offered by the Auburn University Soil Testing Lab.
The texture of the soil determines its capacity for water retention and its ability to hold nutrients. Clay soils hold moisture longer than sandy and loamy soils, but they are less permeable. They tend to shed water unless a mulch of coarser materials (pine needles or pine bark) allows the water to filter through gently. The natural soil for camellias contains humus or well-decomposed organic matter, is acid in reaction, and is highly retentive of moisture but drains well. In camellia culture, the value of organic matter cannot be overemphasized, since it improves aeration and drainage and adds moderately to soil acidity.
Many areas in Florida have sandy soil. Remove a 3 to 10 ft diameter (0.9 to 3.1 m) ring of grass sod. Dig a hole 3 to 4 times the diameter and 3 times as deep as the container the mango tree came in. Making a large hole loosens the soil next to the new tree, making it easy for the roots to expand into the adjacent soil. It is not necessary to apply fertilizer, topsoil, or compost to the hole. In fact, placing topsoil or compost in the hole first and then planting on top of it is not desirable. If you wish to add topsoil or compost to the native soil, mix it with the excavated soil in no more than a 50:50 ratio.
After the mound is made, dig a hole 3 to 4 times the diameter and 3 times as deep as the container the mango tree came in. In areas where the bedrock nearly comes to the surface (rockland soil), follow the recommendations for the previous section. In areas with sandy soil, follow the recommendations from the section on planting in sandy soil.
Internal Breakdown: This is a fruit problem of unknown cause, which is also called jelly seed and soft nose. Generally, it is less of a problem on the calcareous (limestone) soils found in south Miami-Dade County and more common on acid sandy soils with low calcium content. The degree of severity may vary from one season to another. Several symptoms may appear including (1) a softening (break-down) and water soaking of the fruit flesh at the distal end while the flesh around the shoulders remains unripe, (2) an open cavity in the pulp at the stem end, (3) over-ripe flesh next to the seed surrounded by relatively firm flesh, or (4) areas of varying size in the flesh appearing spongy with a grayish-black color. This disorder is aggravated by overfertilization with nitrogen. If fruit have this problem, reduce the rate of nitrogen. In sandy and low-pH soils, increased calcium fertilization may help alleviate this problem. Fruits harvested mature-green are less affected than those allowed to ripen on the tree. 2b1af7f3a8