Camellias – In Front Of Air Conditioning?

Q: I want to move two camellias from the west side of our house, where I believe they are getting too much afternoon sun, to a spot on the east side, where they will receive more morning light. This new spot is right in front of three air conditioning units. Do you think the air blowing from the units will be harmful to the camellias in any way or cause them to not bloom as well?

A: I can just about guarantee that the camellias will be harmed by the blast of air from the units. Plant leaves respire water in order to keep cool and to pull up nutrients from the roots. They are adapted to normal breezes and occasional gusts but will not be able to contend with nearly constant air flow during the summer.

If you need to screen the air conditioner units, the camellias could still be used if they can be planted a few feet away so strong air currents do not hit them. Do a little on-site research by standing near the units while holding a piece of tissue paper. In the proposed planting spot, when the fans are blowing, your tissue should barely flutter. Do not transplant the camellias now. Rig up a shade canopy for them this summer and move them in October. In this way they will have the six months to re-grow roots without being stressed by drought and heat.