I bought this Camelia a while back, probably should have picked a better specimen, but anyways, notice the odd root structure:
Should I plant this with this top part buried? Or leave it exposed above the soil? Or just throw it out?
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The loose potting soil has washed off the roots, just be sure to cover roots when you plant it. Or add soil to the pot if it will stay in there. I routinely put mulch around Japonica and sasanqua camellias and they are not sensitive to soil build-up around the trunk. I like deep soil near the roots because I occasionally use systemic insecticide by mixing it into the soil above the roots.