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How to Grow Camellias

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    There are hundreds of varieties of Camellias to add elegant style to your gardens and outdoor living spaces.

    These evergreen flowering shrubs produce beautiful blooms from early autumn through to early spring. Learn more about growing and caring for these wonderful plants.


    Camellias come in various species and cultivars. The most common types areĀ Camellia japonicaĀ andĀ Camellia sasanqua.

    Camellia sasanquaĀ are early flowering with many varieties beginning to flower in early autumn with varied flower sizes, forms, and colours. The flowers are generally simple, with a flattened layer of petals and a prominent central stamen. Some varieties may have ruffled or double-layered petals. The strong glossy deep-green foliage is a feature of the plant even when not in bloom. Camellia sasanquas tend to be more sun tolerant and grow better in warmer climates.

    Camellia japonica Ā are known for their large showy flowers and glossy evergreen foliage. Varieties begin to flower from mid-winter until spring and typically grow to a height of 2m to 5m if left unpruned. There are many varieties with many different forms and colours of stunning blooms. They enjoy a part shade position although there are some varieties that are more sun tolerant. Camellia japonicas thrive in a temperate climate and are more frost tolerant than Camellia sasanquas.

    Sunlight and Soil

    Camellias thrive inĀ part shade,Ā but many varieties can tolerate full sun once their roots are established. They preferĀ acidic soilĀ (pH 5.0 to 6.5). Ensure the soil is well-drained, at least 30 cm deep, and enriched with lots of organic matter.

    Watering and Fertilising

    Keep the soil consistently moist during warmer months.

    Apply an annual controlled-release fertiliser specifically formulated for Camellias and acid-loving plants.

    Planting and Position

    Choose a spot with full sun to part shade. Avoid early morning sun to prevent browning of dew-covered petals.

    Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball and to the depth of the pot or bag. Improve the soil with compost or aged cow manure.

    Plant the camellia at ground level, cover with a suitable mulch without mulching up the stem of the plant. Stake the plant if needed.

    Pruning and Maintenance

    Prune after flowering if necessary. Lightly shear the plant to shape it.

    For older, overgrown plants, cut back hard to a framework of branches. Youā€™ll sacrifice next seasonā€™s flowers, but the plant will rejuvenate with a new lease of life and be ready for a new beginning.

    Pruning and Maintenance

    Camellias are versatile and are excellent for:

    • Feature planting
    • Hedges and screens
    • Topiaries
    • Espaliers
    • Backdrops for garden beds
    • Formal gardens
    • Large pots and tubs

    Camellias are tough, long-lived and a delightful addition for the garden that will brings years of pleasure with their spectacular and abundant flower displays.