How to Prune Camellia

Camellias are wonderful landscape plants. They are evergreen and flower at unique times. Camellias require little to no maintenance once they are established. However, some varieties grow quite large and can become overgrown. The branches can also become over-crowded which can encourage pests and disease. Sometimes camellias just need a little shaping tune up. No matter what the issue is with your camellia, it may need to be pruned. Let’s learn how to prune camellias.

When to Prune Camellias

The easiest way to determine the best time to prune a camellia is by observing it. Once its bloom period is over is a good time to trim your camellia. This is because pruning at other times can run the risk of pruning off flower buds. If you don’t mind potentially losing those beautiful blooms, you can prune your camellia just about anytime. These plants are hardy and resilient and don’t mind a haircut. I do recommend avoiding late fall pruning (in zones 6 and 7) as it can stimulate new growth that will be damaged by freezing temperatures.

How to Prune Camellias

Pruning camellias will stimulate new growth. Pruning the top back will encourage a bushier habit. Remove any dead, dying, or broken branches when you notice them. 

Crowded Branches

If your camellia is very dense and has crowded branches, it may be time for some thinning cuts. Remove any branches that are crowded and/or crossing other branches. Prune them all the way back to the juncture they grow from. This will help open up the canopy and improve light penetration and air circulation. 

Shaping/Pruning for Height

To shape a camellia, just trim back the branches to the desired height and shape. This plant can handle vigorous pruning, but I like to avoid pruning off any more than about ⅓ of a healthy plant at a time. If you have a particular height in mind, I would recommend trimming about 2 to 4 inches shorter than this to allow for growth, especially when pruning in spring.

Renovation Pruning

If you have a severely overgrown and neglected camellia shrub, severe pruning may be necessary to bring it back to beauty and health. In this case, trim the entire plant back to about 1 or 2 feet. I recommend doing this type of renovation pruning in late winter or early spring. You may lose some blooms the first year, but you will be amazed by the healthy, gorgeous camellia you have the next year and for years to come!

Camellias are hardy plants that are easy to grow. They don’t need to be pruned often, but you may encounter a time when your camellia will benefit from a trim. Now you know how to prune your camellia so you will be ready. Proper pruning can encourage health and growth and extend the life of your plant. 

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Author's Bio: 

I am an author of selfgrowth