How to Cut a Camellia


Camellias are a prized landscaping shrub in many Southern gardens. These evergreen shrubs thrive in areas with mild winters. A flowering shrub, camellia produces blooms in white, pink or red, with pink being the most common variety. The flowers look similar to roses, especially the varieties that produce a double bloom. They begin blooming in late winter and continue to flower until later in the spring. Cutting back the camellia bush keeps it looking its best and prevents disease from taking hold in the plant.

Step 1

Inspect the camellia for damaged branches near the end of winter before the shrub begins flowering. Cut these off where they emerge from the main trunk or a lateral branch with a pair of clean pruning shears.

Step 2

Cut back any overgrown branches that detract from the desired shape of the camellia shrub. Cut these back to a quarter inch above a bud that is located near the desired cutting spot on the branch.

Step 3

Cut back the entire camellia in spring if it has become overgrown. Cut each branch back to a 6-inch length.

Step 4

Fertilize immediately after a severe pruning with a camellia fertilizer, following label application instructions. This encourages the shrub to quickly regrow and begin leafing out again.

Tips and Warnings

  • Sterilize shears after trimming each camellia so you don't spread disease throughout the landscape. Rinse them in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water to sterilize.

Things You'll Need

  • Shears


  • Clemson University Extension: Camellia
Keywords: cutting camellia, flowering bush pruning, trimming camellia shrubs

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.