How to Grow Camelias in Pots


The camellia plant was first prized several millenniums ago by tea brewers who realized they could turn its leaves into a hot beverage. Today, it's grown for ornamental reasons thanks to its lush and glossy leaves and colorful, scented blossoms. The plant is incredibly hardy, with potted camellias often living for over a century, according to Oregon State University. Provide your camellia pot with the care it needs, the university says, and don't be surprised if it outlives you.

Step 1

Soak the camellia seeds for 24 hours. This helps water penetrate the seed casing to increase germination rates. The University of Hawaii recommends folding the seeds in a piece of cheesecloth that's weighted down to help keep the seeds submerged. After soaking, release the seeds in the water and discard any seeds the float.

Step 2

Select a pot for the camellia while you're waiting for them to soak. The Alabama Cooperative Extension recommends using a 5-gallon plastic pot with drainage holes on its bottom. Fill the pot with a homemade potting soil made by combining equal parts of compost, sand or perlite and garden loam.

Step 3

Plant three to four seeds in the center of the pot once they're done soaking. Separate the seeds an equal distance from each other and bury each seed an inch below the soil surface.

Step 4

Water the pot twice daily or as necessary to keep the pot's soil surface moist. The seeds will typically germinate within two months, according to the University of Hawaii. Once seedlings appear, reduce watering to once every five to seven days, using enough moisture to reach the pot at the bottom of the pot.

Step 5

Thin out the seedlings when they're 3 to 4 inches tall, plucking all of them out except for the tallest and strongest specimen.

Step 6

Move the pot into an area that receives direct sun, because camellia plants thrive in full sunlight. Rotate the pot every three days to keep the plant from growing toward the sun and becoming lopsided in appearance.

Step 7

Fertilize the camellia plant once a week with a liquid 5-1-1 or 5-2-2 fertilizer labeled for use on houseplants, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension. This provides the plant with the nutrients it needs to sustain vigorous growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Camellia seeds
  • Container
  • Water
  • 5-gallon pot
  • Soil
  • Compost
  • Perlite
  • Fertilizer


  • "Camellias: The Gardener's Encyclopedia"; Jennifer Trehane; 2007
  • University of Hawaii: Germinating Tea (Camellia) Seeds
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Culture of Camellias
Keywords: grow camellias, grow potted camellias, planting camellias

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.