Care for Camellias


Camellia is an evergreen shrub with sturdy, deep green leaves. It can reach a height of 15 feet and width of 10 feet. In warmer climates, camellia blooms in the fall and in late winter; in colder, it blooms in late winter or early spring. The blooms of camellia can be pink, red, white or bicolor, depending on the variety. Camellia prefers acidic soil and is partial to dappled shade, though the shrub can grow in full sun as long as it gets early morning and late afternoon shade.

Step 1

Apply 3 to 4 inches of mulch, like pine bark nuggets, to help retain moisture and block weed growth. The mulch should at least extend to the drip line, an imaginary circle on the ground marking the reach of the tips of the branches.

Step 2

Water at least twice a month during dry periods, especially when the shrub is budding. Water newly planted camellia shrubs regularly the first year after planting, and every 10 to 14 days if there is no rainfall.

Step 3

Apply a slow-release fertilizer for acid-loving plants in early spring. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. In areas where nutrients leach easily through the soil, like the mostly sandy soil in Florida, multiple lighter applications of fertilizer can be used in spring, midsummer and early winter.

Step 4

Prune damaged or diseased branches of a camellia shrub immediately. Make the cut about 6 inches into good wood. To make a camellia shrub fuller, prune after blooming by cutting back new growth, branches jotting outside the shape of the shrub or branches crossing other branches.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Hand pruners


  • University of Florida Extension: Camellias in Florida
  • North Carolina State University Extension: Growing Camellias in North Carolina
  • Oregon State University Extension: Garden Hints/ Winter is Camellia Season
Keywords: camellia, flowering shrubs, evergreen shrub

About this Author

Barbara Raskauskas is a certified e-learning specialist and certified Microsoft Office specialist. She has written web content, technical documents and course material for a decade. Raskauskas now writes how-to's, product reviews and general topics published on several websites, including Demand Studios.