Camellia has been a favorite shrub in warm climates for many years, valued for its beautiful tropical blooms, shiny evergreen foliage and sweet scent. A versatile plant, camellia is available in both single and double blooms and in colors from white to rosy-pink to deep red. Although camellias can be propagated several ways, including by grafting or planting seeds, propagation by stem cutting is the easiest and most reliable method.
Take a 4- to 5-inch cutting from a healthy camellia bush in April or May, using a sharp, clean knife or garden pruners. Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the stem.
Fill a container with a potting mixture of half coarse sand and half commercial potting soil. Any container with bottom drainage will work. Moisten the potting mixture so that it's damp clear through.
Dip the cut end of the camellia stem in powdered or liquid rooting hormone, then tap off any excess rooting hormone with your finger. Plant the stem in the pot, with about an inch of the bare stem under the soil. Several camellia stems can be planted in the same container as long as the stems aren't touching.
Cover the container with a clear plastic bag. Secure the plastic bag with a rubber band.
Place the container indoors in indirect sunlight. After about a month, check to see if the stems have rooted by removing a stem carefully with an old spoon. Check every week or two if the stem hasn't rooted.
Plant each camellia stem in a 1-gallon container filled with a regular commercial potting soil when the roots are at least 1 to 2 inches long. Place the container indoors in bright sunlight, but avoid harsh afternoon sunlight. Keep the soil lightly moist. Be careful not to overwater, as the camellia seedling may rot. Temperatures should be between 65 and 75 degrees F.
Allow the plant to remain indoors for six to eight months. Plant the camellia outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.