How to Prune Camellia


The camellia shrub makes a stunning focal plant in a shady landscape area. Although a camellia shrub grows slowly, over time it may become up to 12 feet tall and wide, providing a lovely specimen shrub for any growing area. Although camellias do not require extensive pruning, watch the shrub throughout the growing season and be ready to prune it after it finishes flowering. With basic pruning techniques, you can improve the health and vitality of your camellia shrub.

Step 1

Spread the tarp beneath the camellia shrub to catch the stems and leaves you remove.

Step 2

Find the oldest stems and branches of the camellia shrub and cut these branches off even with the crown of the shrub. Remove up to one-third of these old branches to rejuvenate and revitalize the camellia shrub. You will also open up the inside of the shrub with this pruning to allow increased air ventilation within the shrub, which will help the camellia shrub stay healthier.

Step 3

Remove crossing or rubbing stems from the inside of the shrub by cutting them back to the point where they intersect with the next largest stem. Crossing and rubbing stems create injury to the stems, which can be a spot where fungi or bacteria enter the shrub.

Step 4

Shape the camellia shrub by cutting off the outer growth around the perimeter of the shrub. Remove up to one-third of the length of the stems to shape the shrub. If you desire a smaller shrub because your camellia is large and overgrown, cut it back down to size in stages by taking off only one-third of the outer perimeter each year. Over two to three years, you can successfully reduce the size of a camellia shrub.

Step 5

Cut back stems along the top and sides of the shrub to encourage bushy, lateral growth in a camellia shrub. Use the pruning shears to cut the tips of the stems back to the leaf node where the newest growth begins. When you cut back to this point, the stems will respond by putting forth numerous new stems from this one point.

Step 6

Pull up the tarp and discard the removed stems and branches you cut away from the camellia shrub.

Things You'll Need

  • Tarp
  • Pruning shears


  • Oregon State University: Spruce Up Older Camellias With a Late Spring Trim
Keywords: camellia shrub, basic pruning techniques, shape the camellia

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributor to Natural News. She is an accomplished gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and she enjoys technical and computer gadgets. She began writing for Internet publications in 2007. She is interested in natural health and hopes to continue her formal education in the health field (nursing) when family commitments will allow.