How to Propagate a Camellia

Overview

Originally from Asia, the popular camellia plant has had a place in the U.S. southern landscape for the past 200 years, according to the University of Florida Extension. This long-lived flowering perennial shrub creates a focal point in sub-tropical landscapes. Camellias prefer partial shade and good air circulation. A soil pH of 5.0 to 5.5 is ideal. To achieve a true clone of a specific plant, propagate camellias from cuttings taken from a healthy parent plant. Camellias grow well in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 9.

Step 1

Take a 5-inch cutting with your pruning shears from a healthy camellia bush. Make the cut at a 45-degree angle just below a leaf node. Strip off all but the top three to five leaves.

Step 2

Fill a 2-inch pot with a damp mixture of five parts peat moss to one part sand. Make a 1-inch-deep hole in the center using your index finger or a dowel.

Step 3

Roll the cut end of the branch in hormone rooting compound, or dip it in hormone rooting liquid. Place the cutting into the pot and press the soil around the cutting until it stands up on its own.

Step 4

Drive an 8-inch piece of bamboo into the soil near the edge of the pot. Place a clear plastic bag upside down over the cutting and fasten it around the lip of the pot with a rubber band. The bamboo stake will hold up the plastic, and the bag will create a humid environment for the cutting. Cut a small hole in the bag to allow air circulation.

Step 5

Place the pot with the cutting under a grow light where it will get 16 hours of light a day. Keep the potted cutting between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 6

Remove the bag every three to five days and feel the soil. If it is dry to the touch, mist with water until it is damp but not saturated. Replace the bag over the pot and reattach the rubber band. The cutting will root in about six weeks.

Step 7

Transplant the camellia cutting into an 8-inch pot filled with a well-draining potting soil mix. Look for a formula designed for cacti and succulents. The new roots of a camellia cutting are particularly susceptible to standing water and rot.

Step 8

Keep the rooted camellia cutting in an area where the temperature is between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit for the first year. Select an area that gets indirect, filtered sunlight. Transplant the cutting outside or into a permanent pot in the second year.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • 2-inch planting pot
  • Hormone rooting compound
  • Peat moss
  • Sand
  • Plastic bag
  • Rubber band
  • 8-inch bamboo stake
  • Grow light
  • 8-inch pot

References

  • University of Florida IFAS Extension Program: Camellias in Florida
  • International Camellia Society: Camellia Propagation
  • The National Arboretum: Camellias

Who Can Help

  • The United States National Arboretum: UDSA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: propagation by cuttings, propagating camellias, growing camellias

About this Author

Eulalia Palomo has been a freelance writer with Demand Studio since 2009, writing for GardenGuides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine, and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Palomo is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in liberal studies from Boston University Online.