Tips on How to Plant Camellias


In nature, the camellia, an evergreen flowering shrub, grows in the woodland understory. Camellia enthusiasts attempt to mimic that environment to help the plant thrive. Provide the camellia with rich, loose soil, shade and moisture to give it a good head start. When choosing a camellia from the nursery, look for one that is two to three years old and is recommended for growing in your region. Plant the camellia in late fall to early spring.

Step 1

Use the measuring tape to measure the width and depth of the pot in which the camellia is growing.

Step 2

Prepare the camellia bed by digging into the soil the same depth as the camellia's pot and three times the width.

Step 3

Add a 3-inch layer of pine bark mulch to the soil, and use the shovel to mix it to a depth of 6 inches. Use a rake to level the bed.

Step 4

Deliver a soil sample to your local cooperative extension office. Camellias thrive when the pH of the soil is between 6.0 and 6.5. The extension agent will offer suggestions on how to adjust the soil's pH, if necessary.

Step 5

Dig a hole that is 1 inch shallower than the camellia's pot and three times as wide. Gently remove the camellia from the planting pot. If it's stuck, lay the pot on its side and press on the sides with your hands. You may have to roll it, pressing, to loosen the roots that are adhered to the pot.

Step 6

Use the gardening hose to wash the soil from the rootball. Gently pull away any roots that are encircling the rootball. Place the camellia's rootball into the hole and fill with soil. Use your feet to lightly press the soil around the base of the shrub to remove any air-pockets trapped within the soil.

Step 7

Pour a 3-inch layer of mulch on the soil and spread it around the camellia. Begin 2 inches away from the base of the plant and spread the mulch in a 1-foot radius around it.

Step 8

Water to a depth of 6 inches and keep the soil moist during establishment. The American Camellia Society suggests keeping the soil moist to a depth of 14 to 18 inches at all times during the life of the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Shovel
  • Pine bark mulch
  • Rake
  • Gardening hose
  • Mulch


  • North Carolina State University Extension Service: Camellia Culture
  • "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses"; Michael A. Dirr; 1998
  • American Camellia Society: Watering
Keywords: plant a camellia, plant camellia bushes, camellia shrub planting

About this Author

Victoria Hunter has been a freelance writer since 2005, specializing in gardening-related topics and the real estate industry. She is a former broadcaster and real estate agent who has provided audio and written services to small businesses and large corporations worldwide. She writes for, GardenGuides and ProFlowers, among others. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.