How to Propagate a Camellia Shrub


Camellias, prized for their flowers that bloom from winter to spring, can grow up to 25 feet tall. Most often, however, these evergreen shrubs grow 6 to 12 feet tall. They occur most often in the Southern United States, as this is the only region warm enough to support them because they do not do well with heavy frosts. Knowledge of how to propagate this shrub will help you produce an elegant addition to your garden.

Step 1

Take stem cuttings from an existing camellia in July, after new growth has hardened. Make sure it is healthy and vigorous. Measure 3 to 5 inches from the tip of the stem and cut the branch with a sharp knife right below a leaf node--the raised area where leaves join the stem--at a 45-degree angle.

Step 2

Fill a small pot for each cutting with a mix of half peat and half sand. Strip the leaves from the bottom of the cutting as well as any flower buds, leaving two to three leaves and vegetative buds. Dip the bottom end of the cuttings into rooting hormone for best results. Stick the ends of the cuttings into the peat and sand mixture.

Step 3

Water the cuttings deeply. Place a plastic bag over each and secure with a rubber band to increase humidity. Put the cuttings in a shaded, warm area to allow them to take root.

Step 4

Check the cuttings every so often, keeping them moist and making sure they are still alive. Once they begin to produce their own leaves and grow on their own, remove the plastic. Transplant them into larger pots as they outgrow the smaller pots. In two to three months they should develop a proper root system.

Step 5

Transplant the camellias outdoors in early fall or winter, while the temperatures remain above freezing. This will give the plant a chance to establish itself before the hot summer temperatures. Choose an area with partial shade to avoid foliage burn.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Small pots
  • Peat
  • Sand
  • Rooting hormone
  • Plastic bags
  • Rubber bands
  • Larger pots


  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Camellias in Florida
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: The Culture of Camellias
  • North Carolina State University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings
Keywords: propagating camellias, camellia stem cuttings, planting camellias

About this Author

Sarah Morse recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature. She has been freelancing for three months and got her start writing for an environmental website.