How You Care for Camellias


Add color in the home garden during the drab winter months by growing a camellia shrub. Its brightly colored flowers against dark green leaves, brightens up the landscape with blooms from fall through early spring, depending on the variety grown. Camellias are a hardy shrub that grow from 6 to 25 feet tall with exotic-looking, large flowers in pink, red, burgundy and white. With proper care, this slow-growing plant can live a long time in the garden.

Step 1

Grow a camellia shrub in a location that receives partial shade; some morning sun is okay. Be aware of too much shade, which can cause spindly growth and fewer blooms.

Step 2

Amend the garden soil with organic matter before planting. This creates a well-draining soil that still holds in moisture and feeds the plant continuously with good nutrients.

Step 3

Water camellias consistently, one to two times weekly, to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Use a garden hose with the water slowly trickling to ensure deep watering to a depth of 1 foot.

Step 4

Apply a balanced fertilizer, 8-8-8, in late spring through mid-summer, applying every other month. Use a slow-release food, and sprinkle it over the base of the shrub, keeping away from the main stem. If you use too much fertilizer, the leaves will develop burned tips and drop off.

Step 5

Apply a 2-to-4-inch layer of mulch around the base of the shrub to maintain moisture in the soil and control weeds. Use shredded bark, pine bark or chopped leaves for best results.

Step 6

Prune a camellia shrub only to maintain a tidy appearance. Prune in early spring after blooming is done, and cut out dead, diseased or crossing branches. Clip off just enough of the branches to shape the shrub.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not fertilizer camellias after July. Do not mulch with peat moss, which can dry out on top, making it difficult for water to penetrate into the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears


  • Alabama Cooperative Extension System: The Culture Of Camellias
  • Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service: Camellia
  • American Camellia Society: Caring For Camellias
Keywords: caring for camellias, camellias, camellia care

About this Author

Amy Madtson resides in southern Oregon and has been writing for Demand Studios since 2008, focusing on health and gardening for websites such as eHow and GardenGuides. Madtson has an Associate of Arts in business from Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Washington. She holds a childbirth educator certification and a one-year midwifery completion certificate.