The camellia (Camellia japonica) is an evergreen shrub native to Asia. In fall and winter, the shrub produces colorful blooms that resemble roses and may be pink, red or white. Heavy pruning is discouraged as this plant is a slow grower. Prune only to maintain the health and shape of the plant. Because the shrub produces new growth shortly after its blooming season, pruning should be done in late winter or very early spring as soon as the blossoms have faded. Pruning after this time may result in fewer blossoms come fall.
Cut and remove old branches that no longer produce flowers. Cut the branches off with a clean, diagonal cut where they meet the main trunk or where they emerge from another branch.
Cut off the short, nonflowering twigs that grow from the shrub’s main branch. These twigs are generally 4 inches in length. Make clean, diagonal cuts close to the main branch.
Shorten any long, errant branches that shoot out from the shrub making its shape less appealing.
Remove any branches that grow inward instead of out and up. These branches will be growing off of other branches. Make clean, diagonal cuts as flush as possible to the primary branches.
Remove any branches that cross and rub on other branches. Opt to remove the smallest branch. Make diagonal cuts that are flush to the trunk or secondary branch from which it grows.
Cut and remove any dead, diseased or damaged branches.
Produce bushier growth by cutting 2 to 3 inches off of each branch that is longer than 12 inches in length.
Water the shrub after pruning.