How to Grow Camellia Shrubs in Texas

Overview

While camellia is a signature fragrant shrub of the Southern United States, this plant is less common in Texas than other states. Within the Lone Star state, East Texas offers camellias the best growing environment since it has naturally acidic soil and greater rainfall than the rest of the state. Gardeners throughout Texas can attempt to grow camellias but must offer sufficient irrigation, protection from wind and care to keep the plant healthy and productive.

Step 1

Select a site that offers full sun, shelter from the wind and enough room for your camellia to mature. The plants range in height from 5 to 25 feet tall.

Step 2

Test your garden soil with a pH test kit. Camellias prefer a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. Amend your soil if necessary by adding lime to raise the soil pH or sulfur to lower the soil pH.

Step 3

Dig a hole twice the width and the same depth as the camellia's root ball. Remove rocks and sticks from the hole and jab your shovel at the bottom of the hole to break apart the soil there, which helps the plant's roots settle in.

Step 4

Pull your camellia from its container and massage the root ball between your hands to break it apart. Unwind tangled roots before placing the camellia in the hole so it sits at the same depth as it did in the container. Check to ensure the plant is vertically straight.

Step 5

Backfill the hole with soil to plant your camellia. Gently firm the soil around the plant's roots.

Step 6

Water the newly planted camellia until the soil becomes saturated. Thereafter, water the camellia every 10 to 14 days to a depth of 14 inches.

Step 7

Mulch the soil around your camellia with 2 to 3 inches of pine mulch. This helps the soil retain moisture.

Step 8

Prune your camellia only to remove dead, damaged or diseased branches. Prune at any time of year except winter. Dead branches don't move in the wind and feel hollow, while damaged ones may be scarred, discolored, bent or wounded. Removing this growth keeps your camellia healthy.

Step 9

Fertilize your camellia four times annually: in the dormant season, after the first spring growth, mid-summer and early winter. Each time, apply 1/2 lb. of 15-15-15 fertilizer per 100 square feet of camellia by scattering it around the base of the camellia then watering the soil to disperse the nutrients.

Things You'll Need

  • pH test kit
  • Sulfur (optional)
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Pine mulch
  • Pruning shears
  • 15-15-15 fertilizer

References

  • Clemson University: Camellia
  • Texas A&M: Camellias for Texas Gardens
  • University of California at Davis: How to Grow Carefree Camellias
  • University of Florida: Camellias in Florida

Who Can Help

  • The Garden Helper: Acid Soil
Keywords: camellia care, camellia for Texas, grow camellia Texas

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.