image by littlegemtrees/Flickr.com
Camellias are evergreen shrubs with glossy, dark green foliage and beautiful white, red or variegated blossoms from October through March, depending on the species. Hardy from zones 7b to 9, camellias enjoy shade, but they can tolerate partial sun. Prune your camellias after they have bloomed, but before new growth begins to control insects and diseases, improve air circulation and to allow the plant to have an increased number of healthy flowers.
Mix a 90/10 solution of water and Clorox. Dip or wash your pruning tools in the solution to sterilize them before you prune your camellias. Rinse and dry the tools, and then place them on a clean cloth as you prune, not on the ground. You can spread harmful organisms to the camellia plants through the cuts if your tools are not sterilized.
Remove any dead and dying twigs with clean cuts next to the trunk. Do not leave stumps. Remove any branches that are growing inward as they will likely be shaded out as the plant matures. Use pruning shears, loppers or a pruning saw to remove the wood, depending on the size of the branches.
Remove weak twigs that only have one weak terminal bud and no lateral shoots. Vigorous shoots have 1 to 3 terminal leaf buds as well as lateral shoots on the side.
Discard all of the pruning debris away from the camellia bush. If you leave the cuttings nearby, you will attract insects and disease to your camellia.
Spray a fungicide after you prune your camellias to prevent fungus from entering the fresh cuts.