How to Propagate Camellias

You can grow Camellias image by Camellia - littlegemtrees -


Camellias are among the most beautiful of ornamental flowering shrubs, displaying a wide variety of petal patterns and colors ranging from pure white to bright yellows to subtle pinks and deep reds. You can propagate new plants from mature camellias using a technique called air layering. Using air layering, you can encourage roots to form on a branch of a mature plant, then remove that branch for planting. The best time to do this is in the spring, when new growth is emerging.

Air Layer Camellias

Step 1

Soak a large handful of sphagnum moss in water overnight.

Step 2

Select a woody stem on the plant at least 12 inches long and cut two rings in the bark around the stem about an inch apart. Peel the bark and green cambium layer away, leaving that part of the stem bare.

Step 3

Dust the bare stem with rooting hormone powder. This will stimulate the stem to sprout roots, over time.

Step 4

Squeeze the sphagnum moss until it is damp but not wet and place the moss around the bare stem.

Step 5

Wrap the moss in place on the stem using plastic wrap, completely covering the moss.

Step 6

Wrap the top and bottom of the plastic wrap on the stem with electrician's tape.

Step 7

Wrap the entire package of moss, plastic wrap and tape with aluminum foil.

Harvesting Your Camellia

Step 1

Wait patiently. Over the next few months, the camellia plant will begin to develop roots in the air layer package.

Step 2

Remove the aluminum foil, tape and plastic wrap to examine the air layer package around the beginning of fall. If the air layering has been successful, you will find roots in the sphagnum moss.

Step 3

Cut the stem off below the air layering with a sharp knife to harvest the propagated camellia plant.

Step 4

Loosen the roots a bit and plant the stem in a pot with a mixture of pine bark mulch and sand to start a new plant.

Step 5

Water the plant regularly during the first year of growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Sphagnum moss
  • Sharp knife
  • Rooting hormone powder
  • Plastic wrap
  • Electrician's tape
  • Aluminum foil


  • Texas A&M
  • Camellia Web
Keywords: Camelia propagation, Propagate Camellia, Air Layer Camellia

About this Author

In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.

Photo by: Camellia - littlegemtrees -