How to Prune Brown Leaves From a Camellia


Camellia shrubs are prized for their many blossoms and deep green foliage. Used throughout the landscape, they offer lush vegetation and color to the yard. Camellias require minimal pruning, though brown leaves and dead branches must be removed to prevent disease from poor air circulation through the shrub. Brown leaves may also signify scale, or other insect infestations or disease. Pruning off the infected leaves helps prevent the infection from spreading to healthy parts of the shrub.

Step 1

Prune camellia after blooming ends but before the new flower buds begin to form. Prune out dead or diseased sections at any time of year.

Step 2

Rinse pruning shears in a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. This prevents disease organisms from being transferred to the camellia when pruning.

Step 3

Cut off dead branches and twigs from the camellia bush. Cut them off directly above the nearest healthy bud or branch, or where they join the main stem if no healthy buds or branches are on it.

Step 4

Cut off any leaves where they join the branches that are dried and brown. These are likely winter-killed leaves. Remove the entire branch if no new leaf buds are forming on it.

Step 5

Rinse the shears in the bleach solution after pruning, as dead camellia leaves may be harboring disease or insect pests.

Step 6

Dispose of the leaves in the garbage. Only compost the leaves if you are sure they are winter-killed and it isn't a symptom of disease, as disease organisms can survive the composting process.

Tips and Warnings

  • Inspect the brown leaves after pruning for signs of insects or disease, such as uneven darkening, bumps or ragged edges. Treat with a chemical control to prevent further infections if necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Bleach
  • Pruning shears


  • Oregon State University: Spruce Up Camellias
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Culture Of Camellias
Keywords: pruning camellia, brown camellia leaves, trimming ornamental shrubs

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.