Landscaping With Camellias


One of the first flowers of early spring, the camellia is a hardy, productive flowering shrub or small tree that gardeners in USDA climate zones 6-9 cherish for its large, colorful flowers and attractive dark green foliage. Camellia japonica is the botanical name of the genus that contains over 3,000 different varieties of this plant. Another species of camellia is the plant that gives us green and black tea--the Camellia sinensis.

Step 1

Plant your camellias in rich, acidic soil in areas that don't receive full sun all day. This plant is effective when you grow it in border areas of your garden and under larger trees, such as pines and oaks, which give it both acidity and the shade it needs to keep from becoming sunburned.

Step 2

Use medium-height camellia varieties in hedges at the front of your yard to provide some privacy to your home and lawn area. When you plant camellias to form a hedge, plant them three feet apart.

Step 3

Plant several camellias in acidic potting soil in late fall through early spring, using large containers with drainage holes. They dress up a deck, pool or patio area nicely, especially if nearby larger trees give them the partial shade they require.

Step 4

Improve the appearance of fences and outbuildings by planting camellias near them. Plant your camellia bushes at least six feet from any structure to allow them to spread.

Step 5

Prune your camellias after they finish blooming to keep them compact and attractive. Be sure to deadhead spent blossoms when they begin to fade.

Tips and Warnings

  • Because camellias have a shallow root system, avoid planting them close to any other plants with shallow roots. These include maple and birch trees.

Things You'll Need

  • Damp acidic soil
  • Partly shady location
  • Mulch
  • Large container(s) with drainage holes
  • Acidic potting soil
  • Mulch


  • Floridata
  • American Camellia Society
  • Exotic Plants Direct

Who Can Help

  • Planting directions
Keywords: Camellia japonica, ornamental shrubs, home landscaping

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hiā€˜iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Barbara wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, and She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.