Pruning Camellias: How To Prune A Camellia Plant

Camellia Plant
prune camellia
(Image credit: MIMOHE)

Growing camellias has become a popular gardening pastime. Many gardeners who grow this lovely flower in their garden wonder if they should be pruning camellias and how to do this. Camellia pruning is not essential to good camellia plant care but it can help to stave off some types of disease or to better shape the plant.

Best Time for Camellia Pruning

The best time to prune a camellia plant is right after it has stopped blooming, which will most likely be in May or June depending on the variety. Pruning the plant at other times will not harm the plant, but it may remove some of the blossom buds for the next year.

Pruning Camellias for Disease and Pest Control

Camellia pruning to control disease and pests consists of thinning out some of the inner branches to improve airflow and allow more light to reach deeper into the plant. These two factors can help reduce problems that are common to a camellia plant. Examine the interior of the camellia plant and identify small or weak branches that are not main branches within the plant. Using a sharp, clean pair of pruners, snip off these branches right at the place it meets the main branch.

Pruning Camellias for Shape

Shaping the plant is an enjoyable aspect of camellia plant care. Shaping the plant will encourage more vigorous, bushy growth and will increase the number of blooms. After the camellia plant has finished blooming, pinch or snip the ends of the branches back to the desired size. If you want your growing camellias to grow larger than they currently are, just prune back an inch (2.5 cm.) or less. If you would like your camellias to stay a certain size, cut them back to a few inches (7.5 to 10 cm.) less than the size you desire. Growing camellias in your garden adds beauty and color. Proper camellia plant care with a little pruning will result in a spectacular plant.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.