Tips for Pruning Camellias

By Barry Solomon , last updated March 29, 2011

The camellia plant produces spectacularly beautiful flowers. And while they don't require pruning to remain healthy, pruning will prevent certain diseases and will better shape the plant. It will also help the plant to produce more and larger flowers.

The best time to prune a camellia is right after it has stopped growing which should be in April, May, or very early June. Pruning during the growing season will eliminate blooms for the coming year. So do your cutting during the dormant season when the wood is not producing any new growth. You want to thin out some of the inner branches to improve airflow, which will help to prevent or eliminate disease. And thoroughly clean your cutting tools to make sure no insects are being introduced to the plant in the cut areas.

Begin by cutting away any dead or spindly branches, as well as any branches that grow inward. Make the cut at or near the trunk of the plant. Look for branches with substantial growth and prune them back to where the growth area begins. This will cause the plant to yield larger flowers when it blooms. And make sure to spray the plant with a fungicide to prevent the introduction of fungus while the cuts heal. Remember that the Camellia is one of the hardiest plants there is and it can withstand very cold winters and very hot summers so you can take liberties in pruning for shaping.

Older, more mature Camellia plants can be pruned back almost to just a trunk. They are so hardy that they can be rejuvenated this way and start producing flowers like they did when they were younger. Within a short time, a mass of new sprouts will be produced from the wood and your plant will yield big beautiful blooms.

If you follow these practices, you will be able to successfully shape your camellia plants and produce an annual growth of big beautiful flowers.

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