The Q&A Archives: Camillias

Question: I have a camillia shrub that is producing pear like growths on the shrub. Is this normal?

Answer: It is a normal thing. I often get questions from gardeners wanting to know what to do about those hard, ugly growths that develop on their camellias, at the branch tips where the flowers once were.

Even the most sophisticated camellias, hybridized to within a hair of sterility, retain a vague recollection of why they started producing flowers in the first place. And on rare occasions, when pollen-laden insects find their way past the pantaloons and petticoats we've bred into modern flowers, the womb at the heart of the camellia flower will start to swell, and produce fruit and seed just like any other plant.

You can prune these growths off your camellia without harming your shrubs. It may or may not happen again next year.

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