The Q&A Archives: Debutante camillia doesn't flower

Question: I have a debutante camellia (purchased in September of this year)in a large pot in my sunroom, a south facing partly sunny enviroment with a daytime temp of around 70. The plant is doing well but it's now Christmas and it has yet to flower. Any suggestions? I was looking forward to blooms and am disappointed so far.

Answer: If the plant seems to be healthy overall, I suspect the problem is related to the indoor temperature. These plants need a cool winter temperature of about 45 degrees to set buds and flower. Once the flowers are opening they may tolerate it slightly warmer, but if warmer than about 55 the buds or flowers will usually drop off. Other possible causes could be pruning at the wrong time (pruning during the growing season would remove flowering wood or flower buds) or if the buds formed they may have dropped when the plant was moved or in response to some other stress at some point. Camellias are not really suited to being house plants because our houses tend to be too warm in the winter. They are better grown in a cool greenhouse or conservatory type of setting where temperatures can be kept on the cool side and the shrubs have enough space to grow large and really perform well. I hope this helps you trouble shoot.

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