The Q&A Archives: Pruning Camellia

Question: I have a 20 year old camellia in the greenhouse. It's about 12 feet high and the branches spread to about 12 feet in diameter. Can I prune this plant back to 1/2 its height and 1/2 its diameter? How severely can I safely prune it? It has outgrown itsspace.

Answer: A camellia, like any flowering ornamental, should be pruned just after it has finished blooming so it will have time to develop flower buds before its next flowering period. Now is a good time to prune your camellia. We usually recommend that overgrown plants be pruned over two or three seasons, rather than all at once. Your shrub depends upon the leaves to provide nutrients to the roots. If you remove too much growth at one time, the plant will become stressed. Plan on removing only one-third of the shrub at any one time. Your patience and planning will result in a healthier plant.

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