The Q&A Archives: Pruning Overgrown Camellia

Question: My camellia bushes are over 50yr old and reach more than seven feet in height. I feel like they need to be HARD PRUNNED, but am unsure if and when that should be done. I'm afraid of killing them since th previous owner of the home was of the mindset to just let every-thing grow as it wished. PLEASE HELP!

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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