pruning camellia - Knowledgebase Question

Monroe, Ge
Avatar for patgreen
Question by patgreen
April 20, 2010
2 of them. 8 and 10 ft tall. Just finished blooming. Zone 8. Out of control and unshapely. How low can I cut them down ?

Answer from NGA
April 20, 2010
Now is the perfect time to prune them. Usually camellias are pruned each year after they have finished flowering so they will remain dense and compact rather than leggy and overgrown. Sounds like yours have not been pruned in quite some time. Radical pruning can stress the plants to the point where they won't grow much at all so your best approach is to reduce their size over a period of 2-3 years. Start now by cutting them back by about one third. Prune them all over so the branches are all an equal length (hedge trimmers are great!). This will force new growth towards the center of the plant as well as new growth in front of the pruning cuts. Next year, at this same time, prune them back by one third again. By next summer the plants should be smaller and fuller and by that winter should be full of flower buds. Best wishes with your project!

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