Camellia care: expert tips for ideal care


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To help camellias bloom profusely, they need to be properly cared for. We will show you what care is essential for the camellia.

Large pink camellia flowers
Camellias need a little care for beautiful blooms [Photo: francesco de marco/]

Camellia (Camellia) is a true flowering beauty. However, those who want to grow large, colourful flowers, should pay attention to proper care. Let us explain the most important care measures, so that your camellia grows healthy and lush.

Camellia care

Camellia makes some special demands on its environment and care. The following points should be observed in order to let the Asian tea beauty shine in full splendour.

Watering camellias

Camellias are moorland plants and like to be kept permanently moist. However, the emphasis is explicitly on “moist”, because waterlogging can quickly lead to root rot. Regular watering is therefore preferred, so that waterlogging is avoided in any case. However, if there is a prolonged dry spell in the summer, it is advisable to reduce the frequency of watering, but use more water. With larger amounts of water, you can compensate a little for evaporation at the surface and make sure that the rooted area of the soil is also completely saturated with water.

Camellia covered in water droplets
Camellias like it damp [Photo: Jin9876/]

Fertilising camellias

With good care, camellia forms very large and dense flowers. To ensure this, fertilisation plays an important role. Therefore, fertilise at regular intervals, especially in late spring to late summer. The frequency depends on the soil conditions and weather conditions. As fertilisers, rhododendron fertilisers have proved successful, because they largely meet the requirements of camellias. Occasionally, you can use a complete mineral fertiliser to encourage lush flower growth. Simply apply liquid fertiliser when watering in the weeks before flowering. However, be sure to follow the dosage instructions on the fertiliser packet to avoid over-fertilising.

Camellia growing in a pot
Camellias that grow in pots should be fertilised regularly [Photo: Al More/]

However, camellias also enjoy organic fertiliser. This minimises the risk of over-fertilisation, as the nutrients are released slowly and gently. For this, use a plant-based fertiliser such as our Plantura All Purpose Plant Food. You should apply this at the very beginning of budding. For more information on fertilising camellias, see our special article.

All Purpose Plant Food, 1.5kg
All Purpose Plant Food, 1.5kg
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  • Perfect for a variety of plants in the garden & on the balcony
  • Promotes healthy plant growth & an active soil life
  • Long-lasting fertiliser that is free from animal products - child & pet friendly

Transplanting and repotting

Camellia has an above-average root growth. To prevent the roots from eventually competing with each other for nutrients, it is important to repot the camellia occasionally. Autumn offers the best time to do this, preferably from the beginning of October onward. In fact, in August and September, most camellias go into dormancy, during which they also require less water. Therefore, watering in a new, larger pot could harm them. So wait until this dormant period is over and spoil your camellia with a larger planter at the beginning of the new growing season.

Row of camellias in pots
Camellia plants are sensitive: repot them only when necessary [Photo: Beautiful landscape/]

Pruning camellias

Under normal circumstances, camellias rarely require extensive pruning. It is much more important to regularly clean them of withered shoots and wilted flowers. However, if you do want to prune your camellia, the best time to do so is somewhere between May and July, depending on weather. However, it is important not to prune your camellia too drastically in one go, as radical pruning could punish you with greatly reduced regrowth. Withered flowers, however, should be removed regularly.

Camellia flower and pruning shears
Camellias should also be pruned from time to time [Photo: Richard Griffin/]

For detailed instructions on pruning camellias, see our dedicated article.

Overwintering camellias

Camellias need cool temperatures in winter, but should still be frost-free. Only a few camellia varieties are hardy under certain circumstances and can endure our domestic winter with appropriate winter protection outdoors. To survive frost, the root zone of the plants should be covered with a thick layer of bark mulch, brushwood, spruce branches or moss. In case of severe frost, the above-ground part must also be protected.

Camelia plant covered in snow
Very few camellia varieties are hardy [Photo: iCNX/]

However, most varieties should be cultivated in pots and overwintered in a bright place with temperatures between 5 and 15 °C.

Detailed information on overwintering camellias indoors and outdoors is available here.