How to prune camellias -

Camellias are arguably one of the most beautiful of all ornamental flowering shrubs. Native to a large area of Asia from the Himalayas and then eastwards to Japan and Indonesia, they are notable for their large, brightly coloured blooms and glossy dark-green foliage.

How to prune camellias -
Selected forms of wild Camellias had been cultivated in the gardens of China and Japan for centuries and would have been brought to the attention of interested westerners from their representations in Chinese painted wallpapers. However the first living camellias were not seen in England until 1739.

Of course Camellia cultivars are now readily available from most plant retailers and despite the relatively high prices they are surprisingly easy to look after. Regarding pruning, other than deadheading old flowers there is little to do other than removing straggly growth. Be aware that the flower buds are formed on the previous years new growth from late summer onwards so indiscriminate pruning in the autumn or early spring will result in a distinct lack of blooms for the coming year.

How to prune camellias -
Therefore any pruning is best done immediately after flowering in late spring. Established Camellia specimens are surprisingly resilient and if subjected to a hard pruning for renovation purposes will usually bounce back with vigour. Again, this should be done mid to late spring. Camellias that have been pruned hard will suffer a significant drop in the number of flowers in the following year or two as the plant will be primarily producing vegetative growth

Young plants should never require anymore than a light cutting back of the previous years growth to encourage the side shoots to grow. Even then this is only really necessary with straggly plants. Take last years new growth and reduce this in length by about a third to a half. Always cutting back to just above a leaf.

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