Pruning Camellias – A Beginners Guide


If you have Camellia shrubs in your garden you are among the thousands of UK garden lovers who opt to grow this flower. It is one of the more popular shrubs available in the UK and it is quite clear why. This genus flowering plant is a very tidy option to put in your garden and it blossoms to display beautiful pink heads. However, it is important that you learn the correct method for pruning Camellias, which is why we have put together this guide to help you.

To keep Camellia shrubs looking their best, you do need to treat them well. To do this you should be pruning camellias when it is clear they require some TLC.

To help you keep your camellias looking their very best we will give you advice on

  • What Equipment You Will Need
  • How to prune Camellias#
  • When to Prune Camellias
  • Pruning Overgrown Camellias

If you have any hints and tips that we haven’t mentioned, please do contact us and let us know. We love providing the gardening community with the very best advice and information and would love you to be a part of that!

Equipment Required for Pruning

Before you start pruning any shrub or plant, we recommend that you have the following garden equipment. It is always best to use high-quality products, but you can also buy budget options that are good to use too. We recommend you use

  • Secateurs / Pruning Shears
  • Garden Scissors
  • Pruning Knife
  • Thorn Proof / Leather Gardening Gloves

When Do You Prune Camellias

When do you prune Camellias is a question we are regularly asked by those who purchase this beautiful shrub. When to cut back camellias is dependent on the reasons you have decided to prune. However, if you are simply tidying, then it is best to do so when they have stopped blooming. This will most likely be in May or June but this does depend on the variety of Camellias you have. It is unlikely that you will cause any harm if you choose to prune your Camellias at other times during the year, but doing so may remove blossom buds for growth during the next year.

How to Prune Camellias

Choosing how to prune your Camellias depends on why you are pruning them. If you’re simply pruning your Camellias for shape then you will need to use a different method compared to pruning for growth or pest control.

Shaping Camellias

Shaping Camellias can be very therapeutic and is most certainly an enjoyable aspect of taking care of your flowers and garden. Plus, pruning your Camellias will make them grow much stronger resulting in an increased number of blooms.

It is best to wait until the Camellia plant has finished blooming for the best results.

To prune your Camellias simply follow the below instructions.

For Growth

Pinch and snip the ends of the branches to the size you would prefer. If you want them to grow longer than they currently are, prune back by 1 inch (2.5cm) or less.

To Maintain a Length

Cut them back by about 2-3 inches (7.5cm – 10cm) so that the branch is less than the size you desire. Similar to getting your haircut, if you trim back a little more you will gain your desired length when growth begins.

Disease or Pest Control

To remove any diseased Camellias or areas affected by pests you need to thin out some of the inner branches. This will improve air flow and allow more light to reach the inner areas of the plant. Doing this will help reduce common Camellia plant problems.

Pruning Overgrown Camellias

Sometimes we let our flowers overgrow. This is not an issue and is likely to happen to most of us at some point. However, If you have decided it is time to trim back your overgrown Camellias, simply follow the below steps.

Step 1 – Winter / Spring

It is best to start pruning overgrown Camellias in later winter or early spring.

To trim back overgrown Camellias you need to cut back extra leaving the flower only 12-15 inches (5cm – 6cm) from the ground.

You will need to remove most of the Camellias shrub’s branches and foliage.

Step 2 – Early / Midsummer

Once the warm weather starts to emerge, it is time to start thinning all new shoots that start to appear. Do this by cutting any crowned shoot back to the main stems.

It is best to remove these shoots when they are about 25cm – 30cm.

Choosing to thin out the shoots and prevent crowned growth will guarantee healthier branches.

Step 3 – Annual Pruning During Spring.

For the best results it is recommended that you trim and prune your growing Camellia’s every year during the spring. The best time will be when the flowers have faded.

You should prune any leggy, crowded, crossing, rubbing, dead or damaged Camellia. This will keep the flower healthy and stop it from overgrowing.

Make Pruning an Enjoyable Experience

Pruning Camellias is a very enjoyable task if you let it be. There is no need to stress about these types of gardening activities, simply take it in your stride and follow the guidance written in this blog.

If you have yet to start growing Camellias and would like to, Trees Direct has a beautiful selection available for you at a fair and honest price. When in stock you can easily order online and your new Camellias will be delivered to you via safe transport and within the agreed time. For more information, please call us on 01584 380 001.