How To grow And Care For Camellia Japonica

Oh you beauty!! I love the showy Flowers of the Camellia plant! This easy to grow, Perennial evergreen shrub has glossy green leaves and bursts into bloom in Spring! Grow Camellias in Pots, use them in hedging or plant them in borders and beds, this adaptable plant brings the wow! Here’s how I grow and care for mine…

Camellia Japonica
Camellia Japonica ‘Brushfields Yellow’ Shrub

Camellia characteristics

Centuries old, there are around 250 Varieties of Camellia and as many as 3000 hybrid varieties.. each one as beautiful as the next!

Camellia Flowers are most commonly Pink, Red or white and can present in 6 different forms…Single, semi double, Anemone form, Peony Form, Rose Double and Formal double.

Camellia Japonica is an evergreen shrub that can grow anywhere from 1.5 metres to 6 metres tall! with a Spread of upto 3 meters. Leaves are 3-4 inches long, oval, dark green and glossy. Each single flower has around 5-9 petals.

6 Interesting Camellia Facts

1. Some Camelias can live upto 200 years! The oldest Camellia bush is believed to have been planted in 1347 in China’s Panlong Monastery.

2. While Camellias have long grown wildly and in abundance in their native China and Japan, they didn’t arrive in England until the 1700s.

It is believed that the East India trading Company were the ones to introduce the Camellia Plant to British lands. Stored in the bellies of their vast ships, they brought back many exotic treasures from far flung lands, the Camellia was just one of their offerings.

3. Back in the 1700’s the Journey from China to England took 1 whole year! Meaning, a lot of care would have been necessary in order to keep the Camellia plants alive and thriving before reaching dry land. Sailors not only had to navigate the waves but develop a green thumb too!

4. The Camellia sinensis also known as the tea planttea shrub, or tea tree, is used to make tea. The leaves, leaf buds, and stems are all used in the tea making process.

5. The Camellia is symbolic of love and devotion. The Chinese believe that the petals of the Camellia symbolise the beauty and spirit of a woman

6. As mentioned above the Camellia plant is pretty Old! It was first brought to Japan from China as far back as 810 A.D! The flowers were admired and beloved and soon became very popular for their three-petalled appearance. Camellia Plants were soon planted beside homes and in gardens, as it was believed they could evoke prosperity and abundance.

Camellia Japonica

How To Grow and care for Camellia Japonica

Buy Camellia Japonica plant

Where to Plant Camellia Japonica?

  • Grow Camellia Japonica in a well drained soil in a partial or dappled shade spot. Happy in Pots or in the ground!
  • Camellia love a shady spot! Because of this, they are mainly suited to a woodland type environment. I live on a tree lined avenue, so my front garden is partly shaded for most of the day, my Camellias are more than happy under the dappled shade of the trees.
Terraced house front garden
My Front Garden

WHEN TO PLANT Camellia Japonica

If growing Camellias in the ground, plant camellias when the soil is still warm in autumn, this will give the roots ample time to establish before winter kicks in!

If growing Camellias in pots, plant from spring to autumn

HOW TO PLANT Camellia Japonica

  • New Camellia plants tend to be supplied in pots. Be sure to give them a good soaking before you attempt to plant them out.
  • Make a hole slightly larger than the pot. Place the Camellia in the hole and back fill with soil, you could also add a layer of mulch at this point.
  • Water and let the plant do the rest :o)

DO Camellias GROW FAST?

Not Really! Camellias are considered to be a slow-growing plant. To help them along and speed up growth, supply them with rich , well drained soil. Water regularly, especially in their first year whilst they get established and treat them to some well rotted organic fertiliser

Camellia japonica


Mine do! I have a couple in pots, both are thriving! Ideally provide a container that is at least 12-18 inches deep and wide. Remember, Camellias have a deep root system so give them ample space.


Should Camellia be deadheaded? If the spent flowers are looking a little shabby, simply pinch off the flower at the top of the stem.


In Spring or very Early summer prune damaged, leggy or crowded branches. This will give the Camellia plant plenty of time to set new buds ready for next years display.

3 Common Camellia Problems & Fixes

1. Flower Petal Blight:

Flower Petal blight can cause camellia flowers to develop brown spots that soon grow larger until the entirety of the flower has turned brown. This condition is a type of fungal disease that generally rears its ugly head in spring and the main cause is usually too much moisture!

To remedy Flower Petal Blight– remove infected flowers and rake up any fallen flowers or leaves then mulch the area around the base of the plant.

* As always I try to steer clear of introducing any chemicals into my garden to preserve the safety of the local wildlife. However, their are fungicides available that you can administer every 2 weeks to kill the fungus spores that cause the Petal Blight

2. Canker Disease

Canker disease can cause wilting and yellowing of leaves and grey blotches developing on bark and stems. Infection usually occurs during hot, dry weather.

To Remedy Canker Disease-Remove diseased branches by pruning several inches below the diseased areas. Be sure to disinfect pruning tools after!

3. Root Rot

This fungal disease is caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi. The first signs that your Camellia plant is infected are leaf yellowing, wilting and poor growth. The roots will also turn from a healthy white colour to a reddy brown colour.

Remedy For Root Rot- Prevention is better than Cure! Root rot is difficult to control once it has taken hold of the plant! Like all fungus, Phytophthora cinnamomi thrives in warm soil with poor drainage…don’t give it the chance! Plant Camellia plants in a good free draining soil and get ahead of the problem before it occurs

Camellia japonica




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