With glossy, evergreen leaves and pretty flowers that appear in late winter or spring, camellias are an early season star of the garden. Flowers range from white and pink through to deep red, and come in many different forms including single, semi-double and peony. Here’s how to prune your camellias to keep them in good health and perfect shape.
|The pink streaked blooms of this pretty shrub appear from March
Image: Camellia japonica 'Bonomiana' from T&M
Many camellias are long-lived and can either be grown in borders or in pots on the patio - a good option if you don’t have the acid soil they prefer. Different varieties bloom at different times:
|Camellia 'Yuletude' flowers from November to February and should be pruned in spring
Image: Camellia 'Yuletide' from T&M
Camellias don’t need to be regularly pruned - it should only be done if you want to reduce the size of a plant, improve its shape or renovate an old, established shrub.
Although it’s possible to prune at any time of year, it’s best carried out immediately after flowering in spring to avoid cutting off the new growth that will produce the following year’s blooms.
Old shrubs that require rejuvenating should be hard pruned in March, although this will reduce the plant’s flowering potential for several seasons to come.
|With white outer petals and a creamy yellow ruffled centre, this is a popular choice
Image: Camellia 'Brushfield's Yellow from T&M
While camellias don’t require regular pruning, they do benefit from light shaping that prevents them from outgrowing their space. Remove any damaged growth and allow air to circulate for a healthy plant.
Banner image: Peter Turner Photography/ Shutterstock