Introduced to the United States in 1786 near Charleston, South Carolina, camellias hail from the Orient and are now found throughout the southeastern United States. There are many varieties of camellias, each offering a unique flower for gardeners to enjoy. Camellias display their blooms in the fall and winter months, though year-round care is required to ensure a healthy plant.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Water your camellias as needed. Camellias need a water supply to grow properly. Create and maintain a constant watering schedule for your camellias to ensure optimum growth. Remember to adjust your watering schedule after heavy rains or during periods of drought. The specific amount of water needed varies with each type of camellia.
Prune your plants during the late winter and early spring. Most camellia plants require only light pruning after blooms have emerged. Prune the inside branches to help eliminate pests and increase air circulation. Remove any dead wood and shape the plant to your desired specifications. While thinly pruned plants are commonly used for landscaping, plants that are thinned out more allow for larger, show-quality flowers.
Fertilize the plants in the spring. Distribute a slow-releasing nitrogen fertilizer in early spring, before new buds appear on your plant. Add a second and third treatment of fertilizer in early and late summer to help with flower development and growth. According to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, plants do not need to be fertilized within the first year of being planted.
Maintain proper pest control. Camellias require year-round pest maintenance. Inspect your plants for different types of pests, including aphids and spider mites. Use an insecticide that is approved for use in your state to help combat these pests.
Disbud the plants in August or September if desired. Remove all but one flower bud from each branch for larger blooms of better quality.