Camellia japonica guide – all you need to know! Tips for growing and caring for a Japanese Camellia

As we the saying goes, you cannot have too many plants as your companions! And if you are a big fan of flowering plants, there is no way you can resist these attractive species. Camellia is a very popular and distinct houseplant, so you should welcome at least one specimen in your collection! Especially when you have so many varieties to choose from!

Camellia japonica is one of the well-known species belonging to the genus Camellia. This beautiful plant has many names, such as Japanese camellia, common camellia, winter rose, or tsubaki in Japanese.

Camellia japonica plants can be considered iconic in many parts of the world. Since the 11th century, for example, it has appeared in many fine works of Chinese art, including paintings and ceramics. In the past, these plants were used as sacrifices to the gods and are still considered lucky symbols of the Chinese New Year today.

With more than 2000 varieties developed, Camellia japonica species are mainly valued for their beautiful flowers. Although these plants were cultivated in the East for thousands of years, they were introduced to Europe and the United States in the 18th century. They have a wide range of colors, patterns and flower shapes and over 30 varieties have won the most prestigious Merit Award.

What you will discover in this article of Camellia Japonica guide:

  • About Camellia Japonica
  • Camellia Japonica Features: An Overview
  • How To Grow Camellia Japonica
  • How To Plant Camellia Japonica
  • How To Water Camellia Japonica.
  • How To Propagat Camellia Japonica
  • Caring For Camellias
  • How To Prune Camellias
  • How To Fertilize Camellia
  • Pest And Disease Symptoms On Camellias
  • In Summary


Camellia japonica plants have many medicinal uses, including anti-cancer activity.  astringent, hemostatic and antihemorrhagic are among the toxic substance that we can found in this flower plant. The leaves have rich anti-inflammatory properties.

Its leaves are a substitute for tea, while the dried flowers can be cooked and used in a Japanese cooking recipe called “mochi”. Some people make edible oil from their seeds.

  • Chinese women refrained from wearing Camellia japonica in their hair due to the delay in bud opening. It is believed that this fact means that they will not enjoy the boy for long.
  • Leaves are a delicious food source for some small creatures. It is often eaten by some Lepidoptera larvae, including Ectropis Crepuscularia (fossil).

Camellia japonica flowers are very attractive to pollinators such as Zosterops Japonica, a type of bird known as the Japanese white eye.

Camellia japonica is native to China, South Korea, Taiwan, and southern Japan. This plant mostly grows well in forests at high altitudes and which is near the coast and down to sea level.

  • No toxic effects have been reported for these plants, so you can safely grow them around curious animals and children.

Camellia japonica is an excellent companion to ferns, hostas, azaleas, magnolias, witch hazel or Japanese maple.

Camellia has a lot to offer for this shaded landscape area; These shrubs feature glossy dark green foliage throughout the year and feature stunning single or double flowers in winter. There are thousands of camellia hybrids, offering a wide color gamut that ranges from white and two shades to a deeper red.

There are large species that can be turned into small trees or low-growing shrubs. Two main types of camellia are used here in Arkansas. Camellia Sasanqua flowers bloom from late fall to early winter and have smaller leaves and flowers. Camellia japonica blooms in late winter or early spring and usually has larger leaves.

There are also hybrid varieties on the market with desirable properties such as cold hardiness. The last flowering season makes japonica more vulnerable to late frosts. However, large flowers with multiple petals are worth it! Camellias have a wide variety of uses in the landscape, including specimen plants, hedges, and screens, as well as container growing.


  • It belongs to the Theaceae family, which contains many types of ornamental camellia and tea plant of economic importance.

Camellia japonica is a flowering shrub or tree that can grow between 7 and 12 feet (2-3.6 m) in height and 5 to 10 feet (1.5-3 m) in width. Some varieties have grown much taller than normal, by about 36 feet (11 meters).

  • These plants consist of several branches. They turn purplish-brown when they are younger and turn gray to brown with age.

The leaves consist of leathery leaves, dark green on the top and pale green on the underside, which grow alternately on the branches. The edges are very precisely serrated, and the base and ends are perfectly sharp.

  • Its leaves are generally 2 to 4.3 inches (5 to 11 cm) in diameter and 1 to 2.4 inches (2.5 to 6 cm) in diameter. They have small stems about 0.2 to 0.4 inches (5 to 10 mm).
  • In the wild, Camellia japonica blooms from January to March. The flowers grow in pairs or singly on very short stems.

The most common forms in which its flowers appear are single, semi-double, or double extra-petals. It comes in various shades of red, orange, yellow, lavender, pink, or white.

  • From September to October, Camellia japonica holds a globe-shaped fruit with three compartments. Each part of the section of this type of fruit contains one or two brown seeds

Its seeds can be used for reproduction and usually sprout within one to three months. It should be grown in light shade in a greenhouse-like environment after being stuck in hot water for a day.


Generally, Camellia japonica plants grow at their best and bloom sporadically when grown in partial shade. They prefer lots of sun in the morning with some dim shade in the afternoon. Make sure to protect your plants from direct sunlight, as this may burn their leaves and affect their overall health.

When it comes to temperature, they do not handle sudden environmental changes very well. Camellia japonica plants are fairly cold to temperatures as low as -12 ° C (10 ° F), but not for long periods. For houseplants, it is suggested to plant them in temperatures ranging from 7 to 16 ° C (45 to 61 ° F). Also, they cannot tolerate temperatures above 18 ° C (64 ° F) for too long.


Camellia japonica plants do not like to grow in soils with a high pH, ​​like varieties that are neutral to alkaline. Plant your children in slightly acidic, well-drained soil to avoid straining them. You should also look for soil that is rich in nutrients and organic matter.

It usually grows on its own without additional fertilizer, but you can supply it with fertilizer if you want to stimulate its growth. Feed camellia japonica with camellia or an acid azalea fertilizer after the flowers have fallen in the spring. If growth appears slow or the leaves are sparse and lose their color, feed the plant again in midsummer.

Like most shrubs, Camellia Japonica requires regular pruning after the flowering period. You can cut off weak or dead branches and even thin the growth if it is too thick to bloom properly. Additionally, it can also remove faded flowers to ensure healthy new growth and suitable blooms in the future.


Although few in number, you will encounter pests and fungal diseases when growing Camellia japonica plants. They can sometimes be bothered by mealy bugs, aphids, and mites. You can treat the affected parts with rubbing alcohol, neem oil, or suitable insecticides.

A flower blight disease called petal blight can also occur in February or March and can be recognized by brown spots. There is no cure for this disease, but you can remove unhealthy flowers to prevent it from spreading. They can also be affected by death, which is a common disease that can be prevented with sterile pruning shears, sanitation facilities and fungicides.


As with most shrubs, Camellia Japonica requires special attention only in times of severe drought or when newly planted. Keep the soil constantly moist so that the plant is anchored in the medium of its growth. After about three years, when your plant is well established, it will survive with little water.

Be sure to check the soil between watering periods to avoid overwatering these plants. When the soil is well dried, Camellia japonica is ready for another good soaking. As a general rule, fertilized plants should always be watered generously after each use.


Camellia japonica plants can, without a doubt, be the centre of attention of every garden or home. Their beautiful flowers can fill the heart of any plant lover and make a great gift for a loved friend or family member. Fortunately, it can be propagated simply by stem cuttings, even by inexperienced gardeners.

Cuttings respond well to reproduction if taken in late spring or early summer. Look for healthy stems that have at least six leaf knots and are cut directly behind the sixth. Remove all leaves and hold the leaves from the cuttings except for the first two or three. For best results, soak the cuttings in a rooting hormone before planting.

Fill a bowl 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) deep with half of the moss and coarse sand. After this process, supply the substrate with plenty of water so that the soil is moist to the touch and remove any excess water from the tray. During the rooting process, the soil should be kept moist but not wet.

Planting of the cuttings of this type of flower must be growing in medium and put it in the container in a warm place where they can also gets bright, indirect light. You should cover the container with a plastic bag or plastic wrap to create a greenhouse-like environment. Open the plastic several times a day to spray the scraps with distilled water and check for mold growth. If any moldy or dead cuttings appear, they must be removed immediately.

Cuttings should develop a healthy root system after about three months. Gently pull the leaves out, and if you notice some kind of resistance, the cuttings are ready for single growth. Grow Camellia japonica babies in their pots and care for them like their parent plant.


Caring for camellias is very simple; Plant in half sun shade (morning sun, noon shade) with rich soil. As plants mature and the canopy provides shade to the roots, they can get more sunlight. Camellia loves a lot of moisture and well-drained soil. Water during a drought to encourage new growth. Camellias Plant does not grow well when planted too deeply into the soil. Plant 1 to 2 inches above the surrounding soil, and gently slope either side of the exposed root ball. Do not cover the root ball with soil; Mulch around the plant, with a thin layer on the root ball; Water well after planting.


Prune to form camellia as needed; Pruning selectively instead of mowing to keep plants looking natural. More than a third of the camellias plant should not remove at a time Soft and dense branching when foliage can reduce flower space to open properly. Shortening the lower branches will encourage a more upright growth pattern. Reducing the growth of the upper part of the stem to promote a fuller plant. Pruning should be done after the risk of spring frosts and wilted flowers. Camellias create flower buds in late summer, so pruning at the wrong time of year will significantly reduce flowering.


Camellia loves acidic soil, which we tend to like in central Arkansas. Using an acid-loving plant fertilizer such as camellia / azalea food after flowering will provide the necessary nutrients and help the soil maintain the proper pH. Grow it in soil with a pH of 5.5-6.5. If the soil pH is incorrect, this may affect the camellia’s ability to absorb fertilizers.

We offer evergreen / azalea foods with systemic insecticides, which can also help reduce tartar. Here in the southeastern United States, it is recommended to fertilize camellias in March, May, and early July. Remove the cap until it reaches the plant’s drip line and apply the compost directly to the soil. Water abundantly after application.

A pH test is always suggested when plants have specific needs; We have simple test kits available. With any fertilizer, read and follow directions carefully.


These popular flowering conifers are sensitive to scale. Treating with inert oil and once a year with a systemic soil spray insecticide can solve this problem. The fertilizer suggested above also contains a systemic insecticide that works well in combating calcification. Yellowing of the leaves may indicate iron deficiency. Test the pH and adjust it if it is above 6.5. Iron supplementation may be necessary.


The new camellia bush sits at the top of the slope in the shade of dogwood and several large shade trees. There is a bench nearby so I can sit and enjoy the beautiful red flowers. I planted a camellia bush several years ago under the canopy of a large shade tree on a hill. Over the years, the shade tree has grown so high that its shade becomes too high and the tips no longer provide shade to the shrub.

I had planned to move the camellia to a more attractive location last fall, but the prevailing heat and drought prevented that. Although autumn is the best time to plant shrubs and trees in this region, camellias can be planted in winter and spring. Maybe we will move the plant soon.


Recently I got a beautiful, flowering red camellia flower, which was in full bloom. I found the perfect spot for a new shrub: in the shade of an old dogwood and some large shade trees on the slope. The shrub receives morning sun and noon shade, which is an ideal growing state for camellias.

Camellias do not grow well when planted too deeply. So, we dug the hole twice as deep as the root ball. Before planting the shrub, we put some soil at the bottom of the hole and raised the soil a few inches.

We removed the plant from the container, loosened the roots, then placed the bush in the centre of the hole. The top of the root ball is about 2 inches above ground level. We filled the soil around the roots and slid the soil down the exposed root ball sides.

We didn’t cover the top of the root ball with soil, but we applied a light mulch around the plant and applied 1 inch to the top of the root ball. We have flooded the plant with water and will continue to water the plant regularly until the plant is well established.

Camellia thrives in well-drained soil, which the planting bed contains, and the soil is slightly acidic, which is the kind of environment that camellias need to thrive. If the soil is alkaline or the soil does not dry out well, the foliage will turn yellow and the plant will show signs of stress. Thick canopies provide tall trees with shade and help cool the shrub’s root system.

Every spring after flowering ends, I plan to use a fertilizer specifically formulated for azaleas and camellias, and I always read and follow label directions when applying, of course.

The shrub is now very young, but as soon as it grows, when pruning is needed, I will do it after flowering. First, I’ll remove any dead, damaged, or weak wood, and open the centre of the plant by removing a tip where the two cross or rub together, which will allow air and sunlight to enter the plant. I’ll also shorten the long, slender branches to make the bush more lush and plump.


Camellias are amazing flowering plants and they are very difficult to ignore. Along with their easygoing style, these plants are accompanied by gorgeous foliage and flowers in many beautiful colours. They can also be propagated by any type of gardener, so you can keep them alive for decades!

Do you grow camellias? Share your experience in the comments!


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