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How To Care For Camellias (Camellia Japonica) & Lots Of Gorgeous Pictures

Camellias have a long blooming season and can put on a real show. Their blooms come in lots of different shades, sometimes peeking out from under a late spring snow. Here’s how to care for camellias (Camellia Japonica), so you can enjoy their gorgeous flowers in your own garden.
Gorgeous pink camellia japonica flower

Cultivated for many centuries in the Orient, Camellias appeared in the United States around 1800. The climates of the West Coast and Southeast are best, but with care, these popular flowers may also be grown farther north.

Camellia – A Beautiful Evergreen Shrub

pink camelia shrub

The Camellia is an evergreen shrub which grows in the mountain forest of Japan, Taiwan and Korea. Its takes the name from its discoverer, George Joseph Kami (1661-1706) who was the first to describe its beauty to the rest of the world.

Camellias: An Illustrated Guide To Varieties, Cultivation And Care, With Step-By-Step Instructions And Over 140 Beautiful PhotographsCamellias: An Illustrated Guide To Varieties, Cultivation And Care, With Step-By-Step Instructions And Over 140 Beautiful PhotographsAmazon buy button The English were the first to cultivate this tender plant but interest soon spread throughout the world. Today the centers of Camellia culture are on the East Coast, from The Carolinas to Florida, and on the West Coast. A few grow in Seattle, but the majority in the western U.S. are found in California where there are huge collections of botanical gardens.

Camellias belong to the tea family. The leaves are very similar to tea leaves being shiny and slightly toothed at the edges. You will find Camellia flowers in shades of pink and red or white and there are single, double and even fancier flowers.

You might also like to learn more about blue, pink and purple hydrangeas.

Worldwide popularity

In almost every country there are keen fanciers of Camellias, even if they cannot grow them in the garden.

There are many Camellia societies that exchange ideas and experiences growing what can be a perplexing plant. Today there are literally thousands of varieties and cultivars to choose from.

How To Care For Camellias Successfully

Some people trying to grow camellias give up. But you don’t have to. If you plant it right, the camellia plant is quite easy to care for.

With so many people in the world who grow Camellias, some might think that it is an easy plant to grow. If conditions are just right, it is. All a Camellia demands is the proper range of temperatures and the right amount of humidity. But these are not easily met indoors and many give up trying to grow this beautiful plant.Jobe’s Fertilizer Spikes for Azalea, Camellia and Rhododendron, 9-8-7 Time Release Fertilizer for Acid Loving Plants, 10 Spikes per PackageJobe’s Fertilizer Spikes for Azalea, Camellia and Rhododendron, 9-8-7 Time Release Fertilizer for Acid Loving Plants, 10 Spikes per PackageAmazon buy button

If the winter temperatures  exceed 50-60F, transpiration is to rapid and too much moisture is lost. The result: everything falls off: the buds, leaves and all. It is better to keep it cool than too warm.

A home with central heating will also be too dry since Camellias need humidity. It is the Asian mountain conditions that should be duplicated-mild and misty.

When to feed camellias

Camellias don’t need a lot of fertilizer, but they can use a bit in the spring right after their blooms are spent, and once more towards the end of summer.


The Camellia’s Annual Rhythm


During this time of the year,Camellias are grown best outdoors, so keep them on a balcony or terrace or in the garden. Never leave them at the mercy of the burning sun. Grow Camellias in a sheltered, half-shady spot, and if there is not adequate rainfall, water regularly.

Fertilize during this growing season when the buds for spring flowers are forming. Move the plant indoors at the first hint of frost.


During  winter, keep the Camellias inside at temperatures ranging between the upper 40’s and lower 50s (probably in your garage or enclosed porch).

And while Camellias need to be kept cool, never let the temperature drop below freezing. If you keep them in a greenhouse don’t let them get too warm or get too much sun. Don’t feed them either.


This is when Camellias bloom. The exact time varies with the variety. The plant still  needs to be kept cool but temperatures can be in the upper 50s now. Each flowering period can last a month.

Flower size may be influenced by removing all side buds and keeping only the top bud at the tip of the shoot.

This is the time to prune plants to control their shape before growth begins. When growth begins, start fertilizing.

The cut stems, incidentally, will last about eight days in water  with a cut-flower preservative added.

pink camelia flowers

Camellia Plant Diseases

Leaves and buds fall off

A certain amount of this may be natural, as some Camellias produce more buds than will flower.

Other causes may be under or over-watering, or the wrong balance between temperature, humidity, water and fertilizer.

Petal blight will cause them to rapidly turn brown

If only the petal edges are brown, sun or wind may be the culprit. In cases of blight, however, the discoloration extends into the flower center. Infected flowers and mulch must be discarded and ground treatment with a fungicide may be necessary.

Camellia Flower Colors

Pink striped camellia flower

Camellias come in many shades of pink, going from deep pinks to white, as well as all the way to red.

There are even some yellow camellias, going from very pale yellow to deep yellows.

Yellow camellia branch

These days you can even see some variegated camellias, just like this one.

Variegated camellia flowers

There are close to 3000 different types of camellia shrubs and plants, ranging in many colors and shapes, some fragrant and some not.

Camellia plant with 2 different kinds of pink flowers

Growing Camellias In Pots

Camellias are beautiful in ground, but they make gorgeous looking containers.

Arrangement of Camellia flowers in a clay pot on a wooden board against a white background

Camellia Plant Varieties

I love it when there are lots of varieties for a plant, and camellia has plenty of them.

Here are just a few I heard of:

  • camellia sinensis tea plant
  • camellia japonica nobilissima
  • camellia japonica mathotiana
  • camellia japonica desire
  • camellia japonica alba plena
  • camellia sasanqua (see this one just below)

Beautiful camellia sasanqua bush

Camellia Flower Pictures

Before buying plants love lookign at pictures and imagining how they’d fit into my current flower garden. I’m sure others like that too, so i gathered some pictures with different types for camellia flowers. I hope you enjoy this beautiful collection of camellias.

Red camellia flowers

These red camellia flowers are stunning! I love the simplicity of this flower 🙂

Camellia flower featured in the Locarno expo

Another beauty, this camellia was photographed at the Locarno Camellia exhibition in Europe.

Peached colored camellia flower

What a pretty flower! I love the peach accents on this one, and can just imagine a quiet spot next to a potted plant this color. I wonder if this is one of the fragrant camellia varieties.

Red and white camellia flowers

Nature is so amazing! Check out this red and white camellia plant! Looks like an artist has some fun with these two colors. GORGEOUS!

Pink camellia with a yellow center

I love the yellow white and pink combination in this camellia.

Don’t you wish you could have them all: they are all so beautiful!

Camellia Seeds

If you’d lire to try your hand at growing camellias from seed, Amazon has lots of them. Here are just a few.

Rare Purple Camellia Seeds Potted Garden Flower Seeds Potted Ornamental Plants Japanese Camellia Seeds 100pcs Free shippingRare Purple Camellia Seeds Potted Garden Flower Seeds Potted Ornamental Plants Japanese Camellia Seeds 100pcs Free shippingAmazon buy button11 Kinds of Categories Camellia Seeds Potted Plants Garden Flower Seeds Plants Common Camellia Seeds a Pack 100 Pcs11 Kinds of Categories Camellia Seeds Potted Plants Garden Flower Seeds Plants Common Camellia Seeds a Pack 100 PcsAmazon buy buttonPromotion!!! 50 pieces/bag,Camellia seeds, Camellia flowers seeds 24kinds color for chosePromotion!!! 50 pieces/bag,Camellia seeds, Camellia flowers seeds 24kinds color for choseAmazon buy button

I hope you figured out how to care for camellias and enjoy their beauty throughout the year.

close up of strawberry pink camelia flower

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Adriana Copaceanu is a passionate nature lover living in the country on her dream property where she grows vegetables, lavender, and wildflowers that she shares with the wildlife they attract. When she's not in the garden, she loves spending time with her chickens and planning her next nature project. Check out her books below:

How to Grow Lavender for Fun and Profit: Lessons Learned from Planting Three Hundred Lavender Plants

How to Raise Chickens for Eggs: A Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens for Nutritious, Organic Eggs at Home

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Wednesday 24th of June 2020

Like the above question of Sharon's , one of the several camellia bushes is forming small greenish apple shapes,quite different from the normal buds, what are these and is this normal ?These shrubs were inherited when the property was purchased.


Friday 2nd of October 2020

The Greenish balls could also be galls which are not harmful but just takes away the beauty of the bush. Simply pinch them off and dispose of them.


Wednesday 8th of July 2020

They are seed pods. You can remove them so that the plant doesn't use energy trying to help them mature. And if you wonder if you can plant these seeds, you can. But it will take years for them to bloom, and they'll be inferior to the mother tree.


Tuesday 21st of January 2020

My camellia has about 40 buds due over 2 months and only 1 buds opened into a flower. Please advise. I have had the plant for a year.


Wednesday 22nd of January 2020

Praj, there are many reasons your camellia buds may not be opening. It could be a lack of nutrients, mites infestation, or freezing temperatures before the buds could open.

PJ Sulack

Saturday 13th of April 2019

I have 4 Camellia bushes, 2 n the south east side of my yard under some trees,so they get shade. The other 2 are on the south side of side yard which gets some afternoon sun. They have tons of blooms and always new growth but the leaves turn brown on the top but there underneath turns brown. Is this due to too much sun or needs fertilizer? This has happen for the last 3 years.


Saturday 13th of July 2019

Ii have a camilla bush that is about 17 years old and I am noticing little green balls on the plant. Are these seeds?