How to Make a Camellia Flower to Grow Like a Tree


Camellia (Camellia spp. ), when left to its own devices, forms a low to medium-sized shrub; nevertheless, it is often trimmed and trained to take on an espalier or tree shape. Camellias are recognised for their glossy, dark green leaves and their enormous rose-like blooms that bloom in the early spring. Camellias are grown in plant hardiness zones 7 through 10 according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The two most prevalent species of camellia, the Japanese camellia (C. japonica) and the Sasanqua camellia (C. sasanqua), are both perennials that can be grown in zones 7 through 9, making them ideal candidates for growing into trees. These bushes may reach heights of up to 15 feet and 10 feet, respectively, which are easily managed.

Single camellia plants may also make a powerful statement and can be used in lieu of decorative trees in the middle of a yard or flower bed. Tree-form camellias appear particularly exquisite when they are used to frame the corners of a patio or to line the walk leading to a garden.

  1. 1. Disinfect All Pruning Tools

    Use a solution that consists of one part chlorine bleach to 10 parts water to disinfect the pruning tools. According to Southern Living, this method should be repeated in between each cut since camellias are prone to fungal diseases such as petal blight and bud drop. Lopping shears and bypass pruners may be used to prune young camellia transplants, but a pruning saw may be necessary for more mature camellias.

  2. 2. Locate the Strongest Stem

    Choose the upright stem on the camellia bush or tree that is the strongest, and then use a pair of lopping shears to cut all of the other upright stems all the way back to the ground. Pick a stem that is quite straight and, if at all feasible, situated close to the plant’s core. Wait until the spring camellia has finished flowering before continuing the process.

  3. 3. Remove Any Secondary Branches

    Remove any secondary branches that are growing along the bottom one-third of the main stem by cutting them off. Make the incisions about a quarter of an inch to the outside of the spot where the upright stem intersects with the branch.

  4. 4. Install a Support Stake

    Put a stake that is four feet long and one to two inches in diameter approximately one foot into the ground just alongside the stem of the camellia that is standing straight up. You may use strips of cloth or delicate thread to tie the stem to the stake. This should be done using a gentle material that won’t girdle the stem.

  5. 5. Watch for New Growth

    In order to preserve the appearance of a single trunk, prune away any new growth from the lowest one-third of the trunk as well as any suckers that develop from the roots during the year. In addition, it is possible to cut away any branches that are sick, damaged, or dead as they appear during the course of the year. Before continuing to train young shrubs, wait a year to allow the canopy to fully develop; however, this step is not required for camellias that are already well-established.

  6. 6. Prune for Shape

    Choose between four and five lateral branches in the canopy that are equally spaced around the main stem of the tree. Reduce the length of all additional lateral branches to a distance of no more than 14 inch from the branch junction. After choosing the solitary trunk, you should hold off until the next year when the camellia has completed its flowering cycle.

  7. 7. Force Lateral Growth

    Take off around 15 centimetres (about 6 inches) from the very end of each of the four or five chosen scaffold branches. According to Clemson Cooperative Extension, this kind of pruning, which is known as heading back, causes the scaffold branches to branch out with new lateral growth in order to fill out the camellia tree. When it is feasible, make the cut approximately a quarter of an inch above the rough, scarred point on the branch where the development for the previous season came to an end. This point on the branch often contains up to five latent buds that are ready to branch out into new growth. You may continue doing this method each year once the flowering phase is over until you have a canopy that is adequately bushy.

  8. 8. Prune Yearly for Shape Development

    After each year’s flowering time, do annual pruning on the canopy branches to grow and maintain the desired shape of the canopy. You have the option of pruning the camellia into a spherical topiary or opting for a form that is more natural and pyramidal with a broad base and tapering apex.

  9. 9. Remove the Support Stakes

    After two or three years, when the trunk is straight, robust, and able to hold the weight of the canopy, remove the stake from the trunk.

  10. 10. Train the Tree Using Multiple Trunks

    It’s possible that you’d want to shape your camellia into the shape of a tree with many trunks. Because it is simpler to teach single trunks to grow straight while the stems are still young, this may be the greatest choice for transforming an established camellia into a tree-form camellia when the camellia is mature. You have the option of leaving all upright stems in situ, selecting three to five of the most desirable stems, and then removing the other stems. To trim the canopy of the tree, just cut the branches from the lowest one-third of the stems, and do it in the same manner as you would with a camellia tree with a single trunk. Because the trunks of the tree should naturally spread out in the form of a vase to allow space for the lateral branches in the canopy, tree pegs are not necessary to be used.

    Things You Will Need

    • Chlorine bleach

    • Lopping shears

    • Bypass pruners

    • 1 to 2-inch-diameter stake, 4 feet long

    • Rubber mallet

    • Soft twine or fabric strips