I have a camellia that is only bushy at the top, how do I make it bushier at the bottom?

I have an established camellia, but it is tall with no growth from its trunk. How do I encourage bushiness in the lower part of the plant?


02 October 2021 10:12 AM

There are a few reasons why your camellia only has bushy growth on top.


- Availability of light. If it is in a shady position, the plant will grow and stretch out to reach for light. This can be helped by pruning nearby plants to encourage more light into the area. However, initial planting position will remove this issue.


- Lack of regular pruning. Without pruning, camellias tend to have a tree-like habit. To encourage more of a shrub-like habit, after planting, prune plants each year as they grow ensuring the top of the plant is narrower than the base - this will ensure the upper foliage doesn't shade out the lower foliage. However, as the plant has already grown into the tree-like habit, it will be difficult to do now that it is already mature.


If you really want the plant to become more shrub-like now, even though it is already mature, it will take some drastic pruning. When pruning it is best to remove no greater than a third of total plant material as excessive pruning can result in plant stress or death. Just make sure you water the plant in the days leading up to pruning, and apply Yates Dynamic Lifter Liquid Concentrate to help with plant stress.

Another idea would be to plant dwarf camellias, such as 'Little Liane', infront of the mature camellias.  

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