Gardening hobbyists will agree that growing camellias has been one of the most popular past time for many of them. They will also agree that every hobbyist is always in the dilemma of whether they should prune Camellia or not.
If yes, then how should they do the pruning of camellias? Many experts note that pruning camellia is a matter of aesthetics and useful to curb some plant diseases.
There is no doubt that pruning is one of the most misunderstood and neglected gardening aspects. Pruning camellias is no different, and the misunderstanding and negligence in this regard are even more critical. Pruning is essential if you want to feel belongingness with a plant and improve its resistance, growth, and life.
Pruning is an amalgamation of knowledge and application. The art of pruning is to redefine the plant pattern and structure. It involves the science of connecting with the plant and understanding its growth and resistance. Pruning camellias is no different! It requires the application of art and knowledge of science.
Pruning camellias is usually done either for aesthetics or disease resistance. What usually happens is that not pruning camellias (in a few years) can lead to degenerative twigs’ growth. Eliminating these twigs will improve the disease resistance of camellias. Also, camellias can utilize their precious energy, which can aid in their growth.
Talking about camellias, they are flowering plants that require frequent watering, biannual fertilization, and annual pruning. Thus, one can easily take care of camellias with proper planning, time, and love. As always, pruning camellias is the most neglected one about which this write-up is all about.
Is pruning compulsory? Is pruning a choice or a necessity? Pruning camellias is not compulsory and is a choice made by the individual. Pruning camellias can be termed as a necessity if and only if you want healthy, disease-resistant, and proper growth of your camellias. These improved factors lead to an increase in the longevity of camellias.
Pruning camellia’s useful guide will cover all the required aspects of proper pruning with sound reasons. The aim is to grow closer to your Camellia and form an intimate bond with it. So, let us begin pruning camellias without any further ado!
Why Should You Not Avoid Pruning Camellias?
You already know the benefits of pruning camellias! Moreover, you can redo the aesthetics, the way your Camellia looks like! Now let us understand what pruning does to the camellias.
When you prune your camellias, the nutrition distribution becomes quite useful due to the absence of degenerative twigs. These twigs also restrict air and sunlight apart from nutrition. Thus, pruning camellias allows for more sunlight and air. This naturally decreases the occurrence of pests, bugs, and insects. This, in turn, reduces disease occurrence.
All these factors influence the longevity of Camellia, and thus, pruning camellias also increases their longevity. Pruning camellias also increases the interaction with your camellias, which positively influences both the plant and one doing it.
As we know that plants also have emotions and can sense love, which helps in their growth, pruning can create an intimate relationship with your Camellia. (Is not gardening all about this?).
Best Time for Pruning Camellias:
We have already mentioned that pruning camellias are an annual thing. We need to know the best time to prune camellias for the most effective and efficient results. So, the best time for pruning camellias is right after it has stopped blooming.
This solemnly depends upon the variety of Camellia and the weather of the region in which you are growing your Camellia. This time falls around in May or June.
While pruning camellias at any other time interval will surely not harm them. Though it may happen that during pruning camellias, a few buds may get removed (which would have blossomed next year). It will reduce the number of flowers blossoming.
What Should be the Shape of Camellia: Tree, Shrub, or Bush?
Every shape is pruned differently than the other, and hence this decision becomes essential. This choice is subjective and depends on you. At the same time, our suggestion would match your Camellia according to other plants around it.
Camellia can be quickly grown into a tree by eliminating its branches from the lower part of the trunk. You can adjust the height according to your choice and trim accordingly.
Camellias take some quality time and proper planning to shape into a shrub. Just like the bushes, you will have to reduce the height. Consecutively, you will have to cut the new growing shoots to the same height. Trimming this plant’s crown also becomes essential to maintain the shrub shape.
Talking about bushes, regular trimming becomes necessary for maintaining its shape. You will have to reduce its height, to make it look like a bush.
How Much Can You Cut Back and Prune Camellias?
If properly taken care of Camellias, they can live around 50 odd years. This is only possible if you cut back and prune them. No worries! This will not harm the Camellias as they are quite hardy and quickly grow back in hardly a few months.
This depends on the variety of Camellia you are growing. Some varieties increase and, hence can be cut back or pruned a bit more. Always observe the growth rate of your Camellia and according prune them.
Ideally, Camellias are known to resist severe pruning. You can drastically reduce their size but take care that you are pruning at the right time! Do not worry. If you prune and cut correctly, then there will be no effect on the recovery. Do not remove more than half of the plant.
After cutting and pruning, the plant utilizes all its resources towards growth. This may limit the number of flowers in the next blossom. But Camellias quickly recover, and in the next seasons, they will be back with their usual blooming capacity.
Should You Deadhead Camellias?
If there are any dead blooms on your Camellia, then you should and must remove them. It would help if you surely deadheaded Camellias because it improves its resistance to diseases and aesthetics.
Moreover, the dead bloom will be replaced by a new and beautiful bloom. Avoid using tools while deadheading. Try and use hand to deadhead and gently break the stems.
How to Prune Camellias
Step One: Preparation
Prune your camellias as soon as the spring season ends and before the new growth starts. Use pruning shears, and a pruning saw. The pruning shears are useful for the smaller branches, while the pruning saw is for the thicker ones.
Ensure that the pruning tools are clean. Unhygienic tools can act as a vehicle to transmit diseases. Clean your pruning tools with clean water and soap.
If possible, then spray disinfectants. Do wear gloves before you use the pruning tools to protect your hands. Use only clean and sharp tools.
Step Two: Pruning Camellias for Aesthetics and Shape
Pruning Camellias in a particular shape can make them more beautiful and increase the number of blooms. If you want to grow Camellia larger, then prune only one inch.
If you want to make it smaller, then prune Camellia to few inches less than the desired shape and size. Use the pruned branches as an organic manure for your Camellias.
Step Three: Pruning Camellias for Health and Disease Resistance
Once you are done with the aesthetics or are content with the shape, you would want to keep Camellias in excellent health. Our goal is to improve the airflow rate and sunlight that reaches the Camellias.
Start by reducing the interior branches. You should aim and target the weaker and smaller branches. These branches are usually the main branch’s offshoots, so ensure that you should never cut the main branches in a hurry.
Cut these branches at the point where they join with the main branches. Do not damage or cut any other part of the Camellia while doing this task. Also, try to be gentle while doing it.
Deadheading and dead branches can be removed simultaneously. To look for the dead branches, scratch them with your pruning shears or with any sharp object.
If you find green color beneath, then they are not dead and vice versa. Prune the dead branches and do the deadheading gently.
Pruning Camellias is just an annual thing that is necessary for the plant’s growth and health. Pruning is not a hectic task but does require proper planning and precautions.
If you ensure it, then pruning Camellias is hardly a task.
Pruning Camellias makes them aesthetically more pleasing and increase the number of blooms, which is what every gardener desires
So, if you have understood pruning Camellias, then what are you waiting for? Just get started!