Elisabeth C. Miller Library

Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Search Results for: Camellia | Search the catalog for: Camellia

Recommended Websites

International Camellia Society

More websites

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Berberis, Skimmia, Leucothoe, Fatsia, Euonymus, Elaeagnus, Shade-tolerant plants, Osmanthus, Aucuba, Viburnum, Shrubs, Prunus, Camellia, Buxus

Can you suggest some shade shrubs/low trees that could be used in the bottom quarter of a huge, years-old pile of yardwaste and branches that is now a 20 foot cliff? I have started with some vinca minor in the lower part but could use some ideas of some things to plant that might get 15 feet tall, evergreen, and grow in woods/shade or sun through trees.


The closest list I could find to meet your needs is one of evergreen shrubs that will grow in shade:

Japanese aucuba - Aucuba japonica vars.
common boxwood - Buxus sempervirens
camellia - Camellia sp.
gilt edge silverberry - Elaeagnus x ebbingei 'Gilt Edge'
Euonymus - Euonymus fortunei radicans
Japanese aralia - Fatsia japonica
drooping Leucothoe - Leucothoe fontanesiana
Oregon grape - Mahonia aquifolium
Burmese mahonia - Mahonia lomariifolia
longleaf mahonia - Mahonia nervosa
holly leaf osmanthus - Osmanthus heterophyllus vars.
English laurel - Prunus laurocerasus 'Mount Vernon'
Japanese skimmia - Skimmia japonica
evergreen huckleberry - Vaccinium ovatum
nannyberry - Viburnum lentago

Source: The Pacific Northwest Gardener's Book of Lists, by R. & J. McNeilan, 1997, p. 46-47

Date 2018-09-26
Link to this record only (permalink)

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Trachelospermum, Landscaping drain fields, Camellia

Here is the situation: I have six inches between the cement wall and the septic drain field. I want a green screen between myself and the neighbors on the other side of the short cement wall. What can I grow that will give me a green screen and not invade the septic system pipes? All I can think of is some sort of climbing vine, but I am not familiar with which root systems could be a problem.


You have a real challenge with your situation. Most of the literature says that you should not plant any large shrub or tree within 30 feet of a septic system drain field.

Roots growing into the drain field is a serious concern. They recommend consulting an expert if you do want to plant near a drain field.

Instead, you might consider installing an attractive fence and/or using containers to grow plants in. For example, Camellias can be grown on a trellis from a container. They are evergreen, and will also flower. Another vine-like plant is star jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides. It is evergreen with fragrant white flowers.

Date 2018-08-15
Link to this record only (permalink)

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Cold protection of plants, Frost, Camellia

How can I protect my camellia shrubs from very low temperatures?


The website of the International Camellia Society has a discussion of camellias and their cold tolerance, indicating that most spring-blooming Camellia japonica and fall-blooming Camellia sasanqua cultivars will survive a Washington, D.C. winter (zone 7, compared to our zone 8), but there is some concern about extreme cold and drying winds, and sudden drops in temperature (see excerpt below on winter protection, from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service):

Winter Protection

Covering a camellia plant provides frost protection but does little good in a severe freeze. If plants are covered with cloth, plastic or paper, prop up the cover so that it does not touch the buds. Put the cover on after the sun goes down and remove it before mid-morning the next day.

There are additional approaches to providing winter protection against plant damage. Maintain good soil moisture, especially just before freezes. Maintain adequate nutrition by following current fertilizer recommendations. Plant in locations that provide moderate winter shade. Select varieties with good winter hardiness.

The article below from the North Carolina State University Extension has a good general discussion of winter protection for camellias.

Date 2019-04-12
Link to this record only (permalink)

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Pruning trees, Camellia

I bought 2 small camellias a year ago. Their height and width at maturity will be about 10' x 8'. One has 3 trunks. Now they are 4' tall and the stems are so close, they are rubbing together and the branches cross-mingled. The trunks have hardened and are about 1/2" to 3/4" in diameter. Should I prune crossing branches and stems? Should I limit them to one or two trunks? If so, when and how should I prune? My goal is to have them limbed up or narrower at the bottom with a low tree canopy beginning at about 4'. They just finished blooming. The variety is Kremer's.


Pruning the camellias when they are done flowering, but before they form new buds, should be fine. You are right to observe that crossing branches and branches which are very close will pose a problem as the camellias grow. In Cass Turnbull's Guide to Pruning (Sasquatch Books, 2006), the author recommends selective pruning to thin out a camellia. Start by removing any dead wood, and then look for crossing and rubbing branches, taking out some (but not necessarily all--you don't want to strip the plant) of the most obvious problem branches. Since you have young plants, you should not have too much thinning to do. Turnbull's book also gives instructions for arborizing your camellia by removing the lower limbs. She recommends that you observe the branching structure before proceeding, and visualize what the plant will look like if you remove some of the branches.

You may find this pruning guide helpful. See second page, section III on "Tree-likes."

The American Horticultural Society Pruning and Training book edited by Christopher Brickell (DK Publishing, 1996) suggests pruning a young camellia by shortening overlong lateral branches to an upward growing sideshoot. Selecting a central leader (main trunk) is also recommended.

Date 2018-10-27
Link to this record only (permalink)

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Insect pests--Control, Camellia

My camellia is potted and lives on an urban deck. In the spring, it was full of beautiful blooms and lush foliage. This summer it has been plagued with aphids and mealy bugs. I have sprayed two different times, 3 times each. My bush appears to continue to fail. It is dropping perfectly healthy-looking leaves and getting new growth, but it has few new buds and looks very "naked." What is wrong with it? I have noticed small insects in the soil as well. I have added a watering of Safer-soap-with-water mixture but it seems to have had no improvement. Please help!


I wonder what kind of spray you have been using. Was it the Safer soap product? Aphids seldom cause the demise of a mature plant. Aphids are attracted to lots of leafy new growth, so it is best to avoid quick-release high-nitrogen fertilizer. The best way to keep aphids in check is to encourage natural predators like ladybugs, syrphid flies, lacewings, and parasitic wasps. Broad spectrum pesticides will harm the helpful insects as well, so I would avoid use of those. Mealy bugs are also a favorite of natural predators like those mentioned above. Usually, regularly spraying jets of water to knock the aphids and mealy bugs off the plant's leaves should keep the damage in check. If necessary, you can use insecticidal soap, but always test it on a small area of the plant to make sure it does not cause any damage to the leaves.

It is possible there is something else going on with your camellia. Here is a link to University of California, Davis's Integrated Pest Management website, with a list of problems affecting camellias. My own camellias do shed a certain number of healthy green leaves every year, but still manage to keep flowering. Excessive leaf drop may indicate overfertilizing, but it could also be a sign of too much or too little water. Did buds drop from the plant, or did they simply not form? Failure to form buds might be a result of cold injury (although since you had flowers in spring, this seems to not be the problem), or it could also be a sign of overfertilizing with a nitrogen-heavy product which encourages leafy growth at the expense of flowers.

You may want to bring samples of the insect-affected leaves and the insects in the soil to a Master Gardener Clinic for identification and diagnosis. You might also mention the excessive leaf drop, which can be a symptom of Sudden Oak Death (Phytophthora ramorum).

Date 2019-05-18
Link to this record only (permalink)

Didn't find an answer to your question? Ask us directly!

Browse keywords

Search Again: