‘Stave off disease’ When is the best time to prune camellia plants?

Monty Don details the correct way to prune fruit plants

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Pruning camellia plants is not essential but the task can help to promote a healthy plant by keeping some diseases at bay and adding a better shape to your shrub. However, the time of year you decide to carry out the task makes all of the difference.

According to experts at Gardening Know How: “The best time to prune a camellia plant is right after it has stopped blooming, which will most likely be in May or June depending on the variety.”

Carrying out pruning after the flowers have bloomed gives the shrub time to form new growth and flower buds before the next cycle of bloom.

According to New Garden: “For camellia japonica (late winter/spring blooming), this usually means mid-to-late spring, and late fall through late spring for fall blooming sasanqua camellias.”

Pruning your camellia at others times of the year will not cause harm to the shrub, but could remove some of the blossom buds for next year.

If you are more concerned with shaping your camellia and don’t mind losing some flowers, you can prune your camellia at any time of year.

New Garden added: “If you enjoy using camellias as cut flowers, you can even prune as you harvest the blooms.”

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How to prune a camellia to stave off disease

Any disease you notice should be cut out as soon as you catch sight of it.

Gardening Know How explained: “Camellia pruning to control disease and pests consists of thinning out some of the inner branches to improve airflow and allow more light to reach deeper into the plant.

“These two factors can help reduce problems that are common to a camellia plant.”

Begin by inspecting the interior of the camellia plant and identifying any small or weak branches which are not the main branches.

Then, use a sharp, clean pair of pruners to snip off these branches.

Make sure to cut right at the place it meets the main branch.

How to prune camellia plants for shape

According to Gardening Know How: “Shaping the plant will encourage more vigorous, bushy growth and will increase the number of blooms.”

Once your plant has finished blooming, pinch or snap the end of the branches to the desired size.

The experts added: “If you want your growing camellias to grow larger than they currently are, just prune back an inch or less.

“If you would like your camellias to stay a certain size, cut them back to a few inches less than the size you desire.”

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