Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Camellias are native to Japan, China and Indo-China, where they grow on well-drained wooded slopes under light shade.

A natural mulch of leaves accumulates beneath the plants. The plants were successfully grown in Northern California around 1853, and they have been popular ever since.

Planting Location

Camellias need good drainage to do well, so be sure the area you want to grow them does not stay too wet. If your drainage is poor, you might try a raised bed or container. Camellias like a soil mix that is high in humus content and slightly acidic. In preparing the soil, mix ample amounts of redwood compost, peat moss or a good Camellia-Azalea mix, usually using about half good garden soil, and  half humus. 

Find a location that does not get hot sun if you choose the Japonica varieties. Sasanqua varieties can take full sun along the coast, but would look better if they get some shade in warmer inland areas.

Planting Instructions

Dig a hole approximately twice as large in diameter as the original container (1 gallon plants, a slightly larger hole would be better, such as 20” or so). The hole should be about 1.5 times as deep. Use your prepared mix in the bottom of the hole and tamp firmly so the top of the root ball, when placed in the hole is 1” above the soil surface. Fill in around the sides of the root ball with the same mixture as above. Tamp it down firmly to get rid of any lumps and air pockets. When the hole is full, it is wise to form a berm around the plant with soil to hold water and fill with water two times to be sure the plant is thoroughly watered.

Water your new plant as needed, but be sure it does not get dry, they should be moist at all times but be sure they do not stay soggy wet or the roots will rot.


Fertilize camellias with a good balanced fertilizer as soon as new growth appears in the spring. Follow the directions on the package and be sure not to overfeed them. Cotton seed meal is a favorite of many growers. There are other mixtures of fertilizers formulated for camellias, just follow the label directions. A supplemental feeding of iron will keep the foliage a deeper green. Do not fertilize a dry plant; instead water thoroughly the day before you feed the plant. Stop feeding in November. If you keep feeding the plants, the flower buds will drop and you will get no blooms.


Insects are usually not a problem, however, occasionally scale or mites are a nuisance. Aphids on the new growth can usually be washed off with a strong stream of water. Spraying may be necessary and a good systemic insecticide will control most problems.

Sun Needs

Camellia Japonica, C. Reticulata and most of the hybrids need protection from the hot sun. Some of the deep pinks and reds will do well in full sun if you are less than five miles from the coast. Inland, shade or filtered sun will keep the plants looking better. Light pinks and white blooming plants should not get direct sun. Camellia Sasanqua is able to stand full sun, even in warmer inland areas, but they will do well in shade also.


Generally speaking, Sasanqua varieties bloom earlier usually starting in November and the Japonicas usually start about the first of the year. Sasanquas have smaller leaves and blooms, generally with the Japonicas and Reticulatas having the largest. Reticulata varieties and hybrids tend to have a little more rangey growth habit.


 walterandersenlogo.jpgWalter Andersen Nursery has built its reputation on providing the highest quality plant material and the best customer service backed by a professional staff. This, along with the widest variety of plant material available anywhere in San Diego has kept generations of San Diegans coming to Walter Andersen Nursery year after year.




Articles about Waterwise Gardening (Click for Full List)

Water Fall

10 Tips on Water-Wise Landscaping

Water is one of the precious and most valuable resources on this earth.
MP Rotators

Easy Sprinkler Upgrade is a Do-it-Yourselfer

In these times of water conservation and water runoff concerns, one of the easiest and smartest things a home gardener can do is to replace their old-fashioned sprinkler heads with new water efficient heads.

Free Water for your Garden

4263 Ron Vanderhoff
Rain Harvesting
If the current drought in Orange County continues, or worsens, there won’t be enough…

I'm not Watering, are You?

3580 Ron Vanderhoff
Walkway to Water Conservation
I haven’t watered my landscape for in over eight weeks!

Saving Rainwater Quickly Becoming a Viable Alternative for Local Gardeners

4749 Ron Vanderhoff
Bushman Tank
Fall and winter is a wonderful time to improve a landscape and garden.

Water Conservation & Cycads

30829 Phil Bergman
Jungle Music Palms and Cycads is a family owned and operated business established in…

What was that new sprinkler thing you wrote about?

3734 Ron Vanderhoff
MP Rotators
A few weeks ago I wrote about a simple sprinkler conversion that was no harder than…

Featured Plant Care

Platycerium Monthly Plant Care

Stag Horn Ferns (Platyceriums) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Ferns
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Plant Care Reminders for Trees in Zone 24

Plant Care Reminders - Trees - Sunset Zone 24

in Trees
Do you live In coastal southern California? Do you grow any of these trees?
Hollyleaf Cherry Monthly Plant Care - Photo courtesy Wikipedia Commons

Cherry - Hollyleaf (Prunus ilicifolia) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Shrubs
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Blueberry Monthly Plant Care

Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum x ashei var. Southern Highbush) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Edibles
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Latest Articles

Join the Mulch and get a bunch of Walking onion bulblets!

Join the Mulch & Get a Free Bunch of Walking Onion Bulblets!

We'd like you to join theMulch and start using all of the great tools we've created to…
Jungle Music Palms and Cycads

Jungle Music Palms, Cycads & Tropical Plants Fall Newsletter

Rare and Exotic Palms, Cycads and Tropical Plants Hello! You may already…

Popular Articles

Baseball Field Maintenance

Baseball Field Maintenance - A General Guide for Fields of All Levels

in Lawn
More great baseball field resources can be found here (including a pdf version of this…
Queen Palm Care & Use

The Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) Care & Use

in Trees
Jungle Music Palms and Cycads is a family owned and operated business established in 1977

What are Microgreens and How to Grow Them

in Edibles
Microgreens are tiny leafed vegetables that are grown from seed and require very little…
Kahili Ginger Plant Care

Hedychium gardnerianum (Kahili Ginger) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

User Guides (Slide)

Popular Recommendations (Slide)