Camellia japonica is naturally a large shrub or small tree variable in size, growth rate, and habit. Hundred-year old plants in California could reach heights as high as 20 feet tall with equal spread. However, gardeners can consider C. japonica to form shrubs 6 to 12 feet high and wide.
Bloom Seasons:Early spring, Late fall, Early winter, Mid winter, Late winter
Special Features:Attractive foliage, Not North American native
How to Grow
Soak the seeds overnight before planting.
Use a light seed-planting mix or combine perlite and peat moss in equal parts. Moisten the planting mix and squeeze gently to remove excess moisture and fill 4" pots with the moist soil. Place the camellia seeds in the mix with the eye facing down or sideways. Cover with a thin layer of soil and place the pots in a plastic bag. Leave one end of the bag open to allow air circulation. Place in bright indirect sunlight where they will stay warm, and make sure the soil stays moist but not wet.
Camellia seeds take months to sprout in some cases, and often the roots will form before any growth appears above ground. Camellias put down a long taproot that can become stunted in small pots. Once growth starts above ground, dig up the roots and pinch off the tip of the taproot to force growth into the stems and leaves.
Keep the plants in the small pots for about a year and use either a slow release fertilizer or a liquid fertilizer on a periodic basis. When the plants are a year old, transplant to larger pots or outdoors.