Camellias are the belles of the winter garden. With lustrous foliage and exquisite, many-petaled blooms in candy colors, they are popular plants for warmer climates.
A healthy, well-grown camellia tends to produce a great many flower buds. If all the flowers opened, they would crush together and the blossoms would be small and misshapen. To prevent this from happening, prune camellias with a technique called disbudding.
Disbudding removes the flower buds, leaving just a couple on a stem.
However, if you have sasanqua camellias, which are prized for their profusion of flowers, do not disbud.
How to Disbud a Camellia:
- Distinguish between flower buds and leaf buds. Flower buds are more plump and round than leaf buds, which are more pointed. When bent or gently twisted, flower buds should come off easily. Leaf buds resist pressure and require more force to remove.
- Working around the shrub, snip or twist off crowded flower buds, leaving 2”-4” between flower buds growing along the length of the stem.
- At the very end of the stem, leave only one or two buds.