Camellias – Severe Pruning

Q: My camellias have reached ten feet tall and are getting bare on the lower branches. Would five feet be too low to prune them? Will they re-sprout on the lower bare limbs? 

A: If they are healthy, there should be no problem in doing such a severe pruning. You’ll get the best results by pruning in late winter, just before the weather warms up. However, most of the resprouting will occur within just twelve inches of where you cut the central stems off. In other words if you cut them down to five feet, there won’t be any resprouting on the lower four feet of the trunk. You will get very vigorous upward growth on the sprouts that do form near your cut. Clip them back regularly to avoid the situation you find yourself in now.