Camellia Plants

How far can I cut back a large camelia bush

Zone Helston, West Penwith, Cornwall, UK | Anonymous added on February 16, 2020 | Answered

We have a number of healthy camelia bushes in our garden which grow extremely well in this part of Cornwall. One has got huge and is encroaching on our lawn - we haven't got a large garden and we would like to cut it well back and create a sort of camelia tree? This would give more space to the Magnolia tree which it is blocking. Is that possible. I read on one site - but it was an Australian site that this was possible and good for the bush, but we have given advice from someone else that this is a bad idea. Help please! It's a classic large pincushion shaped bush, it doesn't flower particularly profusely in comparison to our other camlias. We think it is an old bush as the main trunk is probably about eight inches in diameter. Please help us

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on February 16, 2020

"Moderation in all things" is good advice, especially with pruning. Don't remove more than 25% of foliage in one year. If you need more drastic reduction than that, do it over a two or three year period. Or remove the entire plant and replace with a younger, smaller plant.

Plants produce the foliage they need for photosynthesis of sugars for growth and sustanance. If you remove too much there is considerable stress induced and possible ramant regrowth, as the plant tries to get back the lost leaf surface and food production for itself.

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