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- July 16, 2008 at 1:49 am #28195
Generally speaking, camellias grow into nicely shaped shrubs with little pruning required for many years, hence the dearth of much literature on pruning I expect (unlike say, roses, that require lots of pruning each year by comparison).
If what you are implying is that the camellia has outgrown its space or is leggy, or is overgrown to the point that enough light doesn’t get in to allow good flowering and healthy overall growth, then you can prune, yes.
Not sure where you live, but various extensions have bulletins on this, from Oregon State to Virginia to Georgia, etc., and I am pasting a few below for your perusal. I think the Georgia one is most helpful, as it contains some photos of technique:
If the situation is a very overgrown shrub, you can cut them down very hard (or cut out some of the oldest stems down to a foot or so), not unlike rejuvenation of a rhodie or many other shrubs. Then you watch where it breaks, forming new growth, and adjust by pinching misplaces new shoots and so on. This hard pruning is done in later winter, before new growth begins.
Pinching (lighter pruning) is done after flowering; much later, and you will be taking off next year’s buds (not unlike lilacs, say). Removal of twiggy, messy small branches in the interior that won’t develop well anyhow is always a good idea. Anyhow, have a read at the above and this:
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