Camelia Hedge Pruning

Credit: iStock/Tristan Scholze

Q: I have a Camelia hedge. It had very few blooms last year. Should I prune it and, if so, when. It is very healthy otherwise with thick foliage. It is on the west side of our house but is protected by a Japanese maple.

There are several reasons why your camellia hedge is not flowering: too young, excessive pruning, inadequate light, overfeeding or insufficient watering.

Pruning can be done right after flowering but not past July to allow the current year’s growth to mature and set flower buds.

Maintain deep thorough watering at the base during dry stretches by mulching especially during late summer into fall.

Fertilize with a Rhododendron food as directed on the packaging.

Thin surrounding vegetation, such as Japanese maple, to allow more light onto the Camellia without causing sunburn. Camellias when gradually exposed will tolerate more sun but may tend to have more leaves yellow. This can be overcome by adding a little more nitrogen but watch for overfeeding, as it could result in more leaf production or fertilizer burn.