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Can you divide a camelia?

Bagpuss57Bagpuss57 South West Posts: 256
I have a camelia that has slowly been growing for some time (not fast enough for my liking but they say everything comes to those who wait!!!!) Anyway I was wondering if Camelias can be divided as mine seems to have two main stems both growing in opposite directions which means there is a gap in the centre. Is it possible to create two plants by digging out the part on the left? I know they are shallow rooted and often create new plants by layering but I want to make this plant more rounded rather than two branches going in opposite directions. Any thoughts? 


  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,682
    I have never done it before, but if you have two separate stems at the bottom, I don't see why not. Just carefully pull them apart or even cut them in half. A plant that small will be easier to do, and as you say, the roots are not that deep.
  • Bagpuss57Bagpuss57 South West Posts: 256
    Would it be better to try it now or later in autumn? 
  • BijdezeeBijdezee BPosts: 1,484
    No is the short answer.  Propagation is by layering, grafting, semi-ripe or hardwood cuttings.

    The joint on yours is probably under the soil and does not have roots of its own. 
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,682
    I think it's a tough time to do it now since there is very little rain and with the heat, it will be a challenge. Autumn will be a better time. Keep them well watered with collected rain water throughout this summer to help the bud formation.
  • Bagpuss57Bagpuss57 South West Posts: 256
    Bit of discrepancy whether this is possible or not then? 
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,682
    Bagpuss57, I have never done it, but have to admit I have never had a multi-stemmed Camellia. Yours looked looked like a few young plants squashed into an area. You could scoop some of the soil down the base to have a look. If Bijdezee is right, and the join is just underneath, you should  try the other methods listed.
  • Bagpuss57Bagpuss57 South West Posts: 256
    Thanks borderline i'll do that and see. Otherwise I'll have to think of a different way to make it look more rounded. Can it be pruned to shape it?
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,682
    edited June 2018
    You can prune them to give them a more rounded shape but be aware that you could remove potential flowers for next year. Be patient and let it grow a bit.

    The shrub looks quite small and the leaves are large for its size, so there is no need to rush into shaping it yet. 
  • Bagpuss57Bagpuss57 South West Posts: 256
    It's over ten years old but did start life in a pot until 2016. 
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