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Camellias : Generating new growth in lower brown-wood branches?


I am hoping you can help me with advice on my healthy + mature camellia, growing outside a window.
Each year it grows higher, blocking the view through the window.
I have been able to prune the top, but there is no new growth beneath, creating a canopy effect.

Is there any way I can encourage new growth in the brown wood beneath?

Any advice would be appreciated,
Mark (in Guildford).


  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 17,231
    edited 2 May
    I had one like that, I sawed it down to about 10” from the ground, mine was actually in a pot,  but within 4 years it had grown beautifully,  you can see the buds, this photo shows it about 6’ tall, it’s bigger than that now and covered in flowers. 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Mary370Mary370 Limerick, Ireland Posts: 1,971
    I think it's beautiful, like a tree.  As lyn said, severe pruning......
  • luis_prluis_pr Hurst, Texas Zone 8aPosts: 52
    The pruning by itself should promote new growth on the lower parts of the plant. Fertilizer, morning only sunlight and additional water will help with the recovery. I would add organic mulch and test the soil pH there as I am not sure if the types of rocks in the picture leech lime. The pruning should be done now/soon. As usual, take cuttings before starting if this is an important plant -emotionally speaking-, in case some unexpected disaster strikes but I would hope not!

  • InglezinhoInglezinho Posts: 515
    That is just beautiful as it is. Camellias hate pruning.
    Everyone likes butterflies. Nobody likes caterpillars.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 27,582
    Camelias don't hate pruning, and best to avoid morning sunlight as it is most likely to damage flowers / buds after frosty nights
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 68,132
    edited 4 May
    When my parents bought their last home they inherited a huge camelia which totally blocked the window behind it ... Pa cut it hard back, it looked like a pollarded 'street tree' ........ it responded to the pruning really well, put out new shoots  and was soon a healthy green dome with foliage almost to the ground ... it flowered its socks off every spring.  After that Pa kept it to windowsill height by gentle pruning immediately after flowering.   :)

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Novice23Novice23 East SussexPosts: 169
    Great to read all this as my Camellia has empty brown stems and I have been wondering what I could do.  I might try just a few of the emptiest ones and see what happens.   It looks so lovely in the dark days of January and February and is still flowering away now.  
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 8,703
    edited 5 May
    Inglezinho why would you say camelias hate pruning? It's not remotely true.
  • I cut one down from 9/10 feet to 6 inches. Now kept at a more reasonable height of 5 ft.
  • GravelEaterGravelEater The East of EnglandPosts: 65
    I cut one down from 9/10 feet to 6 inches. Now kept at a more reasonable height of 5 ft.
    Woah!!!  You sure those units are right?  From taller than a fence to not much higher than ankle high?  Crazy!  I've done this with Clematis, but hey, that's Clematis.
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