Camellias can bring color and beauty to any garden, even in winter when little else is blooming. However, before adding a camellia to your garden, it’s a good idea to find out how large it gets. In this article, we’ll find out how tall and wide camellias grow and typical camellia plant size once mature.
How Tall and Wide Do Camellias Grow?
Most camellias in gardens will grow between 6 and 15 feet tall and approximately 6 to 10 feet wide. Camellias mainly grow as evergreen shrubs, but some camellia species will grow as small trees. The largest camellia varieties can reach up to approximately 50 feet tall.
Many camellia cultivars have been crafted into dwarf varieties designed for pots or small gardens. These camellias only reach between 2 and 6 feet tall on average. An excellent example of a dwarf camellia variety is Camellia sasanqua ‘Dwarf Shishi’.
Most camellia species grow reasonably slowly and can take decades to reach their full height and width. Camellia shrubs also produce large, showy flower heads that can be up to 6 inches wide, depending on the variety. However, some camellias won’t flower at their best until they’re several years old.
Which Camellias Are the Tallest and Shortest?
The tallest camellia species is Camellia reticulata, which grows as a tree rather than a shrub. These evergreen trees regularly reach 50 feet in height. Camellia reticulata is native to southwestern parts of China.
The most petite types of camellia shrubs are the dwarf cultivars. These include Camellia sasanqua ‘Dwarf Sishi’. In most cases, these small camellias reach approximately 3 feet tall in most cases but can grow up to 5 feet tall. Dwarf camellias grow well in containers and are perfect if you don’t have much space to work with.
Factors Contributing to the Size of Camellias
Although camellias grow pretty slowly, providing the right conditions helps them develop quickly. Here are a few factors that affect the camellia plant size:
Camellias flower from new growth, which begins to form after flowering finishes. The new flower buds take months to develop, leaving them vulnerable to cold winds. That’s why camellias need sheltered spots that protect them from strong winds that could damage the young flower buds.
Most camellias require shady conditions, although cultivars derived from Camellia sasanqua can tolerate full sun. Most camellias thrive in partial shade with some morning sunlight. Growing your camellia in these locations helps it grow at its best.
Camellias need moist, slightly acidic soils that are still fertile and well-draining. The soil pH needs to be between 5.5 and 6.5. Ericaceous compost provides the right amount of acidity along with plenty of nutrients.
Camellias won’t be able to reach their full size if they don’t have enough space. If you want a large camellia, give it approximately 5 feet of space away from other plants. If you want to restrict a camellia’s size, grow it in a container.
Giving your camellia plenty of space improves airflow around the plant, which reduces the risk of diseases. It also prevents pests and diseases from being transferred onto your camellia from other plants.
Camellias only need to be pruned once a year after they finish flowering. This allows you to shape your camellia as desired. However, pruning too frequently will stunt your camellia’s growth.
Camellias start slowly producing flower buds for the next year immediately after flowering. If you prune several months later, you’ll cut off the developing buds, setting the plant back by months.
Camellia Growth Expectations FAQs:
How Much Space Does a Camellia Need?
Camellias benefit from plenty of space around them. Camellias need approximately 5 feet of space between them and other plants. If you’re growing a camellia hedge, leave approximately 3 feet of space between each plant.
How Large Do Camellia Bushes Get?
Camellia bushes grow between 6 and 15 feet high in most cases. They also spread between 6 and 10 feet wide, depending on the variety.
Where is the Best Position to Plant a Camellia?
Camellia shrubs do best in sheltered areas that provide partial shade, although some species prefer full sun. All camellias need protection from cold winds.
Camellia Plant Size: Wrapping Up
Most camellias grow between 6 and 15 feet tall, but the largest camellia trees can reach up to 50 feet tall. Camellias also grow approximately 6 to 10 feet wide, depending on the variety. Most camellias grow fairly slowly, taking several decades to reach their full size.
For more, see our in-depth guide on the meaning and symbolism of camellias and discover our favorite types of red, white, and pink camellia flowers.
Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.
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