Camellia plants are gorgeous evergreen shrubs that bring colorful flowers and glossy foliage to the garden. What’s more, they are well-suited to growing in pots. But does this mean that you can grow them indoors? This article will discuss whether you can grow camellia plants indoors.
Can Camellia Plants Grow Indoors?
Camellia plants should not be grown permanently indoors. These evergreen shrubs aren’t well-suited to the conditions in our homes. Indoor conditions are too warm and too dry for camellia plants.
They grow best in USDA Zones 7 to 10 but can be grown in pots in colder areas. Camellias need moist, well-draining soils that are slightly acidic. In addition, they also need partial shade and sheltered locations away from cold winds.
Although indoor conditions would provide shelter and partial shade, camellias don’t grow well in our homes. The only reason to grow camellias indoors is to keep them inside during extremely cold winters.
How Does Growing Camellias Indoors Affect Their Flowering Cycle?
Growing camellias indoors can disrupt their flowering cycle. Some camellia species flower in the fall, while others bloom in spring. However, all camellia varieties produce next year’s flower buds on new growth.
Once the camellia flowering season finishes, these shrubs start working on next year’s buds. To do this effectively, camellias need cooler temperatures. Like many other plants, camellias benefit from a cold period to produce new flowers.
Growing camellias indoors deprives them of this cooler period. Instead, our homes usually provide consistently warm temperatures throughout the year. As such, indoor camellias may struggle to produce any flowers. Even if they do, the blooms won’t be very large.
Overwintering Camellia Plants Indoors
While camellias shouldn’t be grown indoors permanently, bringing them inside temporarily is sometimes necessary. Although camellia shrubs can handle cold temperatures, they struggle in freezing winds, especially in winter.
Growing camellia shrubs in containers make protecting them more manageable during the winter. In most climates, wrapping the pot in a layer of fleece should be sufficient. However, bringing your potted camellias inside is vital in icy areas.
Even if you bring your camellia indoors, you’ll still need to keep it reasonably cool. Store your camellia in a bright spot that stays cool. Aim for temperatures lower than 60ºF (15.5ºC). Gradually readjust your camellia to outdoor conditions in the spring before leaving it outside permanently.
Can You Grow Camellias as Houseplants?
Camellias aren’t particularly suited to growing as houseplants. These evergreen shrubs need outdoor conditions to truly thrive. Indoor conditions inside our homes are often too warm and dry for camellias.
How to Grow Camellias Outside
Grow your camellia outdoors in a sheltered spot that receives partial shade. Some camellia varieties can tolerate more sunlight. Grow camellias either directly in the ground or in pots.
Camellia shrubs need fertile, slightly acidic soils that are well-draining but still hold some moisture. The soil pH should stay between 5.5 and 6.5. Adding ericaceous compost to the soil or container provides the right acidity and plenty of nutrients.
Camellia plants prefer moist soil that doesn’t become waterlogged. Water your camellia whenever the top 2 to 4 inches of soil feel dry. Young camellia plants need regular watering until they become established.
Camellias are low-maintenance shrubs that don’t need much fertilizer. Once flowering finishes, feed your camellia with diluted fertilizer to help fuel the growth of next season’s flowers.
Camellias should only be pruned once a year, immediately after flowering finishes. Pruning too often removes developing flower buds.
Growing Camellia Plants Indoors FAQs:
Can Camellia Survive Indoors?
Camellias don’t grow well when kept indoors permanently. Grow camellias outside for the best results.
Are Camellias Happy in Pots?
Camellias grow well in pots as long as they have a sheltered location with partial shade. Use ericaceous compost to provide acidic, fertile soil.
What Do You Do With Camellias in the Winter?
In Zones 7 to 10, camellias should be fine in winter. In colder areas, mulch plants heavily to keep them warm or bring potted camellias indoors.
Camellias shouldn’t be grown permanently indoors as they aren’t suited for indoor conditions. Our homes are usually too warm and dry for camellias. If necessary, move potted camellias indoors during cold winters.
For more, see our in-depth guide to the meaning and symbolism of 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.