Why aren't my camellia trees flowering?

Updated February 21, 2017

Camellias are popular plants, with shiny leaves and beautiful blooms, available in a variety of types that perform across zones and conditions. Camellias can frustrate gardeners by failing to bloom, caused by as many factors as there are types of camellias.


Camellia are fast-growing bushy shrubs or trees. These flowering plants are in the family Theaceae and native to east and southern Asia. Select camellias from among the many varieties for the growing conditions in your area.


Camellias are hardy to USDA Zone 7, but some varieties will bloom in Zone 6. Extreme fluctuations in temperature will cause camellia buds to drop. Buds that freeze will drop before they open. Hot temperatures in the spring or fall will stimulate shoot growth and cause flower buds to drop. Camellias that fail to bloom year after year might be the wrong variety for the conditions.


Camellias prefer even moisture and well-drained soil. Soil that dries out can cause bud drop.

Soil and Nutrients

Poor quality soil, insufficient nutrients and bad drainage can stress a camellia and cause bud drop. Soil that is slightly acidic, Ph 6 to 6.5, is ideal for camellia flower production.

Pruning and Pests

Camellias do not respond well to pruning and will often stop blooming for two years if they are cut back. If pruning is necessary, it should be immediately after a plant blooms. A camellia bud mite infestation can cause buds to develop too slowly, blooms to open too late or buds to drop.

Fun Fact

If grown in optimum conditions, a camellia can live up to 600 years outdoors, or 150 years as a houseplant.

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