How to Plant Camellias in Pots

Updated February 21, 2017

Camellias are evergreen shrubs with glossy foliage and showy white, pink or red flowers with overlapping petals. They are ideal candidates for container growing. If space is at a premium, or if your garden soil is unsuitable for camellias, these attractive plants can still be enjoyed. Camellias thrive in the warm climate of the South. In areas where the temperature may dip below -6.67 degrees C, camellia must be moved inside. By following some basic guidelines for good container planting, the odds that your camellia will thrive in a pot on your deck or patio can be increased.

Select healthy, vigorous camellia plants with bright, intact blooms. Make sure there are no yellowing or shrivelled leaves.

Choose a plastic, fibreglass or terra cotta container that is at least 15 inches deep and 15 inches wide for the young camellia, making sure it has ample holes for drainage.

Fill the pot halfway with fast-draining potting mix specially designed for use in containers, and place the camellia plant inside.

Adjust the amount of soil under and around the root ball so that the camellia is sitting exactly at the same depth at which it was growing in the original container. Fill in with more potting mix, tamping gently. Leave room for watering by keeping soil to a level 2 inches below the lip of the pot.

Water the new camellia plant thoroughly and at least twice a week as it grows, irrigating until water comes out of the bottom holes. Empty the container saucer after watering to avoid root rot.

Add a 1-1/2-inch layer of mulch to protect the camellia's shallow roots and conserve moisture.

Place the container in a location where the camellia will get partial sun and partial shade.


As the camellia grows, it will need to be repotted it in a container that is one size larger each time. According to the Louisiana State University Agricultural website, excessively large pots can cause over-watering and root rot. Eventually, the camellia will need to be in a pot at least 2 feet wide and 2 feet deep. A particularly good location for the camellia is where large trees overhang the patio so the plant can be in dappled shade. Make sure the location is sheltered from the wind. Once the camellia is established, it may be able to tolerate full sun.

Things You'll Need

  • 15-inch wide, 15-inch deep container
  • Commercial potting mix
  • Mulch
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