How to successfully transplant a camellia

A late winter and early spring bloomer, the camellia bush adds colour to the garden when most plants are still dormant. This evergreen shrub grow best in mild climates that experience minimal winter frost. Camellias are usually transplanted to the garden from nursery plants. Planting correctly ensures that the shrub thrives and flowers well in its new home. Too much sun, poor soil and improper transplanting cause the plant to decline in health and beauty. While they can be transplanted in spring or fall, spring-planted camellias have the entire warm season to establish themselves.

Prepare a garden bed that receives full morning sun and partial afternoon shade. Choose a bed with well-drained, loose soil that isn't near any large trees or shrubs that can rob nutrients and water from the camellia.

Spread a 3-inch layer of compost over the garden bed. Turn the compost into the top 12 inches of soil using a spade.

Dig the planting hole to the same depth as the camellia's nursery pot. Make the hole three times as wide.

Lift the camellia out of the nursery pot. Inspect the roots. If any thick roots fully encircle the soil ball, cut through them with a sharp knife, from the top of the root ball to the bottom. Make two to four cuts around the circumference of the root ball.

Set the camellia in the planting hole. Add or remove soil from the bottom of the hole so that the top of the root ball sits approximately 1/2 inch above soil level.

Fill the hole around the roots halfway. Water until the soil is thoroughly moistened, and then finish filling in the hole with soil. Firm the soil around the base of the camellia with your hands and then water a second time.

Spread a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch, such as pine bark, over the soil around the plant. The mulch protects the roots and helps retain moisture in the soil.


Camellias don't require any fertilisation at planting. Wait until the first flowering cycle completes before feeding the plants. Water newly planted camellias only after the top few inches of soil begin to dry. Over-watering can kill newly transplanted shrubs.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Spade
  • Knife
  • Mulch
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About the Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.