Can Camellias Grow in Full Shade? (Read This First)

Camellias belong to a genus of flowering plants with over 3,000 hybrids. The family is known as Theaceae, which is identified by their evergreen leaves.

When growing camellias, you need to consider the conditions in which they will thrive.

Yes, Camellias can tolerate full shade but it’s not recommended. The ideal environment is an area that receives light shade to protect the flowers from the hot sun. Never expose Camellias to full sun all day.

In general, they prefer shade — but they don’t like to grow in wet soil.

In addition, they need slightly acidic soil. In the right environment, camellias can grow tall and wide.

camellias in shade
Image Source: Explore Georgia

Camellias can tolerate full shade

Camellias grow best in partial shade, but they can also tolerate full sun. Their leaves need a moderate amount of sunlight to remain glossy.

They also need slightly acidic soil. They grow tall and wide. If you plant them in deep shade, you might find that they do not bloom as well.

Camellias prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. If you choose a location that receives a lot of sunlight, it’s best to mulch around the roots to protect them from the dry heat of the day.

If you choose to place your camellia in full sun, you’ll need to water it at least once a week.

The root ball will dry out if the soil is not moist enough.

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This can cause leaf drops. Also, make sure that you have good drainage around your camellia roots.

Types of Camellias and Sun Requirements

There are three kinds of camellias. Some can tolerate full shade, while others require partial shade.

Japanese camellias are smaller, but all can take some shade. Sasanqua camellias can grow from 5 to 25 feet tall when mature.

However, Sasanqua camellias bloom best in 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. Japanese camellias, on the other hand, can grow up to 8 feet tall and have a more compact form.

Camellias do not need a specialized growing medium

Growing camellias in full shade is not as difficult as growing them in partial shade.

Camellias thrive in the shade, and they tend to bloom better in this environment. If possible, place them under tall trees or on the north side of your house.

As they grow, they will gradually accept more sun. Shade is also beneficial in colder zones since it helps prevent damage from the cold.

Grow Camellias in rich loam soil

The best soil for camellias is rich loam soil with a pH range of 5.8 to 6.5. This kind of soil has plenty of nutrients and is well-drained.

Camellias also require regular mulching, which helps the soil retain moisture and adds nutrients to the plant.

You should also avoid planting camellias in sandy or low-nutrient soil. Also, avoid planting camellias in boggy soil as it promotes fungal disease.

Camellias grow well in a variety of soil types, including sandy, alkaline, and acidic soils. They do not grow well in constantly wet soil as this can lead to root rot.

However, you can improve drainage by adding a soil amendment, which can help loosen clay soil.

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Fertilize Camellias every 2 to 3 weeks 

Camellias are heavy feeders, so they need a high-quality fertilizer to grow healthy, vigorous, and prolific. 

Camellias also require only a small amount of fertilizer, so keep this in mind when fertilizing.

Try using organic fertilizers, as they contain lower concentrations of nutrients and release them over a longer period.

Fertilizers are recommended every 2 to 3 weeks depending on the variety and the type of soil you have.

Fertilizers with a large first number are recommended for new plantings, while fertilizers with a smaller first number will maintain the size of an established plant.

Fertilizers for camellias should be pH balanced and contain a consistent balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Camellias prefer a balanced fertilizer containing equal amounts of all three elements.

Fertilizers that are too high in one or more of these elements can cause the plant to grow unevenly and will result in a lack of blooms and fruit.

Similarly, plants that receive too little of one or both of these elements will grow slower and have fewer flowers and seeds. Fertilizers that do not contain these elements will result in stunted growth and disease problems.

If you have fertile soil, camellias do not need much fertilization. If you want your camellia to grow healthily, you can use organic granular plant food like Burpee Organic Granular Plant Food.

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Prune Camellias every year to promote healthy yield 

You don’t need to prune camellias in the full shade because they thrive in partial shade, but you can prune them every year to promote healthy growth.

Pruning camellias will also thin out any dead or twiggy branches. It’s best to prune your camellia after it has finished blooming to avoid accidentally snipping its blossom buds.

Camellia pruning should be done selectively, rather than shearing the plant. The goal is to prune back a third of the plant, but do not lop off more than that.

Avoid excessive branching, as this will reduce the amount of room for flowers to open. Also, prune leggy branches from the top of the plant to encourage a more upright growth pattern.


Camellias are delicate blooms that thrive in full shade. Discover the secrets to growing these exquisite flowers in optimal conditions. From selecting the right variety to providing proper care, this blog unveils essential tips for cultivating lush camellias in shaded areas. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting, learn how to create a vibrant oasis with these stunning plants. Explore the beauty and grace of camellias as you transform shaded spaces into enchanting floral displays. Unlock the potential of your garden and elevate your botanical expertise with the comprehensive insights shared in this insightful guide.


All in all, Camellias can tolerate partial shade and full sunlight, but they will not bloom in full sun.

Full sun, on the other hand, is detrimental to camellias, as it can cause sunscald on the glossy, evergreen leaves.

It is best to keep camellias in a light shade.

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