Growing Camellias

Study camellias (eg. japonicas, sasanquas, reticulatas), their special characteristics, and their culture. Also covers soils, feeding, watering, pruning, planting methods, pest & disease control, propagation, & more.

Course CodeVHT109
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Camellia Home Study Course

  • Learn to Grow and propagate Camellias
  • Learn to identify different Camellias
  • Learn to use Camellias, as landscape plants, hedges, tub plants, topiary, etc
  • Work in a camellia nursery or garden; start your own business or improve your employment opportunities
Camellias are a hardy group of plants that are grown from cool temperate climates through to tropical regions.

While many Camellia species are highly adaptable, the best results are generally achieved by choosing cultivars to suit the climate and conditions you are growing them in.

Tea leaves are derived from the plant Camellia sinensis, a species that does well in tropical and sub tropical conditions. Other species, (eg. Camellia reticulata) does not adapt so well to warm climates, and is generally far better in a cool temperate climate.
Camellia oleifera is another species grown as a commercial crop oil from this species is used commercially in china.

The three most common ornamental species are:
  • Camellia japonica mainly bred varieties from the original, smaller flowered species.
  • Camellia sasanqua species from Japan, smaller flowers than C. japonica.
  • Camellia reticulata species from China.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Review of the system of plant identification
    • General characteristics of the group
    • Information contacts (ie: nurseries, seed, clubs etc)
    • What is more commonly grown?
  2. Culture
    • Planting
    • Staking
    • Mulching
    • Watering
    • Pest & disease
    • Feeding
    • Pruning
    • Protection from wind, salt air etc.
  3. Propagation
    • Methods of propagating camellias
  4. Using Camellias
    • Woodland planting
    • Garden beds
    • Specimins, ground cover, shade plantings
    • Topiary
    • Hedging
    • Pleaching
    • Espaliers
  5. The most Commonly Grown Varieties
    • Selected C. japonica varieties reviewed
  6. Other important Groups
    • Camellia sasanqua & varieties
    • Camelia reticulata and varieties
    • Camellia sinensis and varieties
  7. The Lesser Grown Varieties
    • Review of other species
  8. Special Assignment - On one selected plant or group.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Identify different camellias.
  • Describe the cultural requirements common to most, if not all, camellias.
  • Propagate camellias
  • Determine and describe different ways of using Camellias.
  • Describe the identification and culture of most commonly cultivated camellias.
  • Describe the identification and culture of sasanqua and reticulata camellias.
  • Discuss a range of lesser grown species and cultivars of Camellia.
  • Discuss a specialist camellia related topic in depth

Where Can You Grow Camellias?

Camellias are normally grown as ornamental shrubs in temperate climates, in fertile soils, where annual rainfall is perhaps 25 inches or better. Ideal places are found in parts of Europe, England, North America, Cental Asia, Southern Australia and New Zealand. With appropriate management techniques and the use of more suitable varieties though; the genus Camellia can be cultivated successfully across a much wider range of locations.

Example: Growing Camellias in a Warmer Climate

Though best suited to temperate climates, many camellias will grow successfully in sub tropical climates such as Brisbane. Grows well in cooler inland areas of Hawaii. Roots must remain cool and moist, but avoid waterlogging. Organic acid soil. Protect from wind. Filtered sun or mild shade.

Camellias respond to feeding, mulching and during dry periods, watering.

In a temperate climate there are relatively few major problems, occasional aphids, scale, nematodes, and some leaf eating insects. Scale and thrips tend to be major problems in Hawaii.

What Species & Varieties to Grow

There are four main species grown, and many cultivars within these species.

C. japonica -The most popular group, with thousands of named cultivars, some being suited to warm climates, and others not.

C. reticulata -Taller plants with larger flowers, less suited to hot places than other species

C. sasanqua -Smaller leaves, earlier flowering than other species, less cold tolerant than reticulatas, better in full sun than japonicas. Well adapted to subtropics.

C. sinensis (syn. Thea sinensis) -A native to Assam, this is the commercial "tea" plant, grown as a commercial crop in many humid tropical areas.


You need to be passionate to study camellias at the level of this course.

There's a lot of work involved to complete 100 hours of study into just one type of plant; but in the end, your level and knowledge will be far stronger than most who work with camellias, amateur or professional.

This course can improve your prospects for success as a nurseryman, landscaper, gardener, plant collector or anything else.

Camellias are one of the more popular garden plants world wide. There has always been a strong demand for camellias as a container plant or in ground garden plant; and that situation is unlikely to ever change. If you do this course; you will set yourself apart, as something of an "expert" when it comes to camellias.



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Rosemary Davies

Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (c
John Mason

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.
Jacinda Cole

B.Sc., Cert.Garden Design. Landscape Designer, Operations Manager, Consultant, Garden Writer. He was operations manager for a highly reputable British Landscape firm (The Chelsea Gardener) before starting up his own landscaping firm. He spent three year
Adriana Fraser

Over 30 years working in horticulture, as a gardener, propagator, landscape designer , teacher and consultant. Adriana has spent much of her life living on large properties, developing and maintaining her own gardens, and living a semi self sufficient li
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