Reasons Why A Camellia Isn’t Flowering

Last Updated on August 16, 2022 by Stephanie

Camellias flower in the beginning of Spring, with flower buds forming during the summer months to the next year. Camellias are tough plants, but when your camellia isnt showing flowers in the spring there could be several reasons…

Camellias that dont bloom is because of poor soil conditions or frost damage, trimming in the wrong place or with too much fertilizer excessive shade, and drought stresses. The most frequent reason why there arent any blooms is due to frost damage while the buds of flowers are growing in the camellia.

Read on to find out the reasons why your camellia isnt blooming , and the best ways to ensure that your camellia flowers in the next season…

1. Soil Conditions for Camellia to Flower

The ideal conditions for the camellias soil to bloom are:

  • The soil is rich loam, or that has been amended with organic matter that is able to hold moisture, but is porous and lets excess water be able to drain away.
  • A slightly acidic soil pH between 5.8-6.5.
  • The soil is rich in nutrients and is often mulched to save water, improve soil structure, and provide nutrients to the soil.

When the soils condition is dry, sandy or lacking in nutrients, then the camellia isnt able to access enough sources (in terms of nutrients and soil moisture) it needs to bloom.

The soil is similarly boggy because of clays heavy weight or due to low lying areas arent ideal conditions for camellias to bloom as the overly hydrated soil can create environment that are conducive to fungal diseases like the root rot.

Camellias struggling to bloom and are planted in sandy, dry or poor in nutrients must be moved or lifted from the soil. The soil is best amended by adding lots of organic matter, such as compost leaf mould, leaf mould or composted manure.

These amendments to soils create ideal conditions for growth of camellia, which mimic its preferred soil conditions found in its natural habitat, which is under the canopy of trees.

The larger the area around the camellias root ball, the more you can alter, the more it will grow and the better the conditions for blooming.

camellia pale pink

2. Soil pH is Too Alkaline for Flowering

Camellias need similar soil conditions as other plants that require soils that are acidic, such as the azaleas and rhododendrons.

The ideal soil pH for camellias to thrive and bloom is ph 5.5between ph 6.5 (7 is neutral pH).

In the event that your soil too acidic (lower than pH 5.5) or too alkaline (pH greater than 7) which is more likely, then the camellias roots are unable to absorb the nutrients they require, and can cause stress to the plant, causing it to not bloom and the leaves to turn yellow.

It is possible that a neighbor or someone from the region who is an avid gardener will be able to tell you if your soil is alkaline, or you can purchase an soil test kit on Amazon to determine.

In gardens that have alkaline soil, the best choice is to plant camellias in containers or pots or a raised beds so that you can alter the characteristics of your soil to fit the camellias needs to encourage flowering.

3. Too Much Fertilizer Causes Fewer Flowers

When you add fertilizers too often to the camellia, or in excessive amounts, the nitrogen contained in fertilizers will stimulate lots of lush green foliage but at the expense of flowers.

Camellias dont require regular fertilizer to bloom similar to what is required for roses, as they are not heavy feeders.

The best method to ensure the camellias bloom is to do a proper soil preparation prior to plant (by altering soil by adding plenty of organic matter and compost) and regularly mulching to nourish the soil and provide nutrients.

A well-prepared soil provides camellias with all the necessary nutrients for flowering However, there are certain situations in which camellias might benefit from an additional fertilizer:

  • Camellias placed in pots can take all the nutrients out of the soil. They can also benefit from the application of fertilizer in order to bloom.
  • Camellias that are in poor soil, like sandy soils that arent nutrient-rich or those which have been planted in soil but are not mulched regularly.

If your camellia isnt blooming and the growth is sluggish or sluggish, then you should apply a specific fertilizer for camellias like miracle-gro, which offers the proper amount of nutrients to your camellia at the right amount of concentration required to bloom.

Specific products for camellias can also be a great method to keep the soils pH to ensure that the roots of the camellia are able to access the nutrients they required to flower.

4. Too Much Shade for Blooming

Camellias are like rhododendrons and azaleas as they prefer being under a canopy that has diffused light all day long or some hours of morning sunlight with shading in afternoon.

Camellias that are too shaded tend to produce lots of foliage , but show less flowers.

In the sun, camellias may suffer from drought or sunburn therefore shade is usually required especially in hot climates. However, in cooler climates that have more sunny days and less heat camellias can withstand more hours of sunshine, so finding the ideal balance for your environment is crucial.

The camellia may be located in an area that is very shaded and is not blooming, think about cutting off some branches from the canopy that hangs over to mimic the natural camellias environment or relocate the camellia to a part of the garden that receives morning sun and shade during the afternoon to shield the plant from scorching heat.

5. Camellia Flower Buds turned Brown because of Frost damage

The blooming time of camellias may depend on the seasons due to late frosts that occur in spring can harm the flowering buds that cause the camellias not to flower.

Camellias bloom on the last years growth, and buds grow in the summer and bloom in the spring following, so the possibility of camellias to bloom is in danger due to frosts that are early in the fall, as the buds of the flowers havent been allowed to set prior to Winter.

The possibility of cold weather harming flower buds and preventing flowering is most frequent during an unseasonably mild weather, followed by a cold snap that is unseasonal that often makes the flowers brown.

The planting of camellias in a protected space such as under the canopy of a tree or near structures like a fencing, shed or even your home can help reduce the chance of damage from frost since camellias are more susceptible to damage in windy and open areas.

If the flower buds have been damaged by frost, theres nothing that you could do in order to help them repopulate therefore prevention is more effective than treatment.

Cloche or fleece (available on Amazon and at gardening centers) is a great way to shield your camellia flowers from damage caused by frost overnight This is helpful in the event that a sudden cold snap is predicted. This could help your flower buds survive and help ensure that your camellia flowers in the spring.

6. Pruning Camellia at the wrong time (Removes the flower buds)

Camellias arent necessarily to be prolific flowerers, and like rhododendrons , they dont need to be pruned annually especially since this could cause harm to the flowering process.

Camellias bloom in Spring and, after blooming in the summer, the buds for the next years flower buds develop.

If you cut the camellia in late summer, it could be that youve cut back all the branches and wood that host the forming flower buds. Therefore, the camellia doesnt show flowers in the next year.

To prevent cutting back the growth that forms flowers, trim your camellia (only when required) immediately after blooming.

If you cut it back immediately following the first flowering of Spring, the camellia will have the remainder time to develop more branches that support the development of flower buds. However, should you wait too late in the season to prune, its likely that the buds are already growing and cutting them back now will not allow the camellia from blooming next year.

7. Drought Stress Reduces Flowering

Camellias like their soil to remain humid (but not overly saturated) and are shallow-rooted, therefore they are susceptible to suffering in dry spells or in rapidly draining sandy, dry soil.

Stress from drought, especially in the summer, can slow down the growth of flower buds, from which flower buds emerge in the following season. It also limits the duration the flowers are displayed for this year.

It is therefore important to make sure that the soil surrounding the camellias roots is not completely dry.

The most effective ways to prevent stress from the drought to ensure that camellias can bloom are:

  • Camellias can be planted in soil that has been altered significantly by leaf mould, compost or manure that has been well-rotted to retain moisture.
  • Applying a 1-inch blanket of mulch on top of the camellia plant to keep moisture in the soil and to avoid direct sunlight on the soil, which could dry out the soil quickly.
  • Give camellias shade during the summer heat (morning sun , followed with afternoon shade are ideal) or the dappled light of a canopy tree so that the soil doesnt dry out in the sun.
  • Camellias typically do not require irrigation for the majority of their time (unless you are in their first year of their planting) however they will appreciate an ample soak every week during the hot and dry weeks of Summer.

If you have a well-prepared soil and regular watering the camellia will have enough water for good growth, the development of flower buds , and to ensure flower long-term viability.

Key Takeaways:

  • The reason why camellias arent blooming is usually because of damage from frost or pruning done at the incorrect timing. Late frosts can harm the buds that are developing and prevent the camellia to flower.
  • Pruning in the summer months can take out the flower buds of camellias and prevent the camellia to flower the next year.
  • Stress from drought and poor soil that is sandy could result in fewer flowers. Camellias like soil that is constantly damp to ensure that they bloom.
  • Shade can degrade flowers as camellias bloom best when they are exposed to sun light. A high nitrogen level can result in many growth of the foliage, but only a few flowers.


Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)