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Fertilize Camellias: How and When for More Blooms (2023)

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fertilize your camellias for the best bloomsWandering through the neighborhood, I spotted the most beautiful pink blooms. What is that gorgeous shrub? I asked my friend.

You’ll do anything to keep yours healthy and happy. But pale leaves falling early are the plant crying for help. Don’t fret – with the right feeding schedule you’ll have plump buds bursting open.

Test different formulas to find the perfect balance of nitrogen for lush growth, phosphorus for those eye-popping blooms, and potassium for hardiness. Weigh the benefits of fast-acting synthetic or slow-release organic fertilizers.

Learn when to fertilize for the lushest growth and maximum flowers. Arm yourself with knowledge so your camellias thrive for years of beauty. It may seem complicated but have patience. With the proper fertilizer, your camellias will reward you with their captivating blooms.

Key Takeaways

  • Apply organic fertilizer in early spring and midsummer for optimal growth and blooming.
  • Supplement with compost or manure to enrich the soil.
  • Monitor the soil pH and keep it slightly acidic, around 5-6.
  • Prune old wood and dead blooms to stimulate new growth.

Camellia Fertilizing Tips

Camellia Fertilizing Tips
Spread an organic granular fertilizer over the root zone in early spring once the blooms have faded to nourish the soil and provide a gradual nutrient release that prevents leaf burn as the bushes set buds for next season’s flowers.

Camellias thrive with thoughtful nourishment. Look for all-natural, slow-release organic granules to feed those roots, avoiding synthetic fertilizers that shock delicate leaves. Apply a light coating after peak flowering, and supplement with compost or well-rotted manure.

Monitor soil pH, as camellias prefer slightly acidic conditions. Introduce pine needles, coffee grounds or sulfur to maintain acidity if needed. With the proper balance of nutrients from natural sources, your camellias will reward you with abundant blooms when their time comes.

When to Fertilize Camellias

When to Fertilize Camellias
When those gorgeous camellia blooms start fading, it’s time for you to start feeding.

Spring is the ideal time to fertilize, right after those lovely flowers finish their spectacle. Pull back the mulch and apply a nitrogen-rich organic liquid fertilizer over the root zone to invigorate your plant for the next bloom cycle.

Scratch it gently into the top inch of soil and irrigate deeply afterwards to distribute nutrients.

Camellias crave acidic soil, so choose an organic fertilizer that will help maintain optimal pH levels around 5-6. Apply another nourishing feed mid-summer to spur new growth and harden it off before autumn frosts arrive.

As a light feeder, your camellia needs only a modest amount of fertilizer. Pay attention to when those flowers fade, and you’ll know it’s go time for feeding. Proper nutrition ensures your camellia will reward you with prolific blooms year after year.

How to Fertilize Camellias

How to Fertilize Camellias
Pick the perfect products for plumping up your plants and pampering those prized petals! When it comes to feeding your camellias, look for organic, slow-release fertilizers formulated for acidic soils.

Apply in early spring right after blooming ends to energize the plant for the next flowering cycle. Also fertilize again midsummer, at least 8-10 weeks before your first fall frost date. Follow package directions and scratch granules into the top few inches of soil, then water thoroughly.

Liquid fertilizers work too – just dilute and feed every 2 weeks for a steady bloom boost.

  • Organic fertilizers with fish, bone, and kelp build living soil.
  • Slow-release and granular fertilizers provide longer-lasting nutrition.
  • Fertilizers labeled for acid-loving plants suit camellia’s ideal pH.
  • Liquid fertilizers deliver an instant feeding for rapid results.

With the right organic food at the right times, your camellias will reward you with lush leaves and a spectacular show of breathtaking blooms.

Choosing the Right Fertilizer

Choosing the Right Fertilizer
Check the nutrient analysis to pick the perfect product for plentiful, pretty petals. When selecting fertilizer for your camellias, go for options with an NPK ratio featuring higher phosphorus and potassium levels to stimulate prolific flowering.

  • Look for organic fertilizers with an NPK around 4-8-4, or synthetic fertilizers around 10-30-20.
  • Seek out options containing secondary nutrients like magnesium and sulfur.
  • Pick products with micronutrients like iron, zinc, manganese.
  • Choose slow-release or timed-release formulas to feed consistently.

Feed in early spring as flowers fade, and again midsummer. Follow label directions carefully, applying the recommended rate. Fertilizing properly helps your camellias reward you with abundant blooms bursting with beauty year after year.

Organic Vs Synthetic Fertilizers

Organic Vs Synthetic Fertilizers
Let’s take a closer look at the unique benefits of organic fertilizers for your camellias. Organic options nurture the soil and plants without synthetic chemicals. They slowly release nutrients from natural sources like fish meal, bone meal, and compost.

Over time, organic fertilizers improve soil structure and nourish beneficial microbes.

Here’s a comparison of synthetic and organic fertilizer characteristics:

Fertilizer Type Nutrient Release Environmental Impact Cost
Synthetic Quick release More pollution from runoff Cheaper
Organic Slow release Improves soil health More expensive

Organics boost soil biology and plant resilience. Compost tea, worm castings, and cover crops replenish the soil. Top dress with compost or manure in spring. Test soil pH and add amendments like lime. Fertilize at planting and midsummer. Give your camellias natural, slow-release nutrition for sustainable beauty.

Types of Fertilizers

When it comes to feeding your camellias, you have options for how to get those nutrients into the soil. Granular, liquid, and spike fertilizers each have their benefits in helping camellias produce beautiful blooms.


JobeView On Amazon
You’d love the gradual feeding of nutrients from an organic granular fertilizer, wouldn’t you?

Granular fertilizers are easy organic options for gently nourishing your camellias. Simply sprinkle the granules around each plant, then lightly scratch in. These controlled-release pellets break down slowly to provide a steady feed over time.

No worries about burning delicate roots or leaves with this gentle approach. Granular organics build better soil while boosting blooms.

  • Gradual nutrient release
  • Easy to apply
  • Low burn risk
  • Improves soil
  • Slow to see results
  • Can attract pests
  • Heavy rains may leach nutrients


Flower Food by EZ-gro |View On Amazon
You could feed your camellias a liquid fertilizer to get gorgeous blooms. As a liquid, this type of fertilizer is easily absorbed by the plant for a quick burst of nutrients right when it needs them. Mixing a concentrated liquid formula like Miracle Gro’s Water Soluble Bloom Booster with water per the instructions delivers an instant feed.

The high phosphorus specifically stimulates prolific flowering. With the plant food instantly dissolving into a solution, your camellia’s blossoms practically perk up overnight.

Liquid fertilizers work fast, but require more frequent applications to keep up the food supply during peak growing.

  • Fast-acting nutrition
  • Easily absorbed
  • Stimulates quick growth and blooming
  • Can burn plants if misapplied
  • Needs frequent reapplication
  • Not as long-lasting as slow release types


Spikes are slow-release fertilizer sticks you poke directly into the ground – a convenient option for beginners seeking beautiful camellia blooms. Inserting spikes near camellia roots prevents fertilizer runoff, allowing gradual nutrient release to maximize absorption.

As spikes boost uptake while lowering leaching, properly spacing spikes per package directions optimizes blooming effectiveness. For abundant flowers, apply spikes when camellias break dormancy, fertilizing again midsummer for new growth before frost.

Though simple, properly placed spikes give your camellias their best chance to thrive.

What is NPK Ratio?

What is NPK Ratio
Digging deeper, the NPK ratio indicates the levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in a fertilizer. These are the primary macronutrients plants need. Nitrogen promotes lush foliage growth. Phosphorus develops strong roots and flowers. Potassium strengthens stems and aids fruit production.

A balanced ratio like 10-10-10 provides equal amounts while ratios like 5-10-5 have more phosphorus to boost blooming.

Knowing your camellias’ needs lets you pick the right fertilizer. Most camellias thrive with a balanced feeding. Pick one close to 10-10-10 or 8-8-8. Light feeders may only need fertilizing in spring. Heavy feeders can take a second application in summer. Always follow label directions carefully.

Granular, liquid or spike formulas all work. Just don’t overdo it. Too much fertilizer can burn roots and leaves. Applying the right balance at the right time ensures your camellias have the nutrients they need to reward you with their magical blossoms.

Signs Your Camellias Need Fertilizer

Signs Your Camellias Need Fertilizer
Yellowing leaves yearn for nourishment. As a camellia specialist, I’ve learned to recognize when these prized shrubs cry for help. Stunted new growth and yellowed older leaves indicate a nitrogen deficiency. Without proper nutrients, the youngest leaves can’t develop properly.

Mature leaves turn yellow and drop early. Camellias need nitrogen to build proteins and grow lush foliage.

Seeing those symptoms means it’s time to feed your plants. Fertilize camellias in early spring just after blooms fade. Choose an acidic fertilizer formulated for camellias. Spread granules around the drip line and gently scratch it in.

Water well afterwards. I recommend an organic fertilizer like fish emulsion to avoid burning tender roots.

If you wait too long, growth halts completely. Buds shrink and flowers fade. That beautiful blossom you longed for never emerges. Don’t let your camellias’ potential go to waste. Read their signals. Give them the food they crave.

With the right care, your plants will reward you with graceful green foliage and a spectacle of flowers year after year.

Alternatives to Fertilizers for Camellias

Alternatives to Fertilizers for Camellias
Mulching your beds provides a gentle boost without burning delicate roots. Adding a 2-4 inch layer of organic mulch like pine straw or pecan shells around the base of camellias helps in a few key ways:

  • Keeps roots cool
  • Retains moisture
  • Improves drainage
  • Discourages weeds

Avoid piling mulch against the trunks to prevent rot. Replenish as needed, since mulch breaks down over time.

Other organic options include pruning out old wood and removing spent blooms once flowering finishes. This redirects the plant’s energy into developing lush new growth. Water moderately when rainfall is lacking.

Camellias thrive with gentle, natural care. Treat them with patience and allow their subtle magnificence to unfold.

Top 13 Fertilizers for Camellias

Growing beautiful camellias takes the right fertilizer. We’ve rounded up the top 13 fertilizers to help your camellias thrive with lush blooms and foliage. From organic options to synthetic plant foods, you’ll find the perfect fertilizer to nourish your camellias.

1. BioAdvanced All in One Rose and Flower Care Granules

BioAdvanced All-In-One Rose and FlowerView On Amazon
You’ll find BioAdvanced’s granules promote strong roots and beautiful blooms when treating those roses. This easy-to-use 3-in-1 formula comes in a 4.3 lb container that can treat up to 32 roses. It kills common insects like Japanese beetles while controlling diseases like black spot.

Simply sprinkle around the base of plants, pulling back mulch first for best results. The formula works wonderfully on roses, hibiscus, irises and more. Prevent pest invasions by applying at the start of season.

  • Promotes strong roots and vibrant blooms
  • Controls insects and diseases
  • Easy to apply granular formula
  • Rainproof protection up to 6 weeks
  • Cap can be difficult to remove
  • Risk of receiving open or used product if buying from Amazon

2. JR Peters Jacks Classic Number Four Blossom Booster Fertilizer

J R Peters Jacks ClassicView On Amazon
Scoop the gradual-release powder into your spreader for abundant summer blooms. JR Peters Jacks Classic Blossom Booster fertilizer will nourish your camellias with essential nutrients, enhancing their natural beauty.

This professional-grade formula promotes vigorous growth and spectacular blossoms without risk of burning delicate foliage and buds.

The 4 lb powder treats areas up to 4,000 sq ft, providing gradual nourishment for months. Just one application in spring or midsummer keeps camellias thriving with bright green leaves and radiant blooms into fall.

For prolific flowers and healthy new growth, reach for this trusted standby. Camellia enthusiasts rely on it for big, vibrant blooms that last.

  • Gradual nutrient release prevents burning
  • Boosts blooms and blossoms
  • Added micronutrients
  • Easy to apply and scoop powder
  • Promotes vigorous growth up to 4 months
  • Powder can clump if exposed to moisture
  • Plastic bags hard to scoop from

3. Miracle Gro Water Soluble Bloom Booster Flower Food

Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Bloom BoosterView On Amazon
Miracle Gro Water Soluble Bloom Booster Flower Food

Mix the Miracle Gro Water Soluble Bloom Booster as directed to quickly revive neglected flowers and enjoy up to 40% more blooms than unfed plants. This concentrated liquid plant food is formulated specifically for flowering plants to stimulate abundant blossoms and vibrant colors.

The instant-release nutrients will bring your garden to life, with dramatic results showing in just days. Safe for all annuals and perennials, simply apply every 7-14 days during active growth for continuous beauty.

Feeding your camellias with this booster will extend the blooming season so you can enjoy those gorgeous flowers even longer. Although a bit pricey, this effective flower food is easy to use and the boost it provides cannot be matched.

  • Works instantly to revive plants
  • Stimulates more blooms
  • Creates vibrant colors
  • Extends blooming seasons
  • Easy to use
  • Can be pricey
  • Can burn plants if misused
  • Need to reapply frequently

4. Down to Earth Organic Rose Flower Fertilizer

Down to Earth Organic RoseView On Amazon
Down to Earth’s organic rose fertilizer helped a dormant store-bought rosebush produce new leaves and buds, though it’s too early for some northern gardeners to see the full flower yield. This OMRI listed organic fertilizer provides camellias with nitrogen for lush growth, phosphorus for abundant blooms, potassium and trace elements for plant health.

Made in the USA with fish bone meal, langbeinite, blood meal, and more. For those seeking to revive and nourish camellias organically, it’s an ideal rose care option that delivers visible results in just days.

  • OMRI listed organic formula
  • Promotes growth and blooms
  • Safe for people and pets
  • Too early to evaluate full yield
  • Packaging smaller than expected

5. Dr Earth Total Advantage Rose and Flower Fertilizer

Dr. Earth Total Advantage RoseView On Amazon
You’ll see vibrant blooms in days with Dr. Earth’s organic rose food. Specially formulated for roses, flowers, and flowering plants, this non-GMO fertilizer quickly strengthens plants and produces dramatic results.

Enriched with proteins, minerals, and organic ingredients like seaweed and sugars, it provides a steady release of essential nutrients without burning delicate rose bushes.

The robust organic formula is proven to yield abundant blooms in challenging conditions where other fertilizers fail. Preferred by professional rose growers, this 4 lb bag covers a medium area at an affordable price.

Developed by horticultural experts and made in the USA, Dr. Earth is trusted by specialists for growing the most vibrant roses and flowers.

  • Organic and non-GMO verified
  • Safe for people and pets
  • Visible results in days
  • Abundant blooms
  • Used by professionals
  • Only one application per season
  • Not ideal for very large gardens
  • Strong earthy smell

6. Jobes Flower and Rose Plant Food Granular

Apply the granules monthly for abundant blossoms. Feed your flowering friends OMRI listed care. Nourish roots through winter’s bare branches. Invite more buds with proper soil preparation.

7. Espoma Organic Rose Tone Fertilizer for Roses and Flowers

Espoma Organic Rose-Tone 4-3-2 OrganicView On Amazon
Promote prolific petal production with this prime pick’s potent plant food. Feed your flowers this fast acting organic formula monthly to unleash a lush foliage and abundant blossom bonanza. Roses rave over this root reviver, responding within 1-2 days to the fish, alfalfa and kelp blend brimming with essential nutrients.

Spread granules around each plant’s drip line, then relax as blossoms beautify beds and borders. Though pricey, a little goes a long way when you choose the fertilizer preferred by green thumbs. Let your garden give back by gifting fragrant bouquets. Watch plants thrive and neighborhoods smile over this simple act of service.

  • OMRI listed organic ingredients
  • Fast acting results in 1-2 days
  • Produces prolific blooms
  • Strong odor
  • Frequent monthly application
  • More expensive than synthetic fertilizers

8. Osmocote Smart Release Plant Food Indoor Outdoor

Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food PlusView On Amazon
With Osmocote, your camellias will explode into a riot of vibrant colors, spilling over with blooms as the slow-release nutrients moisten the soil just right. Developed specifically for container gardening, this smart release fertilizer provides steady nourishment right where your plants need it most.

The 15-9-12 NPK ratio fuels lush foliage and prolonged flowering. Six months of gradual nutrient release eliminates the guesswork, preventing burn from overfeeding. Just mix Osmocote into the top few inches of soil, and let this premium plant food work its magic.

Your camellias will reward you with a kaleidoscope of delicate yet vibrant blooms.

  • Formulated for potted plants
  • Feeds for 6 months
  • Prevents fertilizer burn
  • Promotes blooms and growth
  • Visible results take time
  • Can be tricky getting proper soil mix

9. Flower Food Blossom Booster Liquid Plant Fertilizer

Cause lovely blooms to spring forth with EZ Gro’s elixir.

  1. Mix 1 capful per gallon.
  2. Apply every 7-14 days.
  3. Thoroughly drench the root zone.
  4. Compare to unfed plants.
  5. Enjoy more prolific blooms.

This liquid fertilizer instantly feeds flowering plants for increased bud set and larger blossoms. While fantastic for containers, more frequent reordering may be needed for extensive gardens. But when properly dosed, the results are truly delightful. Vibrant blooms beckon with this simple yet potent formula.

10. Soil Ph Moisture Light Meter Gardening Tool Kit

SONKIR Soil pH Meter, MS02View On Amazon
Keep those plants thriving and make your garden flourish by getting your hands on this handy moisture meter for frequent feedback on water levels. Probe deep into the earth to uncover vital intel on your soil’s moisture content, guiding your judgment on irrigation schedules.

Though compact, this tool packs a punch – no batteries required! Insert it in multiple spots to map moisture variation across your beds. The moisture readings empower attentive care while pH and sunlight features need refining.

  • Convenient handheld moisture readings
  • No batteries required
  • Good for preventing overwatering
  • Fragile construction
  • Inaccurate pH and sunlight sensors

11. Jobes Organics Purpose Granular Fertilizer

Jobe’s Organics 09524 Purpose GranularView On Amazon
Improve your gardens with Jobes Organics granular fertilizer. Did you know this USDA certified 4-4-4 organic formula also contains Jobe’s proprietary Biozome blend, improving soil quality by 25%?

This OMRI listed formula feeds camellias while building living soil. The granules provide a balanced ratio of essential nutrients plus beneficial archaea, mycorrhizal fungi, and bacteria. With one application, archaea breaks down nutrients for faster absorption. Mycorrhizal fungi expand root surfaces to take in more nutrition.

Your camellias will reward you with vigorous growth, abundant blooms, and resistance to disease, drought and pests.

  • OMRI listed organic formula
  • Contains Biozome microorganisms
  • Improves soil quality
  • Boosts growth and blooms
  • Resists disease, drought and pests
  • Can attract rats
  • Has unpleasant odor
  • Bags may leak in shipping

12. Neptunes Harvest Organic Fish Seaweed Fertilizer

NeptuneView On Amazon
Apply this organic fish fertilizer regularly so your gardens and vegetables thrive with robust, natural nourishment. The pure and effective formula promotes vigorous growth and bigger, healthier plants when used every 2 weeks.

You’ll notice intense color and flavor in your plants. While results are fantastic, be mindful of potential rapid growth and height increases.

  • Organic and all-natural ingredients
  • Provides a boost of essential nutrients
  • Promotes vigorous growth
  • Bigger, healthier plants
  • Improves production and growth
  • Has a strong fishy odor
  • Can cause fast, elongated growth
  • Need to apply frequently for containers
  • Watch for increased plant height

13. Organic Plant Magic Fast Acting Fertilizer

Organic Plant Magic - TrulyView On Amazon
Drench roots biweekly with this powdered booster for rapid growth and intense color sans burning. Made from natural ingredients like amino acids and kelp, Plant Magic fertilizer nourishes your camellias with essential nutrients and beneficial microbes.

Just a pinch promotes flourishing blooms and foliage. It quickly feeds on demand without the risks of chemical fertilizers. Let this organic powder rejuvenate tired soil and invigorate potted plants. Sparse azaleas will reward you with lush green leaves.

  • Nourishes with natural ingredients
  • Safe, no-burn organic formula
  • Rapid growth and intense color
  • Builds living soil
  • Long-lasting and cost effective
  • Expensive upfront cost
  • Difficult to dissolve fully
  • Can promote excessive growth

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often should I fertilize my camellias?

You should fertilize your camellias 2-3 times a year. Apply fertilizer in spring after flowering, again in early summer, and once more in fall before the first frost. Use an acidic fertilizer formulated for camellias. Follow the label rates. Avoid over-fertilizing, as too much nitrogen can burn leaves.

Fertilizing regularly nurtures your camellias for lush growth and abundant blooms.

What’s the best fertilizer ratio for camellias in pots vs in-ground?

As a camellia expert, my advice to you is: Feed container camellias like a hummingbird sips nectar – with a balanced liquid fertilizer every two weeks. For in-ground camellias, a slow-release granular fertilizer in early spring fuels abundant blooms.

Are camellias heavy feeders compared to other flowering shrubs?

You’ll find camellias need less fertilizer than many flowering shrubs. Give them a light feeding in spring and midsummer for good growth and blooms without pushing tons of leafy growth.

Should I fertilize camellias at planting time?

You’ll boost root growth if you lightly fertilize at planting time. Mix in a mild organic or slow-release fertilizer according to label directions, avoiding high nitrogen as it could burn tender roots.

Focus instead on phosphorus and potassium to spur root development. Use a light hand those first couple seasons while the shrub establishes.

Is it okay to use the same fertilizer on camellias as other acid-loving plants like azaleas and rhododendrons?

You can definitely use the same fertilizer for camellias, azaleas, and rhododendrons. Their nutrient needs are quite similar. Just follow the label rates to avoid burn.


Your camellias will thrive with the right fertilizer applied at the perfect time. As the horticulturist nurturing these winter-blooming wonders, you understand the art of keeping their soil balanced. Feeding camellias is like painting a canvas – choosing the right fertilizer brings out their exquisite colors.

Select your fertilizer as thoughtfully as you pick a paintbrush, blending organic and synthetic elements for the ideal composition. The tips here will help nourish the soil so your flowers can flourish. Careful fertilization lets your camellias bloom their brightest.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.