American Camellia Society Camellia Growing Tips & Culture
American Camellia Society The Garden Report: Questions & Answers
Norfolk Botanical Garden Hofheimer Camellia Garden


Producing flowering camellias from seed or cuttings is a slow process. One method of producing flowering plants in a much shorter time is by grafting. While it may take three to six years for a rooted cutting to flower, a graft will likely flower in one to two years. To understand grafting, it is important to know the terms scion and understock or stock. The scion is the part of the stem with a growth bud of the variety one wishes to propagate. An understock is that portion of the plant that furnishes the root system. As a general rule, large stocks are more difficult to use for grafting. A stock that is about 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter is a desirable size. The scion should be taken of mature, current season's growth from healthy plants one to three inches long with one or more growth or vegetative buds. It will generally have three or more leaves.

The best season to graft is late winter to early spring just before new growth begins. Camellia sasanqua or Camellia oleifera is often used as understock because it is resistant to the root rot disease. Cleft grafting is the most popular method of grafting and will be described below.


Fig. 1 - Scion showing wedged-shaped cut at base.
Fig 2 - Scion inserted into understock with matching cambium layers.

Fig 3 - Graft is held tight with rubber band.
Fig 4 - Graft is covered with jar and shade.

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  • The Virginia Camellia Society 2004

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