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Why Won’t My Camellia Flower? Causes & Risk Factors

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Camellia plants are grouped into four distinct categories based on the time of year that they flower. These categories include the early season (September to November), early mid-season (November to December), mid-season (December to February), and late season (February to March.)

With that in mind, the answer to your question, “Why won’t my camellia flower” could be that you didn’t pick the best camellia variety for your area.

Additional reasons that buds are falling prematurely on your camellia and not flowering could be cultural issues, diseases, inconsistent temperatures, huge variations in soil moisture, and more. Even worse, your camellia could be suffering from bud balling.

Bud balling is a syndrome where the buds of a camellia form but don’t flower. Typically, these buds develop almost to the point of opening up and flowering, but then out of nowhere, they stop developing, turn brown, and start dropping off.

Let’s jump right into it and ascertain why your camellia won’t flower.

Why Wont My Camellia Flower 1
[HELP] Camellia flowers not blooming – via Reddit

Why Won’t My Camellia Flower?

Bud Mites

These insects are a huge pain to deal with and are one of the few non-maintenance-related issues that may have caused your camellia not to flower. The way bud mites affect your plant is they eat out the buds and cause them premature death before they’ve even reached the point of flowering.

With that in mind, to prevent bud mites from doing irreversible damage to your camellia plants, you’ll need to inspect the plants regularly. And if you ever notice bud mites attacking any of your beloved plants, jump into action right away and either spray horticultural oil or insecticidal soap.

If your camellia is still in its growing stage, you need to avoid pesticides at all costs as they might kill beneficial insects snooping around your plants.

Over Fertilization

If I had a dollar for every time one of our readers who are new plant parents thought that the more fertilizer, the better, I’d be joining Elon Musk on his next trip to space.

As a general rule of thumb, you should only feed your camellias a specially formulated fertilizer for plants that love acids.

Better yet, even though you can fertilize the plants both in the middle of summer and in early spring, you shouldn’t fertilize your camellias in their first year at all (except maybe for when you’re planting them.)

You also shouldn’t fertilize your camellias too late in the summer or autumn because it may leave your camellia’s growth and second round of flowering vulnerable to frost damage after the cold weather hits.

Soggy or Underwatered Soil Through Uneven Watering

Uneven watering your camellias is another kind of stress that might be causing them not to flower. If the soil where you’ve planted the camellias is too wet or isn’t watered evenly, the plants’ buds can start dropping prematurely, which is particularly true if the uneven watering happens while the buds are just forming.

What’s more? Like all other houseplants, Camellias do not like having soggy feet, so you will want to ensure that their roots remain moist at most. The best way to ensure this is to only plant your camellias in properly draining soil.

Your Camellias Are Planted in Position With Too Much Shade

Needless to say, too much shade can cause any house plant to have issues flowering. This is particularly true when it comes to Camellias.

For successful flowering, these plants ought to be planted where they’ll receive a huge portion of the morning sunlight, a filtered version of the sunlight throughout the day, and the cool afternoon shade.

If you have already planted yours in a location where they are shaded throughout the day, you’ll need to consider moving them.

That’s why I advise my readers to plant their camellias in pots whenever possible, as this will allow them to move them around their compound as needed and as the plants require.

If you plan to uproot the entire plants and replant them in a different location, be extremely careful so you do not damage the roots, as this can result in a new set of issues.

Also worth noting, after your camellias have formed their buds, remember that frosts can cause them to start shriveling up and turn brown.

Even more, you shouldn’t allow sunlight to fall on these frosted buds before the ice has completely melted, so you’ll need to avoid east-facing sites in such scenarios if possible.

This brings me to the next point.

Are your Camellias Protected Against Cold Winds

We’ve already established that camellias are extremely sensitive to cold weather, which includes sudden cold winds. Even worse, since Camellias tend to form their buds and flower extremely early toward the end of winter, that means they’ll be extremely vulnerable as they approach their flowering period.

Do you live in an area that gets particularly cold wind snaps or late frosts? If yes, then also note that they can damage your camellias’ buds, resulting in the buds falling off prematurely before giving you any flowers.

In this case, your only safe bet is planting your camellias in more sheltered positions where they will be protected from these cold wind snaps.


There also exists a fungus that causes petal blight on Camellias. The main symptom that your plants have been affected will be tan to brown spots that will start appearing on the flower petals over time, causing the flowers to begin to fall.

To get the fungus under control, you’ll need to pick and get rid of any fallen flowers and watch out for any small, gray-brown mushrooms that happen to appear on the soil around your camellias. If you notice any, start using a fungicidal drench to eliminate the fungus.

Final Thoughts

The best way to know the exact cause of bud balling or lack of flowering in your camellia is through the process of elimination.

If you rule out all the probable issues mentioned above, but your camellia still doesn’t flower, do not hesitate to get rid with an expert of can personally inspect your plant and ascertain the probable reason.