Objective To screen the rootstocks with high tolerance to low phosphorus and the key indexes which can be used to identify low phosphorus tolerance of Camellia oleifera through evaluating different cultivates rootstocks tolerant to the low phosphorus. Method The pot seedling experiment with normal-P (1 mmol·L−1) and low-P (0 mmol·L−1) was carried out. A total of twelve seedlings of C. oleifera genotypes were selected. Fourteen indexes of each seedling of C. oleifera, including biomass, leaf area, leaf morphology, root morphology, total phosphorus content and so on, were measured under two different treatments. The coefficient tolerant to low P was used to evaluate the low P resistance and distinguish index of the low P tolerance for C. oleifera using a regression model. Result Under low P stress, the biomass accumulation in the shoot and root of most C. oleifera cultivates was generally reduced, and the ratio of root to shoot and PUE was generally increased. The result of PCA analysis showed that the 14 indexes were transformed into 4 independent comprehensive indexes, and their cumulative contribution rate reached 90.398%. The 12 C. oleifera varieties were divided into three types by D-value clustering, among which GF20, CL3, 84-3 were clustered as a type of relatively intolerant to low P, W1, CL53, GX48 as the intermediate type, G8, CL4, W2, CL40, CL18, 83-4 as low P tolerance. The equation model of PA (Total phosphorus accumulation), SPC (Shoot phosphorus content), TRA (Total root surface area), LW (Leaf width), RPC (Root phosphorus content) was established by stepwise regression: D = -0.960 + 0.666PA + 0.341SPC + 0.379TRA + 0.460LW + 0.197RPC. Conclusion Low P will inhibit the growth and total P accumulation and increase the ratio of root to shoot and total PUE for C. oleifera. The cultivates of G8, CL4, W2, CL40, CL18, 83-4 should be considered as the relatively low P tolerance varieties. The total P accumulation, aboveground P content, total root surface area, leaf width and toot P content could be identified as indicators for C. oleifera tolerant to low phosphorus.