Camellias are an evergreen shrub known for their glossy, dark green foliage and for blooming during fall, winter and spring.

The most popular species of camellias used in landscaping are Camellia Japonica and Camellia Sasanqua. A recent addition to the camellia family is Camellia x Williamsii, a hybrid form of the Japonica.

The most notable difference between Japonica and Sasanqua Camellias is their bloom time. Sasanquas bloom from fall to early winter and Japonicas bloom from winter to early spring. Japonicas also bear slightly larger leaves and flowers than Sasanquas.

The average height of camellias is 6-15 feet tall, though smaller and larger varieties do exist. Most camellias will grow 5-7 feet wide. Their size can be easily maintained due to their slow growth.


Planting – All camellias prefer full to part shade and should be protected from direct afternoon sun, particularly during the summer. They should be planted in moist, well draining soil and prefer their soil to be slightly acidic.

Pruning – Japonicas should be pruned directly after they have finished blooming in spring while Sasanquas can be pruned in late winter or early spring.

Fertilizing – Camellias should be fertilized twice a year, once in spring and once in early fall, preferably with an acidic fertilizer like Holly Tone.

Flower Form

There are 6 different forms a camellia flower can take depending on the variety.

Single ­–A single row of petals around exposed stamens.

Semi-Double – Two rows of petals around exposed stamens.

Anemone – Stamens hidden by ruffled petals, outside petals are smooth.

Peony – Multiple layers of ruffled petals.

Rose Double – Multiple layers of smooth petals with a rose-like shape.

Formal – Multiple layers of smooth, symmetrical petals.


Fun Facts

  • Camellias belong to the family Theaceae, also known as the Tea Family.
  • Camellia Sinensis, another variety of Camellia, is referred to as “the tea plant” as it is one of the most common plants used in the production of tea.
  • The oldest living Camellia was planted in 1347 at China’s Panlong Monastry.
  • Tea oil is a cooking oil made from Camellia seeds and is used predominantly in southern China.
  • The Camellia is the state flower of Alabama.
  • Sacramento, California is sometimes called Camellia City.
  • In the language of flowers, Camellias represent adoration, devotion and loveliness.