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Camellia sasanqua

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
ka-MEE-lee-ah sah-SAN-kwah
Description

Camellia is a showy and fragrant, broadleaf evergreen, woody shrub native to Japan. It is a member of the Theaceae (tea) family. The word camellia is derived from Georg Josef Kamel (1706), a Jesuit missionary and naturalist who introduced Philippine flora to Europe. The Latin name for Kamel is Camellus.

Camellia is a rapid grower and will reach 6 to 14 feet high by 5 to 7 feet wide. The plant requires full sun to partial shade and well-drained soils with a neutral to acidic pH. It will grow in clay, loam, or sandy soils and is slightly salt tolerant. It appreciates shelter from afternoon sun, winter winds, and cold, and—once established—will tolerate drought. This camellia blooms during the late fall and winter, making it a focus of the landscape at a time when many ornamentals enter dormancy. 

There are numerous cultivars available, including dwarf forms. Flowers may be up to 3 inches in diameter and contain a single or double row of petals. A camellia will flower over a period of four to six weeks.   

In the landscape, Camellia works well as an accent plant, a privacy hedge, or a tall foundation planting. It can be pruned into a "small tree" form.  It blooms in a different season than its cousin C. japonica and is also more resistant to Phytophthora root rot.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Camellias are susceptible to a number of fungal diseases including leaf spots, anthracnose, viruses, black mold, petal blight, canker, and root rot. If petal blight occurs (browning that runs from edges to the center), all infected plant parts should be promptly removed. They are intolerant of alkaline soils.  Yellow leaves with green veins may indicate chlorosis which can be treated by adding iron chelates to the soil. Scale can be a troublesome insect pest. Aphids, planthoppers, and spider mites may also cause problems.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaves are 1 to 3 inches long.
  • Leaves are evergreen, glossy, and leathery. 
  • Leaves are coriaceous, crenate.
  • Flowers are axillary 2 to 3 inches across, white to pink in color.
  • Flowers appear late fall to winter, usually non-double.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Scale can be a troublesome insect pest. Aphids, planthoppers, and spider mites may also cause problems. Camellias are susceptible to a number of fungal diseases including leaf spots, anthracnose, viruses, black mold, petal blight, canker, and root rot. All camellias are susceptible to petal blight fungus; however, weather conditions are generally not favorable for the fungus to germinate when Camellia sasanquas bloom in the fall.

See this plant in the following landscapes:
Courtyard Entrance Garden Collector’s Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Carolina Moonmist'
  • ‘Cleopatra’
    Medium bluish pink flower; semi-double form
  • 'Crimson Candles'
    Rose-red flowers, single form; bronze foliage, disease resistant
  • 'Daydream'
    White flowers; rapid upright growth; good for hedges
  • 'Fall Fantasy'
  • 'Green's Blues'
  • 'Kanjiro'
    Double, hot pink
  • 'Leslie Ann'
    Large white and pink flower; fall/winter bloom
  • 'Otome'
    Medium pink flower; semi-double to peony form; fall/winter bloom
  • ‘Pink Snow’
    Produces light pink flowers
  • 'Showa No Sakae'
    Small to medium light pink flower; peony form; early fall bloom
  • 'Yuletide'
    Large, bright-red single blooms; fall/winter bloom
'Carolina Moonmist', ‘Cleopatra’, 'Crimson Candles', 'Daydream', 'Fall Fantasy', 'Green's Blues', 'Kanjiro', 'Leslie Ann', 'Otome', ‘Pink Snow’, 'Showa No Sakae', 'Yuletide'
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#showy flowers#small tree#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#pink flowers#salt tolerant#cover plant#winter interest#fall interest#cottage garden#accent plant#playground#topiary#ncemgva2018#fast growing#cpp#flowering shrub#deer resistant#shiny#glossy leaves#children's garden#foundation planting#japanese garden#screening#pollinator plant#fantz#leathery leaves#asian garden#early spring flowers#smooth#sensory garden#border back#winter flowers#late fall flowers#container plants
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Carolina Moonmist'
  • ‘Cleopatra’
    Medium bluish pink flower; semi-double form
  • 'Crimson Candles'
    Rose-red flowers, single form; bronze foliage, disease resistant
  • 'Daydream'
    White flowers; rapid upright growth; good for hedges
  • 'Fall Fantasy'
  • 'Green's Blues'
  • 'Kanjiro'
    Double, hot pink
  • 'Leslie Ann'
    Large white and pink flower; fall/winter bloom
  • 'Otome'
    Medium pink flower; semi-double to peony form; fall/winter bloom
  • ‘Pink Snow’
    Produces light pink flowers
  • 'Showa No Sakae'
    Small to medium light pink flower; peony form; early fall bloom
  • 'Yuletide'
    Large, bright-red single blooms; fall/winter bloom
'Carolina Moonmist', ‘Cleopatra’, 'Crimson Candles', 'Daydream', 'Fall Fantasy', 'Green's Blues', 'Kanjiro', 'Leslie Ann', 'Otome', ‘Pink Snow’, 'Showa No Sakae', 'Yuletide'
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#showy flowers#small tree#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#pink flowers#salt tolerant#cover plant#winter interest#fall interest#cottage garden#accent plant#playground#topiary#ncemgva2018#fast growing#cpp#flowering shrub#deer resistant#shiny#glossy leaves#children's garden#foundation planting#japanese garden#screening#pollinator plant#fantz#leathery leaves#asian garden#early spring flowers#smooth#sensory garden#border back#winter flowers#late fall flowers#container plants
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Camellia
    Species:
    sasanqua
    Family:
    Theaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Japan
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Fragrance
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    drought tolerant, slightly salt tolerant, slightly deer resistant. Resistant to Phytophthora root rot.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 14 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 5 ft. 0 in. - 7 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Erect
    Open
    Oval
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    A loculicidal woody capsule, 1".
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Variegated
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Saucer
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    2-3 in. single or double white, pink or red fragrant flowers from September to December. Solitary (rarely 2 or 3 together), white, pink, red and color combinations thereof, usually singles, in axils petals are ruffly and fluted, with central yellow stamens. Flowers last only a few days before dropping so they do not make good cut flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, simple, lustrous, dark green leaves new growth sometimes emerges bronze; 1.5-3 in. long. Ovate to elliptical, crenate, acute apex.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Slender, often reddish to purplish when young.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Children's Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Garden for the Blind
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Flowering Tree
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Small Tree
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Salt
    Problems:
    Frequent Disease Problems
    Frequent Insect Problems