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Sasanqua Camellia Camellia sasanqua

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

As glorious as Camellia japonica is in the spring, it is just one of many spring-flowering trees and shrubs.  Sasanqua camellias are a drought tolerant fall blooming shrub with open airy habits that work well as an accent plant, hedge, or tall foundation planting.  Pruned up it makes for a good "small tree" form.  There are numerous cultivars available, including dwarf forms.  Does well in containers and container plants can be overwintered indoors in greenhouses or cool but bright sunrooms to protect from frost. Mulch plants well to protect roots and shelter it from hot afternoon sun, dry winds and cold.  Established,  plants may be okay in the full sun if their roots are well shaded by leaves.  This plant is slightly salt tolerant. 

The true camellia stars are those that flower during the winter when gardeners are starved for bright colors in the landscape.  One of the brightest of those stars is Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide.’  This December-flowering camellia features large, bright-red, single blooms with contrasting yellow stamens that give an eye-catching focus to the winter landscape. It is the state flower of Alabama. Its glossy green foliage offers the perfect backdrop for its spectacular display.  ‘Yuletide’ has an erect, compact growth habit with dense foliage that lends itself well for use as a loose hedge plant or as a focal shrub. As with other sasanquas, ‘Yuletide’ tolerates drought after it becomes established.  Consider its ultimate height of 14 feet and slow growth rate before deciding on an appropriate planting location.  It prefers well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5 for best growth.  It can withstand the sun but does need protection from drying winter winds.  One of the most popular winter-flowering shrubs, ‘Yuletide’ makes a great addition to any southern garden.This plant can survive 100-200 years in the wild.

Another good choice for winter color is Camellia x ‘Crimson Candles.’  This rapidly-growing hybrid stands out with numerous small, rose-red, single flowers in February and March.  The new foliage is bronze-red, and the plant is vigorous and disease-resistant.  One of its best features is its sepals, which are red throughout the winter while the buds are maturing.  This gives the bud the look of a red candle long before the flowers open, hence the name, ‘Crimson Candles.’  Suited for hedges, espalier, topiary or bonsai, this cultivar can also withstand night temperatures in the 20s. 

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:

  • Leaves1-3" long 
  • Leaves evergreen, coriaceous, crenate 
  • Flowers axillary 2-3" across (white - pink)
  • Flowers late fall-winter, usually non-double

 

See this plant in the following landscapes:
Courtyard Entrance Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • ‘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
  • '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
‘Cleopatra’, 'Crimson Candles', 'Daydream', 'Kanjiro', 'Leslie Ann', 'Otome', ‘Pink Snow’, 'Showa No Sakae', 'Yuletide'
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#showy flowers#fall color#small tree#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#container plant#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
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • ‘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
  • '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
‘Cleopatra’, 'Crimson Candles', 'Daydream', 'Kanjiro', 'Leslie Ann', 'Otome', ‘Pink Snow’, 'Showa No Sakae', 'Yuletide'
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#showy flowers#fall color#small tree#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#container plant#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
  • 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
    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
    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