University of Florida

Sasanqua Camellias

Fall is to sasanqua camellias what springtime is to azaleas—a time to explode with beautiful blooms in gardens throughout the South.


Sasanqua camellias are lovely flowering shrubs that have been heralding the change of seasons for countless generations of Southerners. They bloom in the fall or early winter with a profusion of flowers that are typically white, pink, rose, red, or even variegated. The flowers come in single, semi-double, or double forms.

Sasanqua camellias have smaller flowers and leaves than the other commonly grown camellias, known as Japonica camellias, that bloom in winter and spring.

The flowers are equally as pretty when they begin to fade, since the petals fall to form a carpet of color, much the way that cherry trees do.

Compact forms like ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ or ‘Shishi Gashira’ work well as groundcovers or foundation plantings, while taller forms like ‘Kanjiro’ make stunning specimen plants in the middle of lawns or mixed beds.

Sasanqua camellias can reach anywhere from 4 to 15 feet tall, once mature, and are hardy to USDA Zones 7-9.

Planting and Care

Camellias are long-lived shrubs, so it’s worth it to spend a little time thinking about where to plant them. Remember, you always want to put the right plant in the right place.

Most camellias will perform best if you plant them in a sheltered location where they receive partial shade, though some sasanqua camellia varieties will tolerate more sun if they receive adequate irrigation.

Camellias should be planted in a well-drained, preferably acidic soil and be watered regularly for the first year until they’re established. After that can typically survive on rainfall alone, though they’ll perform better if irrigated during dry spells.

Any pruning should be done before late summer when the flower buds form, though sasanqua camellias generally require only occasional grooming thanks to their slow growth and natural form.
For more information on sasanqua camellias, contact your county Extension office.

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