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Camellia sasanqua ‘White Doves’ (photo courtesy of Kimberley Navabpour)
Camellia sasanqua ‘White Doves’ (photo courtesy of Kimberley Navabpour)

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Zone
Zones 4-9, 12, 14-24, 26-31
Partial Sun
Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Camellia hiemalis

Theaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs

CAMELLIA

Camellias grow over a wider latitude range along the West Coast than anywhere else. Typically loaded with white, pink, red, or variegated blooms during the cool season, many of these robust shrubs flower heavily when other bloom is scarce. Native to southern and eastern Asia, they are unscented except as noted.

Big C. japonica varieties are the most popular, with fall- and winter-flowering C. sasanqua varieties coming in second. All are classic understory shrubs that thrive in filtered shade. They also grow well in pots.

There are six camellia forms: Anemone, formal double, peony, rose-form double, single, and semidouble.

Camellia hiemalis

Includes a number of varieties formerly listed as sasanquas but differing in their later, longer bloom; heavier-textured flowers; and usually smaller size.

Camellia hiemalis ‘Chansonette’ (photo courtesy of Monrovia)
Camellia hiemalis ‘Chansonette’ (photo courtesy of Monrovia)

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‘Chansonette’

Vigorous, spreading growth to 3–6 ft. tall and 8–10 ft. wide. Large, bright pink, formal double flowers.

Camellia hiemalis ‘Shishi-Gashira’ (photo courtesy of Monrovia)
Camellia hiemalis ‘Shishi-Gashira’ (photo courtesy of Monrovia)

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‘Shishi-Gashira’

One of the most useful and ornamental shrubs. Low growing (3 ft. high and 6 ft. wide), with arching branches that in time pile up tier on tier to make a compact, dark green, glossy-leafed plant. Leaves are rather small for a camellia, with medium-fine foliage texture. Flowers are rose-red, semidouble to double, 2–2 1/2 in. wide, heavily borne over a long season—fall through winter in a good year. Full sun or shade.

‘Showa-No-Sakae’

Fairly fast, open growth to 3 ft. tall and 6–8 ft. wide, with arching branches that make it good as an espalier or in a hanging basket. Semidouble to double flowers of soft pink.

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