Camellia japonicas are large shrubs with glossy evergreen foliage. The flowers bloom in shades of pink, red or white in the fall and early winter, and vary in size from 2 to 5 inches across. The flower styles of Camellia japonicas include single rows and multiple rows of petals, as well as different petal shapes. Camellia japonicas grow best in warm, humid climates, but tolerate light frost. Open blooms are often damaged at temperatures of 26 degrees F and below. They need organic soil with a pH of 6.0, and do well in partial shade in hot areas or full sun in cooler areas.
Single and Higo Forms
The single form of Camellia japonica appears almost flat with one row of regular or irregular petals and conspicuous freestanding stamens in the center. It usually has five to seven petals, but no more than eight.
The Higo form of Camellia japonica resembles the single form, with many stamens, and occasionally some small fused petals called petaloids.
Semi-Double and Double Forms
Semi-double Camellia japonicas are fuller than the single form. They have two or more rows of regular, irregular or loose petals with protruding, prominent stamens. Double Camellia japonicas have many rows of overlapping petals that hide the stamens. The petals may be flat, recurved or cupped, and grow in tiered or spiral layers. The rose-form double Camellia japonica is a full flower with overlapping or layered petals around a concave center of stamens.
The anemone form of Camellia japonica has large outer petals that are either flat or undulating. The center of the full flower consists of petaloids and protruding stamens.
The peony form of Camellia japonica is a mass of loose outer petals around a center of petaloids and stamens. The full peony form grows in a domed mass with no stamens visible.