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Varieties of Camellia Sasanqua

Camélia image by Dominique LUZY from <a href=''></a>

The sasanqua (Camellia sasanqua) is an upright to spreading large shrub to small tree that matures at 15 to 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide. The jade-green leaves are evergreen and make a beautiful backdrop to the white to pink or red flowers that reliably occur in fall and early winter months. Native to Japan, sasanquas are grown in USDA winter hardiness zones 7 through 9. Plant them in an acidic, organic-rich soil that is moist and well-draining. Partial sun or shade is okay, but if soil is shaded by mulch and roots kept cool, a sasanqua camellia can thrive in full-sun exposures. Dozens of varieties of sasanquas exist.


The strong, sturdy branches of the 'Bonanza' cultivar of sasanqua create a shrub that matures at 6 to 10 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet wide. Rose-red to red flowers that are somewhat peony-like in form appear in fall to early winter. These flowers with gold stamens aren't overly large, but are produced in abundance among the leaves--often flowers are open and display many developing buds, foreshadowing a long blooming season and display.


Double rows of white waxy petals form small flowers all across the somewhat weeping branches on the sasanqua variety 'Mine-Yo-Yuki'. The blossoms also are mildly fragrant and eventually open so wide as to reveal a tuft of yellow stamens. A vigorously growing plant with smaller-sized leaves in comparison to most other sasanqua shrubs, the branching architecture of 'Mine-Yo-Yuki' develops a spreading, almost willow-like habit. It will grow to about 8 feet tall and equally as wide.

Sparkling Burgundy

With an upright mature shape with irregular branching, 'Sparkling Burgundy' produces peony-like flowers that are ruby-red with a lavender sheen. Gold stamens are scattered among the petals to create a rustic but beautiful color contrast. This cultivar grows anywhere from 8 to 20 feet tall and 6 to 15 feet wide. Pruning in late winter can help create the size shrub you desire.


The variety 'Shishigashira' is a lower-sized plant. Slowly maturing to about 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide, its ornamental forte is the peony-form flowers with semi-double to double (many extra) petals with a waxy texture. Beginning to bloom in early fall and continuing to early winter, 'Shishigashira' flowers are a deep red-rose color, very vibrant to the eye.

White Dove

'White Dove' also is a comparatively lower, broader-forming selection of sasanqua. It grows 3 to 6 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide, and branch-tip pruning in late winter can make the plant remain more prostrate in form. Its white, peony-like flowers occur among the leaves on branch ends anytime from mid-autumn to mid-winter.

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