Considered one of the very best flowering shrubs

The Camellia genus contains flowering broadleaf evergreen shrubs that offer year-round interest and bloom in late fall, winter, or early spring, depending on variety. Long beloved in the South, camellias are considered one of the very best flowering shrubs, combining masses of exquisite blooms with shapely habits of glossy, dark green foliage. The abundant flowers come in a wide array of forms and colors. They can be single, semi-double, or double blooms in shades of white, pink, rose, red, or streaked. The flowers make excellent cuts for floral displays, and since the flowers symbolize faithfulness and longevity, they are often used in winter wedding arrangements.

Camellia is a genus of about 260 species. C. sasanqua (sasanqua camellia) and C. japonica (Japanese camellia) are the most common ornamental species used in home gardens. Camellias range in height from 4 to 20 feet, with Japanese camellias typically growing larger than sasanqua camellias, which have a more delicate and graceful form. Camellias grow slowly and can live for more than a century. They make excellent shrub borders, hedges, and privacy screens but are often pruned into tree form for use in beds and landscapes. Sasanquas also make lovely espalier specimens for courtyard gardens.

Low maintenance, camellias prefer part shade and loose, rich, moist, well-drained soils with an acidic pH of 5.8 to 6.5. In general, sasanqua cultivars can take more sun than japonica types, but adequate water is vital, especially in sunnier locations; however, too much water can cause root rot. A regular fertilization program is recommended for best results.