Camellia Japonica- Facts on Japanese Camellia and Cultivars

Camellia japonica, also known as Japanese Camellia is a cherished plant in Southern gardens. Get facts and information on Camellia Japonica and a list of Camellia cultivars and related Camellia species.

Japonica camellia is an evergreen shrub used in borders, mixed plantings, as an accent or focal point in protected courtyards, against walls, and as foundation shrubs. Careful placement is a must in Zone 8. Also choose a cultivar based on cold hardiness since this dictates whether the plant will survive or not.

"Camellia Japonica"

Camellia Japonica Shrub

Family: Theaceae

Leaves: Alternate, simple, evergreen, ovate to elliptic, 2” to 4” long, serrate. Each serration is tipped with a black gland, with a lustrous dark green above. Glabrous, firm, leathery, almost plastic texture. The underside has black gland-like dots. The petioles are 1/4” long.

Buds: Flower bud- imbricate, green, pubescent on upper portion, rounded-conical, 3/4” long x 1/2” wide.

Stem: Rich brown in color, and covered with blackish lenticels

Hardiness: Zones 7-9

Sizes:10-15’ by 6-10’ wide.

Habit: Usually a dense pyramid of lustrous dark green foliage. Some forms will be more open than others and a bit more graceful.

Growth Rate is rather slow.

Texture: Medium to medium-coarse.

Flowers: Perfect, but not fragrant. They will turn brown if cold weather gets to them.

Fruit: Rather unusual woody capsule that contains 1 to 3 seeds.

Culture: Japanese camellia is easily transplanted from containers. It prefers moist, acid, well-drained, high organic soils. It is best to mulch this plant as the root system is not very deep. It should be planted where it gets partial shade as too much sun or shade will result in depressed flowering. Camellia japonica varieties are often grown in conservatories in the northern states.

Diseases: Spot disease on leaves, black mold on leaves and stems, leaf gall, leaf spot, flower blight, stem cankers, root rot, leaf blight, virus induced flower and leaf variegation, tea scale beetle, thrips, spotted cut worm, numerous other insects, root-nema.

Physiological disorders such as bud drop, chlorosis, oedema, sunburn, and salt injury.

Propagation: The seeds require no pretreatment if taken from the capsules and planted immediately. If the seeds dry out they should be covered with hot water (190 degrees) for about 24 hours. After the 24 hours, they may be planted in seed flats. Cuttings are best collected from May to September and in the fall, about November. Cuttings should be taken from the current season’s growth just below the fifth node. Place in sand and peat or peat and perlite mixtures.

"Japonica Camellia"

Camellia japonica 'Kumasaka'

Camellia Japonica Cultivars

‘Bernice Boddy’- Flowers semi-double, shaded light pink, very cold hardy flower buds.

‘Debutante’- Light pink, early flowering, peony type, complete double.

‘Flame’- Late-flowering red form, very cold hardy flower buds, semi double.

‘Governor Mouton’- Red and white variegated flowers, cold hardy buds.

‘Kumasaka’- Dark pink, late, cold hardy, incomplete double.

‘Lady Clare’- Flowers large, semi-double, dark pink, above average cold hardiness.

‘Magnoliaeflora’- Light pink, cold hardy, semi-double, compact plant.

‘Pink Perfection’- Formal double, pink.

‘Rev. John G. Drayton’- Flowers semi-double, carmine-rose, late-blooming.

‘White Empress’- White, early above average hardiness, incomplete double.


  • Camellia oleifera ( Tea-oil Camellia)
  • Camellia sasanqua (Sasanqua Camellia)
  • Camellia sinensis (Tea Leaves)


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