Camellia sasanqua, a fairy garden at the end of fall

Camellia sasanqua is a small shrub with simple flowers that blossoms from fall into the heart of winter.

Its petals as they drop litter the ground to form a colorful carpet, much like cherry trees do in spring.

There are 82 known species of camellia and an estimated 10,000 cultivars grown to date.

Camellia sasanqua isn’t yet widely grown, which is surprising because it brings the garden to life with its bright colors when the rest of the plant world prepares to sleep.

Planting Camellia sasanqua

March and April is the ideal planting season for Camellia sasanqua, but if you purchase it in a container, plant it whenever is convenient for you.

  • Try to find slightly acidic forest soil or clay-sandy soil that drains well and has a lot of humus.
  • Heavy, clay, compacted soil must be done away with.
  • Excess water must always be able to drain away.
  • The planting hole must have a total volume about three to four times larger than the clump.
  • Along the bottom of this hole, spread about 8 inches (20 cm) worth of compost.
  • Water abundantly and cover the soil with pine bark mulch.

Set it up in full sun because it requires strong light, but avoid having it face South which might burn it in summer. Shelter it from wind or the flowers will fall apart in short time.

In regions where winters are cold, protect it from the cold and wind with a wind-breaker. Keep the ground from freezing by protecting the roots with a pile of dried leaves laden down with sand.

Caring for Camellia sasanqua

Petals fall from a pink-flowered Camellia sasanquaThe soil must be kept cool at all times.

When rain comes to default, water your Camellia sasanqua, especially during the first year after planting.

After a long hot day, drench the leaves, it will thank you because it likes mist and fog.

That’s why growing along the coast suits it well, it thus can benefit from the mildness and moisture of oceanic climate.

It isn’t mandatory to prune Camellia sasanqua because letting it grow free will produce very appealing shapes. However, if you aim to have it grow as a sphere, a pyramid, or other, you can prune it without any problems.

Prune right after the blooming, because Camellia sasanqua builds up its flower buds during summer on new growth. If you prune too late, you might cut off the branches that were supposed to flower. This won’t endanger the plant, though.


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Camellia sasanqua flower by Martin Mekatrig under Pixabay license
Camellia sasanqua fallen petals by Yuno under Pixabay license