Photo: Camelia, Yuletide

General description

Camellia sasanqua (the Christmas or Yuletide camellia) is a species of Camellia native to the evergreen coastal forests of southern Japan in Shikoku, Kyūshū and many other minor islands as far south as Okinawa. It is usually found growing up to an altitude of 900 metres.

The camellia sasanqua grows rapidly, and the area where you plant it should be suitable for the its full size. The shrub will stretch up between 6 and 10 feet and it can spread out between 5 and 7 feet. When it is upright, it tends to have a pyramidal or oval shape.

Plant requirements

The camellia sasanqua is suitable for hardiness zones 7 through 9. It requires well-drained, acidic soil and can thrive in locations that range from full sun to partial shade. 

Camellia sasanqua tends to fare better in winter when protected from full sun and dry wind.

When you first establish this plant, it will need regular, thorough watering, but after the shrub starts growing well, this can be reduced. Water whenever the soil feels dry, and do not allow the soil to dry out fully. The camellia sasanqua is considered to be drought tolerant, and can survive dry spells with relative ease.

The camellia sasanqua is a hardy plant, but yearly fertilization will keep it looking healthy. Apply fertilizer in the late spring, and use a well-balanced general garden fertilizer.


  • Prune to shape the bush and to thin out the middle to improve air flow.
  • Prune broken, dead or weak branches and straggling shoots that detract from the shrub's natural compact form. You can also prune off the tips about 6 to 12 inches to help encourage branching and fuller growth.
  • Cut unwanted individual branches down to the center of the plant.
  • Cut off broken, damaged or diseased branches 3 or 4 inches below the affected area. Make a clean cut; make sure your tool is sharp.
  • Cut back the leaves to bare branches from mid-February to early May, if necessary.
  • To avoid camellia petal blight, sweep up dropped leaves and flowers. Dispose of them away from your property and avoid putting them in your compost pile

Practical use

C. sasanqua is valued in gardens for its handsome glossy green foliage, and fragrant single white flowers produced extremely early in the season - often as early as Christmas..


1 - 200 cm
Soil type
Partial shade