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Camellia Sasanqua vs Japonica

Written by: PBM Team



Time to read 3 min

In the enchanting realm of camellias, two varieties stand out for their beauty and distinct characteristics: Camellia Sasanqua and Camellia Japonica. These evergreen shrubs, revered for their captivating blooms and lush foliage, bring a unique charm to gardens.

Camellia Sasanqua, known for its fall flowering and graceful growth, dances with autumn colors. Camellia Japonica, with its elegant winter and spring blossoms, paints the garden in hues of sophistication.

Camellia yuletide sasanqua and camellia seafoam japonica
Pictured L-R: Yuletide Sasanqua Camellia, Seafoam Japonica Camellia

Camellia Flower Differences

The differences between Camellia Sasanqua and Camellia Japonica flowers are distinctive and contribute to the unique appeal of each variety.

Camellia Sasanqua Flowers

Camellia Sasanqua typically flaunts smaller, delicate blossoms with a more informal and informal appearance. These flowers often come in a broader range of colors, including whites, pinks, and reds, and are known for their sweet, subtle fragrance.

Pink, Red and White Flowering Camellia Sasanqua varieties

Camellia Japonica Flowers

On the other hand, Camellia Japonica boasts larger, more formal blooms characterized by intricate layers of petals. The colors of Japonica flowers are often rich and intense, and they are known for their elegance and traditional beauty.

Flowering Camellia Japonica

Foliage Differences

The foliage of Camellia Sasanqua and Camellia Japonica showcases distinctive characteristics, contributing to the visual allure of each variety.

Pictured L-R: October Magic Rose Sasanqua, Taylor’s Perfection Sasanqua, Seafoam Japonica Camellia
Pictured L-R: October Magic Rose Sasanqua, Taylor’s Perfection Sasanqua, Seafoam Japonica Camellia

Camellia Sasanqua Foliage

The glossy, dark green leaves of Camellia Sasanqua are smaller in size, creating a refined and compact appearance. These leaves often feature serrated edges, enhancing the elegance of the shrub. The serration of the leaves tends to be much slighter, with some varieties showing almost a smooth edge.

The dense and lush foliage serves as an attractive backdrop to the profusion of delicate blossoms that adorn the plant in the fall, creating a harmonious balance of texture and color. Beyond its ornamental value, the foliage of Camellia Sasanqua contributes to its adaptability, making it a versatile choice for various landscape designs, from informal hedging to container planting, where its verdant leaves continue to enchant throughout the seasons.

Camellia Japonica Foliage

The foliage of Camellia japonica offers a distinct and ornate display, setting it apart from its counterpart, Camellia sasanqua. Japonica’s leaves are typically larger and leathery and possess a more substantial feel than Sasanqua’s delicate, smaller leaves.

While both varieties boast glossy, dark green foliage, Japonica’s leaves often exhibit a richer and more refined texture. Many varieties show much more defined serrated edges. Japonica’s foliage’s large, lush, and symmetrical arrangement provides year-round interest and a robust backdrop for the more prominent blooms.

Growth Habit Differences

The growth habits of Camellia Sasanqua and Camellia Japonica vary significantly, influencing their overall appearance and suitability for different landscape settings.

camellia sasanqua white blooms near entryway

Camellia Sasanqua Growth Habit

Camellia Sasanqua tends to have a more upright and spreading growth habit, forming a graceful and somewhat open structure. Camellia Sasanqua reaches an average of 6 to 14 feet high by 5 to 7 feet wide, depending on the variety. This makes Sasanqua well-suited for hedges, modest screens, or as a standalone shrub. Its more flexible growth pattern allows for easier shaping and maintenance.

Camellia Japonica Growth Habit

On the other hand, Camellia Japonica grows in a broader range of heights. They can reach sizes of 6 to 25 feet high and 6 to 10 feet wide, depending on the variety. Japonica typically grows more compactly and densely, with a bushier habit. These medium and large varieties work great as hedges, and larger varieties can be used as screen plants.

Tall Japonica Camellia Varieties

In the enchanting world of camellias, the comparison of Camellia sasanqua vs japonica reveals two distinct personalities, each contributing its unique charm to the garden tapestry. Whether you opt for Sasanqua’s graceful informality or Japonica’s refined elegance, both varieties promise a year-round spectacle with their blossoms and foliage. As you navigate the choice between these iconic camellias, consider the specific needs of your landscape, the desired aesthetic, and the regional climate.

Ultimately, the beauty of gardening lies in the art of selection, and with either Sasanqua or Japonica, your garden is destined to flourish with timeless grace and botanical allure. Happy planting!


I order many, many plants. I have become a big fan of camellias, never have I ever gotten such quality plants as I received from you this week. I will order more plants as you have them in stock.

Thank you so much.
Judy Keen

Judy Keen

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