10 Early Blooming Camellias You Will Love

Those in warmer climates watch and wait for the first camellias—the sansanquas—to come into bloom. And, it’s always worth the wait. Fat buds that have dotted shrubs for weeks suddenly, one morning, unfurl to reveal Instagram-ready pink, white, or red blooms.

Sasanqua varieties bloom weeks before their C. japonica cousins, and it’s often a sweet but fleeting show, wedged between late fall’s still warm days and early winter’s heavy rains.

There’s still time to plant camellias–in fact now, when they’re in bloom and you can see the exact hue, is an excellent time to select the perfect ones. Visit a garden center to view a full range, but to get you started, here are ten of our favorites. (Yes, it was not easy to choose.)

 Setsugekka Camellia

Where to start? Tall, dense, semi-weeping shrub with huge, ruffly, semi-double flowers that come in mid-season (December) brings the romance in the dead of winter. Imagine a hedge of this? Up to 10 ft. tall and wide. Filtered sun. Zone: 7 – 10.

Kanjiro Camellia
Zone: 7 – 10

Want to espalier a camellia shrub? Ideal choice. Tall, semi-weeping in habit, with the most shocking of cerise flowers. Up to 10 ft. tall and wide. Filtered sun.

Pink-A-Boo® Camellia
Zone: 7 – 10

Fragrant camellias are rare! Sweet, but not cloying floral fragrance from large, deep, rich pink blooms that come by the dozens. Up to 10 ft. tall and wide. Filtered sun.

Marge Miller™ Camellia
Zone: 7 – 10

World’s first prostrate camellia is a natural groundcover. Let spill over a wall or above a water feature where it can be reflected. 1 ft. tall and 4 ft. wide. Filtered sun.

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White Doves Camellia
Zone: 7 – 10

Compact form for smaller gardens. Use as a low hedge or ground cover. Adds winter interest to a grove of oakleaf hydrangea. Up to 5 ft. tall and wide. Filtered sun.

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Chansonette Camellia
Zone: 7 – 10

Short, pendulous habit for hanging baskets and pots. You will love the impact of brilliant pink, double blooms in shady spaces. Up to 3 ft. tall and 8 ft. wide. Filtered sun.

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Apple Blossom Camellia
Zone: 7 – 10

Lovely en masse, but also a unifier amongst other camellias. Makes a remarkable hedge that’s soft, but full of oomph, too. Up to 10 ft. tall and wide. Filtered sun.

Yuletide Camellia
Zone: 7 – 10

For the gardener who loves dense, vibrant color. Lovely with purple-foliage shrubs such as Plum Passion® Heavenly Bamboo. Up to 10 ft. tall and wide. Filtered sun.

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Jean May Camellia
Zone: 7 – 10

She’s pale, but also powerful! If you love shell-pinks this is the one for you. Really brings to life brick walls and foundations. Up to 10 ft. tall and 6 ft. wide. Filtered sun.

Camellia sasanqua

Bonanza Camellia
Zone: 7 – 10

Beautiful red color and ruffled petals look stunning as a low growing, hedge in place of formal Boxwood or throughout beds. Up to 5 ft. tall and wide. Filtered sun.

For much more on how to design with camellia and how to use them as cut flowers, follow these links:

Best Ways to Use Camellias

Making Arrangements: Captivating Camellias

Camellias that are chill in the cold

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