81219Some might say it blooms very late. Others might say it blooms very early. Regardless, sasanqua camellia, Camellia sasanqua, blooms in autumn or early winter when not much else is blooming. The abundant two inch wide flowers can be pale pink, rich pink, white or red, all with prominent yellow stamens. Some are fluffy with many petals. Others have only a few. Alas, fragrance is rare.

Each cultivar of sasanqua camellia has a distinct personality. Some are strictly upright, and can eventually get somewhat higher than downstairs eaves. Others are too limber to stand upright on their own; so they grow as low mounds, or espaliered onto trellises. With proper pruning that does not compromise bloom too much, some can be pruned as hedges, or as foundations plantings.

Sasanqua camellia has been in cultivation for many centuries. Prior to breeding for bloom in the past few centuries, it was grown for tea and tea seed oil, which is extracted from the seeds. This oil is used for culinary purposes and cosmetics. The finely serrate elliptical ‘tea’ leaves are about one to two and a half inches long. The glossy evergreen foliage is appealing throughout the year.

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13 thoughts on “Sasanqua Camellia

    1. I should clarify that those that we grew regularly were not ‘prominently’ fragrant. Some of those who enjoyed them would sometimes remind me that they were in fact very mildly fragrant, but only up close. I just did not bother to smell them.

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    1. I would try to guess what cultivar it is, but there are just too many, and there are likely cultivars that are popular there that we do not grow so much here. We grew ‘Setsugeka’ as our primary white sasanqua camellia, but I do not consider it to be fragrant. As much as I like white, I was none too keen on ‘Setsugeka’ because with all the prominent stamens, was just as much yellow as it was white, like a fried egg.

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    1. All of ours might be blooming already, so that there will not be much left for winter. ‘Yuletide’ is normally starting to bloom about now, but is instead finishing. I don’t know what got into them this year.

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