Good trees for urban gardens: Sasanqua camellias offer late fall, early winter flowers

Yuletide camellia

Sasanqua camellias are a delight in late fall and early winter when so many shrubs have stopped flowering..

They like well-drained and organic soil. And a 2-inch layer of mulch will be welcome. They are good in the sun but also thrive with shade from trees. However, they do not like being buffeted by wind. Avoid south-facing areas subject to wind.
Apple Blossom camellia

‘Apple Blossom” blooms in late fall and produces many flowers. Milder temperatures help them last longer.

Red “Yuletide” is well named. The flowers are opening now and will last through December and into January. The flowers are tougher and will continue to bloom even after a freeze.

Setsugekka camellia at Edmonds Center for the Arts.

White “Setsugekka” is quite tough. You can see this upright camellia in the planting bed just south of the main building at the Center for the Arts (ECA). This protected bed is perfect for this white camellia.

Sasanquas have done well with the warmer weather we have just experienced. If any sasanquas have not bloomed, put acid fertilizer lightly around the shrubs after the blooming period. March to early July is the best time to fertilize. Sasanqua camellias are an undemanding shrub that look good year round.

— By Barbara Chase

Barbara Chase is a Master Gardener who serves on the City of Edmonds Citizens Tree Board.


    1. Is this a shrub, not a tree as in title? City of Lynnwood offers yearly $500 in tree and soil amendment vouchers, so shrubs are not included. Thanks…

  1. Camellias are in the tree like shrub category. Some grow over 12 feet and enter the tree territory

    Most sasanquas stay shorter, but a few get taller. The more common camellia japonica has many varieties which qualify as small trees.
    Camellia ‘Donation’ reaches the second story of my home. You might ask the City of Lynnwood about whether the taller camellias are eligible for the tree voucher.
    Thanks for the comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.