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Camellia japonica - Japanese camellia

Originating in mainland China, Camellia japonica is a symbolic shrub around Asia. Growing in forests, it can withstand altitudes of 1,000 metres. Not only are they famous for their beautiful solitary flowers, but they are also used in Asian cuisine. The leaves can be used as a tea substitute and the dried flowers are used in traditional Japanese food, ‘Mochi’. The seeds can also be made into edible oil.

The Japanese camellia does best in full or partial shade making it a perfect addition to courtyard gardens or wall side borders. The glossy evergreen leaves are a backdrop to the spectacular array of flowers which bloom between late winter and spring. A variety of different cultivars of this tree are available, grown for their different shape and coloured flowers.

Being low maintenance is a great positive of this tree. However, making sure the soil is correct is a necessity. The Theaceae family of plants needs acidic soil; sand and loam are perfect but steer clear of chalk.

FACT: As long as the conditions and soil are correct, this shrub can last hundreds of years.
The oldest Camellia was planted in 1347 and can be found in China’s Panlong Monastry.

Plant Profile

Name: Camellia japonica

Common Name: Japanese camellia

Family: Theaceae

Height: 10.0-12.0m

Width: 6.0-8.0m

Demands: Partial shade or full shade

Soil: Moist but well drained, Clay, Loam or sand

Foliage: Evergreen, glossy green leaves

Flowers: Singular white or pink flowers blooming in spring

Camellia japonica info sheet