The two varieties we have are 'Marie Bracey' (pictured above) and 'Greensboro Red.' The average height is 9-10' tall and 6-8' wide. They bloom in late winter through early Spring...a welcome reprieve to the drab months of winter. They have dark green, evergreen, glossy leaves and have an upright growth habit (medium growth rate). Once they are established, they need little care other than an occasional pruning of an overly enthusiastic branch! Camellias prefer acidic soil (welcome news to us here in Union County). Their ideal spot would be dappled or morning sun and shade most of the day.
'Greensboro Red' is a lovely choice with it's large, semi-double flowers.
Camellia japonica vs. Camellia sasanqua
Sasanqua camellias have dark-green, shiny leaves that are about 2 inches long, and the shrub's mature heights range from 2 or 3 feet to 12 feet, depending on the variety. Taller types become like spreading trees when all but a few main stems are pruned away from young plants. Their flowers begin opening in early winter and are usually single and white, although some cultivars have pink blossoms. The flowers are 2 to 4 inches in diameter, can be single or double and generally are not fragrant. Sasanqua camellias can be sensitive to long periods of subfreezing temperatures and do best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 9.
Japonica camellias are usually 6 to 12 feet tall, although they can reach a height of 25 feet under perfect conditions, and are generally larger than sasanquas. Their leaves are also larger than those of sasanquas, usually about 4 inches long, and more leathery. Japonica camellias begin blooming a bit later than sasanquas, usually in late winter, although the timing can vary by variety. Japonicas have larger flowers than sasanquas, up to 5 inches wide and partially or fully doubled. The flowers are in many colors, including white, pink, rose, red and mixed red and pink, and they are lightly fragrant. Japonicas and sasanquas are generally slow-growing, but japonicas are a bit slower than sasanquas. Both types, however, can live for hundreds of years. Japonicas are also a bit hardier than sasanquas and do well in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9.
Care: Both kinds of camellias can be planted any time of year when the soil is workable, as long as they are well-watered after planting. Japonicas and sasanquas are shallow-rooted plants and should be planted at the same depth they were in their nursery pots. Give each plant good soil for new roots by digging a large, deep hole and then partially filling the hole with loose soil before planting the camellia. Although pruning either type of camellia isn't necessary, you may cut back japonicas and sasanquas as needed to control their size; pruning early in the season, before flower buds form, is the best practice.