Camellia rosiflora

Common Name: camellia 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Theaceae
Native Range: China
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 5.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: December to March
Bloom Description: Soft pink
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-9 where this evergreen shrub is typically grown in organically rich, acidic, well-drained soils with consistent moisture in part shade locations. Established plants do well with moderate but even moisture. Plants appreciate protection from early morning sun and from direct hot afternoon sun. They often thrive in sun-dappled part shade conditions under the protection of tree canopies. Protection from strong winds is also important. Apply a root mulch (leaves or shredded bark). Prune after flowering to thin branching and to control size and shape. Most camellias are purchased in pots. When transplanting them into the garden, it is important to not plant them too deep (soil level in the pot should be the same as the soil level in the ground). This plant is not reliably winter hardy to the St. Louis area (USDA Zone 6a). However, with protection and mild winter weather (temperatures that do not dip below zero degrees F), this camellia may survive winters outdoors in St. Louis. If attempted in St. Louis, this shrub should be grown in a sheltered and protected microclimate such as shaded areas near the south side of a home or building. Plants may be effectively grown in tubs or other large containers. Where not winter hardy, containers may be overwintered indoors in a cool greenhouse where necessary growing conditions (including bright light and cool winter temperatures of 45-60 degrees F.) can be met.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Camellia rosiflora was originally described by Hooker in 1858 from a specimen growing at Kew in London. It is possible that specimens in the wild do not currently exist. This is an evergreen shrub that typically grows to 5-8' tall with a relaxed, arching habit. Elliptic to broad elliptic, wide-serrate, light green leaves (to 2-3" long). Single, slightly fragrant, soft pink flowers (to 1 1/2" across) with 6-8 petals bloom in winter to early spring (later in cool climates). Sometimes designated as Camellia rosaeflora.

Genus name honors Georg Joseph Camel (1661-1706), a German Jesuit missionary to the Philippines who was noted for his work on Oriental plants.


Camellias are susceptible to a number of fungal diseases including leaf spots, anthracnose, viruses, black mold, petal blight, canker and root rot. If petal blight occurs (browning that runs from edges to the center), all infected plant parts should be promptly removed. Yellow leaves with green veins may indicate chlorosis which can be treated by adding iron/iron chelates to the soil. Scale can be a troublesome insect pest. Watch for aphids, planthoppers and spider mites.


Where winter hardy, this camellia is an excellent flowering evergreen shrub (specimen or in small groups) that provides exciting winter to spring bloom for woodland gardens, shrub borders, backgrounds, lawns and around homes. It may be trimmed as a hedge. In St. Louis, experimental plantings must be sited in well-protected locations around houses, foundations and patios or in containers than can be overwintered in greenhouses.