Camellia crapnelliana

Common Name: camellia 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Theaceae
Native Range: Southeast China
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 20.00 to 30.00 feet
Spread: 12.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: October to December
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10 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 ground should be the same as the soil level in the pot). Plants may be effectively grown in tubs or other large containers. This camellia is not winter hardy to the St. Louis area (USDA Zone 6a). It may be grown in containers that are overwintered 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 crapnelliana was discovered by W. J. Tutcher in 1903 growing as a single tree on Mount Parker in Hong Kong. It is now ornamentally grown for its attractive dark green foliage, late autumn flowers and rusty brown bark. It typically grows as a small tree to as much as 20-30' tall. Leathery, elliptic to oblong-elliptic, green leaves (to 5" long) with serrulate margins are evergreen. White flowers (to 2-4" across) with 6-8 petals and bushy yellow stamens in the center bloom singly in fall to early winter. Flowers have a musky aroma. This species is difficult to propagate from cuttings and is generally grown from seed.

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 small flowering evergreen tree or large shrub that provides exciting winter bloom for woodland gardens, shrub borders, backgrounds, lawns and around homes.