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Camellia Japonica vs Camellia Sasanqua: 4 Key Differences

These days the number of ornamental plants is enormous, but camellias occupy a special place because of their amazing flowers. Today we will compare two remarkable species of camellia.

The main difference between Camellia Japonica and Camellia Sasanqua is the flowers. Camellia Japonica has bigger flowers and blooms a little later while Camellia Sasanqua has smaller flowers and blooms earlier.

These species also have a number of other differences that you will learn about in this article. I will also tell you what is similar between them in the second part of this article.


camellia japonica vs camellia sasanqua

The first thing to note is that the Japanese camellia has larger flowers. The size of the flower starts at 2 inches and in some varieties can reach about 4 inches across.

At the same time, Camellia Sasanqua has flowers that usually reach no more than 2 inches across. In addition, Camellia Japonica flowers are more voluminous due to the large number and size of petals.

Another difference is that Camellia Sasanqua flowers more profusely. Because it has smaller flowers, it produces a larger number of flower buds. However, some new varieties of Japanese camellia can bloom just as profusely.

The flowering period of both camellias is different. Camellia Sasanqua blooms from early fall through the winter and almost until early spring. Camellia Japonica, on the other hand, usually blooms from winter through almost the end of spring, depending on the variety.


camellia japonica vs camellia sasanqua

The leaves of both species are evergreen and quite similar. Their color is dark green and their surface is glossy. The edge can be slightly or strongly serrated. The leaf tip is almost always sharp.

What distinguishes the leaves is their size. The Japanese camellia has larger leaves. They are usually at least 2 inches long. In some varieties, the leaf can be up to 5 inches long.

Camellia Sasanqua on the other hand has smaller leaves. They are usually 1 inch long. In some cases, the leaf can be 2 inches long.

The leaves are an advantage of the Japanese Camellia over its competitor. In addition to the larger flowers, you will have larger leaves that will add more value to this camellia.

Sun requirements

The need for sunlight is different for both camellias. This difference can be decisive when choosing which one to plant in your yard.

Let’s start with the Japanese camellia. It prefers to grow in partial sun and does not tolerate full sun. This means it is best planted in a spot where there is morning or evening sun for a few hours a day.

It is important that it be protected from the afternoon sun. Otherwise, Camellia Japonica can get sunburned leaves during hot summers.

Camellia Sasanqua, on the other hand, is much more tolerant of the direct sun. It can grow in full sun all day without being harmed. This means that if you don’t have a shady spot in your yard in the middle of the day, Camellia Sasanqua is a good choice. It can also grow well in partial shade as a competitor.

What both camellias have in common is that they will not thrive in full shade. They need several hours of direct sun a day to bloom profusely. Also, a good place to plant is dappled shade.


The last difference between these plants is size. You should always consider this parameter before choosing one because it may turn out that one of them is not the right size for you.

The Japanese camellia is larger than the competition and can be up to 20 feet tall. At the same time, it can be three to five feet wide or more. Much depends on the variety, some can be bigger and some smaller.

Camellia Sasanqua, on the other hand, usually does not reach more than 15 feet in height. The width, meanwhile, can be more than 5 feet.

In addition to size, the shape of the crown also differs. The Japanese camellia is a more upward-growing plant with almost upright branches.

Camellia Sasanqua, on the other hand, is broader and lower. Also, its crown is a little more branched and dense.

So Camellia Sasanqua is best suited for small gardens and container cultivation. Whereas the Japanese Camellia needs quite a lot of space to grow and bloom abundantly.


In addition to their differences, both camellias have many things in common. Most of these have to do with care and maintenance requirements. Let us briefly go over the most basic points.


The first thing these camellias like is slightly acidic soil. The ideal pH is 5.5 to 6.5. Under these conditions, the plants can better absorb the nutrients from the soil and the color of the flowers will be brighter.

Also, the substrate should be well-drained and preferably light. In most cases, the soil is neutral and quite heavy. To bring the native soil into line with the camellia’s requirements, add some compost to it.


The second important aspect is watering. Both camellias need enough water to thrive, but at the same time, they don’t tolerate wet feet.

Water them only when it’s dry and never when it’s raining. Wait until the soil near the roots is about 2 inches dry. However, this applies to fully rooted plants, for new plants it is better not to let the soil dry out more than 1 inch.

Avoid watering them too often or with too much water. Otherwise, this can lead to root rot, which is quite difficult to treat.


Both camellias are flowering plants and they need a lot of energy to bloom. You have to fertilize them at least once a year to get lots of beautiful flowers.

The best fertilizer is compost. It is an organic product that can provide everything a camellia needs. You should apply it at the time of planting by mixing it with the soil.

Next, mulch the root zone with compost. The layer of mulch should be about two inches. Avoid burying the trunk of the camellia in the mulch to avoid disease. Once a year, renew the mulch with fresh mulch.

A second type of fertilizer is slow-release pellets. As for the formula, it is better to choose a multi-purpose fertilizer. Apply it once a year in early spring. Use as much fertilizer as indicated on the label and never exceed the rate.