Skip to Main Content
Plants of the UNF Campus

Camellia japonica - Japanese camellia
Family Theaceae


This large-flowered native of Japan has been an icon of the American South for generations. It is the state flower of Alabama and an international organization is devoted to its cultivation. It is the most commonly cultivated of approximately 300 species of Camellia. It is a slow growing shrub or small tree capable of reaching fifteen feet or more in height. Hundreds of cultivars exist with flowers in shades of white, pink and red. This plant’s evergreen foliage and winter to spring flowers makes it a valuable addition to the landscape. 


A named cultivar, ‘Blue Danube,’ can be seen on the west side of building 50. Cultivar ‘Laura Walker’ is on the north side of building 51.


For the Florida garden, consider the Japanese camellia to be a large shrub to fifteen feet tall or more. Wild plants are reported to be forty feet tall.

Care Instructions:

Light: part shade to full shade

Water: drought tolerant when established, irrigation is beneficial

Soil: average soil, acidic soils (low pH)

The Japanese camellia is a tried and true plant for north Florida gardens. It thrives in partial shade. It grows best in an acidic, well-drained soil. This is a long-lived plant that slowly grows to become a large shrub. An established plant is drought tolerant. 

Camellia japonica