If you are looking for a perfect plant for the holiday season and beyond, the ‘Yuletide’ camellia (Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’) might just be the one for you. Its bright red petals and yellow stamens make a wonderful contrast, while the glossy evergreen foliage, reminiscent of the leaves of those two Southern staples—magnolias and gardenias—lends a stylish sheen to arrangements.
This camellia is similar to other sasanquas in the sense that it tolerates cooler temperatures and a wider range of moisture levels, as well as a wider range of acidic soils than its parent plant, the Camellia japonica. ‘Yuletide,’ like all sasanquas, starts blooming in October and will bloom through Christmastime.
When decorating with this camellia, just about anything goes. For starters, you can float the flowers in water. Get out a beautiful crystal bowl , fill it three-fourths full of water, and then add as many blooms as you like. Or you can use cuttings in a mixed arrangement. Be sure to only cut stems that you would otherwise want to prune. This camellia is known to be a particularly slow grower. However you use them, these flowers are sure to add a punch of color to any festive decor.
At my house, I use this plant in a container outside my doorway. I place the ‘Yuletide’ as the centerpiece in my pots so guests can see the bright color during a wintertime visit. I plant Lenten roses around the base of the ‘Yuletide’; their green foliage adds a wonderful contrast to the small leaf of this camellia. Lastly, I create swags of English ivy around the pot.
While its color obviously lends itself to the holiday season, the bright red of the ‘Yuletide’ camellia adds cheer year-round.
Yuletide Camellia Quick Facts
- Common Name: ‘Yuletide’ camellia
- Botanical Name: Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’
- Hardiness Zones: 7–10
- Size: 2–5 feet tall and wide
- Sun requirements: Full sun to part shade
Sources for Yuletide Camellias
- Petals from the Past, Jemison, Alabama
- Pike Nurseries, Atlanta, Georgia
- Hewitt’s Nursery and Garden Center, Nashville, Tennessee
By Troy Rhone | Photography by James Gaither