11 Shade Friendly Camellia Varieties For Shady Garden Spaces

Are you looking for some shade-friendly camellias to add to an area of your garden or yard that doesn't get as much sunlight? While most camellias can tolerate some shade, there are certain varieties that excel in it. In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss walks through her favorite varieties of camellia that will thrive in the shade.

A camellia blooming in the shade with a flower that has white petals. A bright yellow stamen is in the center of the bloom.


Shade is a precious commodity during those humid summer days. It can also be a double-edged sword to a gardener, though. It’s lovely to sit in, and plants that can tolerate shade tend to need less watering. However, many plants don’t produce many flowers if they don’t get enough sunlight. This is where the wonderful camellia steps in.

Camellias are an amazingly diverse genus of plants, native to Asia. They have deep, shiny evergreen foliage year-round, making them a wonderful privacy hedge or shade-friendly shrub. Their blooms appear during the cooler months, with many varieties blooming in the middle of winter. They are also shade lovers that bloom best when they are given an ample amount of protection from the sun.

If you are looking for a stunning, flowering shrub or tree for your shaded landscape in zones 7-10, look no further. Continue reading to take a deeper look at some of the top varieties of shade-friendly camellias that flourish under the canopy of dappled shade!


Close-up of a blooming Setsugekka camellia branch with snow-white flowers. The flowers are semi-double, with ruffled petals with clusters of long, delicate yellow stamens. The leaves are elliptical, glossy, pointed.
‘Setsugekka’ prefers to grow in partial shade and produces white, semi-double flowers with ruffled petals.
Scientific name: C. Sasanqua ‘Setsugekka’
  • Bloom Time: Fall through Winter
  • Plant Size: 8’-10’ tall and wide
  • Plant Zone: 7-10
  • Light: Part Shade, Filtered Light

First on the list is a sasanqua variety that likes partial shade. Sasanqua camellias are typically early bloomers, flowering in the fall, and have more of a shrubby habit than their treelike japonica cousins. They have sturdy and resilient root systems though, and their roots are often used for grafting japonica varieties, to give them a hardier foundation.

‘Setsugekka’ is a large sasanqua, growing up to ten feet tall and wide. The flowers are white and semi double formation with ruffled petals and open to fully reveal a cluster of long, delicate yellow stamens. This variety has a gentle weeping habit and does quite well in part shade, with filtered sunlight.


Close-up of three blooming bright pink camellia flowers surrounded by green glossy foliage. The flowers are large, with yellow stamens in the center. The background is dark and blurred.
Pink-a-Boo grows well both in filtered sun to partial shade and produces fragrant single flowers of a dark pink hue.
Scientific name: C. Sasanqua ‘Pink-A-Boo’
  • Bloom Time: Winter
  • Plant Size: 8’-10’ tall and wide
  • Plant Zone: 7-10
  • Light: Filtered Light

Another sasanqua variety that does well in filtered sun to part shade, ‘Pink-A-Boo’ is the pink version of the very popular Yuletide variety. The flowers on this camellia are simply wonderful! Large, fragrant, and showy, the single form flowers blooming from this camellia are a deep pink shade. A large burst of golden stamens is fully visible, making this a favorite of bees during the winter dearth.

This Monrovia hybrid is another relatively large sasanqua and makes quite a statement. The flowers are showy and smell wonderful. They make a gorgeous cut flower as well as a focal point in your shade garden.


Close-up of a camellia 'Buttermint' flower surrounded by dark green foliage. Large pale creamy yellow flower with double, rounded petals.
This gorgeous camellia with pale creamy yellow flowers makes a great addition to your shady garden.
Scientific name: Camellia x williamsii ‘Buttermint’
  • Bloom Time: Late Winter through Spring
  • Plant Size: 6’ tall and 4’-5’ wide
  • Plant Zone: 7-10
  • Light: Part Sun to Full Shade

This sweet as candy hybrid is difficult to find, but if you can get your hands on one, this shade-tolerant shrub will make a wonderful addition to your shade garden. ‘Buttermint’ blooms in winter and early spring and the flowers are an absolute delight. Its medium sized blooms are a pale, creamy yellow color with a light minty fragrance.

The petal formation is formal double to peony, dense and dramatic. The stamens are fully obscured, but the suggestion is visible. A warm golden glow radiates from the center of the bloom, gently fading into a pure, creamy white.

‘Leslie Ann’

Close-up of the Lesley Ann camellia flower. Stunning flower with double petals in white fading to hot pink edges. The center of the flower has touches of yellow in the stamens.
‘Leslie Ann’ is a unique variety of camellia that produces stunning double-petaled white flowers with bright pink margins.
Scientific name: C. Sasanqua ‘Leslie Ann’
  • Bloom Time: Fall
  • Plant Size: 8’-10’ tall and 5’-7’ wide
  • Plant Zone: 7-10
  • Light: Partial Shade

‘Leslie Ann’ is every ounce the Southern Belle. This award-winning camellia is best known for her stunning double petal blooms. Leslie Ann’s flowers are pure white in the center with a tiny spark of bright yellow pollen. White fades to bold pink edges on these 3”-4” blooms.

Leslie Ann puts on a wonderful show early in the season, and is very salt tolerant, making it a great choice for hedges bordering a driveway or road. This camellia is a conversation piece with its bicolored blooms.

‘Korean Fire’

Camellia japonica or 'Korean Fire" branch with red flower. The red flower blooms from the shrub, and yellow stamens form at the center.
Korean Fire produces classic attractive bright red camellias with golden long stamens.
Scientific name: C. Japonica ‘Korean Fire’
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Plant Size: 10’-15’ tall and 5’-8’ wide
  • Plant Zone: 6-9
  • Light: Part sun to Full Shade

This cool weather beauty has classic camellia appeal. ‘Korean Fire’ can grow as far north as zone 6, which makes it a real gem among camellias. Bright red and gold burst forth to welcome the warmer weather and initiate the spring for the rest of the garden beauties.

‘Korean Fire’ can tolerate as few as 3-6 hours of sunlight and filtered at that. The blooms are vermillion and broad, single petal formation. A wonderfully symmetrical ring of dense yellow stamens decorates the center of this velvety flower, and are offset by broad, shiny, dark green foliage.

‘Spring’s Promise’

Close-up of a bright pink-red camellia flower surrounded by green foliage against a blue sky. A single-petalled flower with a slightly scalloped edge and many bright yellow stamens.
‘Spring’s Promise’ prefers to grow in a shady spot in the garden.
Scientific name: C. Japonica ‘Spring’s Promise
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Plant Size: 5’-8’ tall and 3’-4’ wide
  • Plant Zone: 7-9
  • Light: Part Shade

‘Spring’s Promise’ is a cold hardy variety of japonica that enjoys a shady spot in the garden. This late bloomer doesn’t flower until mid to late spring, but the flowers are radiant, and definitely worth the wait.

Single petal blooms from this camellia are bright red with a faintly scalloped edge. At the center is a profusion of bright yellow stamens. This is a pollinators dream, right in the middle of the Spring nectar flow and is certain to bring the hummingbirds to your garden.


Close-up of a tender Seafoam camellia surrounded by green glossy foliage. Pure white double flower with petals slightly pointed at the ends, star-shaped.
This variety of fragrant camellia blooms with pure white double flowers from late winter to spring.
Scientific name:  C. Japonica ‘Seafoam’
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Plant Size: 6’-10’ tall and 5’-6’ wide
  • Plant Zone: 7-10
  • Light: Full to Part Shade

The dense, deeply glossy foliage of this camellia makes it a wonderful privacy hedge. And don’t you just love a gorgeous flowering row of hedges? Blooming in the spring, this japonica variety is fragrant as well as beautiful.

Seafoam‘ blooms with pure white, formal double form flowers, from late winter, and into the spring months. The petals are gently pointed at the ends, and starlike. These lovely blooms make wonderful cut flowers as well.

‘Kramer’s Supreme’

A close-up of a bright red camellia flower surrounded by bright green foliage. The flower is large peony, resembling an open red rose. The stamens of the camellia are bright yellow, which are hidden behind densely gathered petals in the center. Camellia bush lit by the sun.
This gorgeous camellia variety with elegant red flowers prefers to grow in the shade.
Scientific name: C. Japonica ‘Karamer’s Supreme’
  • Bloom Time: Winter
  • Plant Size: 6’-8’ tall and wide
  • Plant Zone: 8-10
  • Light: Full Shade to Filtered Light

‘Kramer’s Supreme’ is a mid-season bloomer with a round growth habit. It makes a lovely, small tree, and will grow larger over time, but growth slows at about 10’ tall. This award winner enjoys living in the shade, a few hours of filtered light is plenty for this variety.

Kramer’s blossoms are stunning and elegant. Full peony to rose form, they resemble a fully opened red rose, just before the pollen is exposed. The stamens on this camellia are fully obscured, and the flowers are tightly petaled in the center. Kramer’s is also wonderfully fragrant, in addition to its striking appearance.

‘White by the Gate’

Close-up of a creamy white camellia Japonica ‘White by the Gate’ flower surrounded by green glossy foliage. Petals are well organized with slightly pointed edges, star-shaped, and slightly curled inwards. The flowers are pure, creamy white with a hint of an oily glow in the center. The background of the green garden is blurred.
‘White by the Gate’ produces clear, creamy white flowers with just a tinge of buttery glow to the center.
Scientific name: C. Japonica ‘White by the Gate’
  • Bloom Time: Winter
  • Plant Size: 10’-12’ tall and 6’-8’ wide
  • Plant Zone: 7-9
  • Light: Dappled Sunlight, Part Shade

‘White by the Gate’ is a beautiful, pristine winter bloomer in the japonica family. This camellia thrives in the dappled light of a tree canopy. It can tolerate a few hours of morning sun, but it needs some protections. It doesn’t only need protection from the hot afternoon sun. This variety is a bit delicate and should be sheltered from very cold winds.

From November through March, this plant produces a continuous supply of flowers. The blooms are a pure, creamy white with just a tinge of buttery glow to the center. These flowers are stunning in a floral arrangement and quite long lasting. They are sensitive to extreme temperature fluctuations.’

‘Tama Glitters’

Close-up of a blooming camellia flower on a branch of a Tama Glitters camellia bush, surrounded by dark green glossy foliage. The flower has dark pink petals with a thin white border around each. Bright yellow stamens protrude from the center of the flower.
‘Tama Glitters’ produces unique flowers with dark pink petals with a thin white border around each.
Scientific name: C. Japonica ‘Tama Glitters’
  • Bloom Time: Mid Fall through Early Spring
  • Plant Size: 12’ tall and 8’ wide
  • Plant Zone: 7-9
  • Light: Full to Part Shade

‘Tama Glitters’ is a handsome plant throughout the year, as an upright grower with broad, glossy leaves. This camellia enjoys a shady spot in the garden, and well drained, acidic soil. This variety is more cold tolerant, but less sun tolerant than many other camellia varieties, especially sasanquas, as with most japonicas, which typically enjoy more shade.

Tama’s flowers are loose peony form with softy ruffled petals and a dense, ring of long yellow stamens. The form of the flower is lovely in itself, but the color is where this is a standout. The petals are a deep pink with a thin white border around each one. It has a unique appearance and attracts pollinators with its pollen-rich blooms.

‘Grace Albritton’

Close-up of Grace Albritton pink Japanese camellia flower. The flower is double, with pale pink variegated petals with white, pink and pinkish-red elements. Bright green glossy foliage surrounds the flower. The background is blurry.
This unique variety of camellia blooms with delicate pink flowers with variegated petals.
Scientific Name: C. Japonica ‘Grace Albritton’
  • Bloom Time: Late Winter through Spring
  • Plant Size: 8’-12’ tall and 6’-10’ wide
  • Plant Zone: 7-9
  • Light: Dappled Sun

The last camellia on our list is a Camellia Hall of Fame winner! This unique variety has very dark green leaves that are lightly serrated around the edges. Grace is easy to grow and very satisfying to maintain. The standout feature of this camellia is the variety of flowers it produces.

‘Grace Albritton’ is one of very few varieties of camellia that produces flowers of different petal formation, and color, on the same plant. In fact, each flower on one plant can be different!

The flowers can vary in color from white to pink to a rosy, red, and most are variegated, but some may not be at all. The blooms can be formal double, rose or peony form. This is a real stunner with major flower power.

Final Thoughts

If you’re worried about having to choose between a garden with beautiful flowers and the comfort and shade provided by shade trees, camellias are a dream come true. These stunning evergreens enjoy the cool protection of a shaded yard and produce more flowers when they are exposed to only dappled sunlight.

With thousands of varieties to choose from in many colorful and beautiful shades and petal formations, camellias are a wonderful choice for shaded landscapes that provide year-round interest, as well as a feast for pollinators in the winter months.

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