11 Red Camellia Varieties For Bold Garden Color

Are you thinking of adding some red camellias to your garden this season, but aren't sure which variety to choose? There are many varieties to choose from that bloom with beautiful bold red blossoms. In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss walks through her favorite red flowering camellia varieties, with names and pictures of each!

red camellias


Does the idea of gorgeous red flowers blooming in your garden through the Winter make your heart race a little bit? If it does, you might need a camellia. With more than 2000 hybrid varieties to choose from, camellias bloom through the colder months, proving that every season is blooming season if you have the right plants in your landscape.

If you live in zones 7-10 you are fortunate enough to have the right conditions for these lovely, showy evergreen shrubs to flourish and fill your winter garden with bright and brilliant colorful flowers.

Camellias come in many colors, with 6 different distinct petal variations. They range in appearance from a single petal formation resembling a rose, or anemone, to a full peony petal formation that looks, well, very much like a peony!

There are so many stunning varieties to choose from that it can be a bit overwhelming to think about. If you’ve settled upon a shade in the red family, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most breathtaking specimens, to help you with your decision. Here are 11 stunning red camellias to help wipe away those evergreen winter blues.

Camellia Sasanqua Varieties

C. Sasanqua is a hardy, flowering shrub variety of camellia that grows well in zones 7-10, and some that can even survive in zone 6 with a little extra tlc. Sasanqua is more sun tolerant (up to 4 hours per day) than its shade-loving cousin, c. Japonica, and reaches about 6-10’ at maturity.

Sasanqua is the lowest maintenance and hardiest of the camellias, making it a wonderful choice for novice growers. If you want a large shrub that packs a major punch of colorful blooms from late fall through early Spring, camellia sasanqua is just what you’ve been looking for. Here are 5 varieties of red sasanqua to ogle.

‘October Magic Ruby’

Camellia sasanqua 'Green 02-003'
‘October Magic Ruby’ is an early flowering variety that produces bright red flowers with double petals.
Scientific name: Camellia sasanqua ‘Green 02-003’
  • Bloom Time: Late Fall
  • Plant Size: 4-5 feet
  • Plant Zone: 7-9
  • Uses: Focal Point, hedge, cut flowers

‘October Magic’ is an early bloomer in the world of Camellias. It boasts a bright red, fully double petal formation with slightly visible, bright yellow stamens. It is a semi-dwarf variety, growing 3-4’ tall with a 4-5’ spread. Hardy in zones 7-9, it blooms from October until December.

This variety is lightly fragranced and graceful in form. Its flowers are reminiscent of garden roses. Part of the Southern Living Plant Collection, ‘October Magic’ is happy in partial sun, with afternoon shade.

With its prolific flowering habit, there are plenty of blooms to go around. A  crystal bowl of these beauties makes a Thanksgiving centerpiece that will rival the plumpest of turkeys, and outshine even the prettiest of pecan pies.


Sasanqua x 'Yuletide'
This incredible camellia blooms during the winter months with single-petalled, red flowers and bright yellow stamens.
Scientific Name: Sasanqua x ‘Yuletide’
  • Bloom Time: Winter
  • Plant Size: 8-10’
  • Plant Zone: 7-10
  • Uses: Accent, hedge, focal point

The name alone, ‘Yuletide’, conjures up of visions of bright red and green and gold. The Yuletide camellia certainly lives up to its name, bearing large, single petal formation blooms with thick, showy clusters of bright yellow stamens against a backdrop of glossy green.

Blooming through the winter months, and one of the larger varieties of sasanqua, this camellia is a pollinator favorite with its ample and fully exposed, dense pollen center.

‘Yuletide’ blooms beautifully and survives temperatures as low as 0°-10°F. A row of these tall, red flowering shrubs makes a true statement hedge. It offers plenty of privacy with its dense foliage.

‘Crimson King’

Sasanqua x 'Crimson King'
‘Crimson King’ produces large, 5-inch bright crimson blooms that exude a wonderful fragrance.
Scientific Name: Sasanqua x ‘Crimson King’
  • Bloom Time: Fall-Winter
  • Plant Size: 8-12’
  • Plant Zone: 7-9
  • Uses: Border, Hedge, Container

‘Crimson King’ is a true stunner. With large, 5” single petal blooms, this variety is an impressive specimen. Crimson shows off a brilliant tuft of bright yellow stamen in the center, not unlike that of Yuletide.

Another distinguishing characteristic of this royal hedge is its wonderful fragrance! It’s no wonder this variety is a winner of the highly regarded Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

‘Red Bird’

Camellia oleifera
This variety blooms with incredibly beautiful red flowers.
Scientific name: Camellia oleifera
  • Bloom Time: Fall-Mid Winter
  • Plant Size: 8-12’
  • Plant Zone: 7-9
  • Uses: Hedge, Small tree, Focal Point, Cut Flowers

A prolific bloomer, ‘Red Bird’s’ graceful blooms are unique in their bright fuchsia red tone. This medium sized plant makes a lovely, showy hedge, or can be trained into a lovely small tree shape by pruning the bottom branches for upward growth. This variety may be a smaller camellia, but these graceful plants are a joy to behold, none the less.


Camellia x williamsii
This beautiful variety of camellia blooms in autumn with ruffled red-pink flowers.
Scientific Name: Camellia x williamsii
  • Bloom Time: Fall
  • Plant Size: 4-5’
  • Plant Zone: 7-10
  • Uses: Foundation, Low Hedge, Espalier, Cut Flowers

This lovely, smaller variety of Sasanqua bears a medium sized, peony petaled bloom through the Fall. It’s spreading habit makes it a great low hedge. Bonanza is fast growing and produces copious numbers of ruffled, red blooms early in the season. Its compact size makes it perfect for growing in containers as well.

Bonanza’s blooms are a sight to behold. These medium sized, bright red flowers resemble a starburst with graduated layers of dense petals.

Camellia Japonica Varieties

Camellia Japonica is a larger growing species of camellia that can be pruned into a more treelike shape than the shrubby sasanqua. Japonica is a shrub that blooms best in partial shade, preferring mainly filtered sunlight.

It is slow growing, but can reach much taller heights than sasanqua, growing as tall as 25’, with some varieties reaching record heights of up to 50’ tall! If  lovingly cared for, these slow maturing camellias can be enjoyed for many generations.

If you are fortunate enough to have inherited a mature japonica, you are likely the envy of your neighboring gardeners. Here are 6 varieties of breathtaking red camellia japonica specimens to enjoy.

‘Black Magic’

Camellia Japonica x Black Magic
‘Black Magic’ has beautiful crimson petals.
Scientific Name: Japonica x ‘Black Magic’
  • Bloom Time: Mid to Late Winter
  • Plant Size: 10-12’
  • Plant Zone: 7-9
  • Uses: Focal Point, Hedge, Foundation

‘Black Magic’ is extraordinary in both its petal and leaf formations. Its large, glossy, semi-double petals are a deep crimson with black veining and ruffled edges. These exotic blooms are paired with bright green; holly-like serrated leaves, you can easily see how it earned its mysterious moniker.

‘Black Magic’s’ bloom is so unique with its glazed appearance, they could easily be mistaken for high quality faux flowers. Flowers open fully to expose bright yellow stamens to stand in striking contrast to their deep burgundy surrounding. Black Magic is certainly enchanting.

Image Credit: Megan Hansen via Flickr (Image use allowed with attribution)

‘Satsuma Kurenai’

Japonica x 'satsumakurenai'
‘Satsuma Kurenai’ produces magnificent red flowers that form rose petals.
Scientific Name: Japonica x ‘satsumakurenai’
  • Bloom Time: Winter – Spring
  • Plant Size: 6-12’
  • Plant Zone: 7-9
  • Uses: Hedge, Accent, Foundation

One of the smaller varieties of C. Japonica, ‘Satsuma Kurenai’ blooms through the Winter and into the Spring months in small, well-organized, rose petal formation flowers. It is an upright grower and blooms show a hint of yellow stamens in the center, making it the true rose of winter.

This variety likes filtered morning light and afternoon shade. They do well in containers but bring them indoors if the overnight temperatures drop below 20°F as camellias in containers tend to be more susceptible to root rot when left out in very cold temperatures.

‘Kifukurin Benikarako’

Japonica x 'Kifukurin Benikarako'
This unique variety of camellia produces showy bright red flowers with a dense cluster of organized petals in the center.
Scientific Name: Japonica x ‘Kifukurin Benikarako’
  • Bloom Time: Winter
  • Plant Size: 8’
  • Plant Zone: 7-9
  • Uses: Focal Point, Hedge, Cut Flowers

‘Kifukurin Benikarako’ is a medium-sized camellia that packs a punch in the flower department. This is a truly unique and difficult to come by variety of camellia.

With its unusual anemone petal formation and variegated leaves, Kiku is a standout amongst the showiest of camellias. The bright red blooms have a tight, compact cluster of neatly organized petals in the center, surrounded by a larger, single petal form the outer layer.


Japonica x ‘kikutoji’
‘Kiku-toji’ produces double flowers of vibrant red and white.
Scientific Name: Japonica x ‘kikutoji’
  • Bloom Time: Late Fall
  • Plant Size: 12-18’
  • Plant Zone: 7-9
  • Uses: Ornamental, Focal Point

Originating in Yokohama, Japan, this variety was imported in 1895, but it wasn’t released in the U.S. until the 1970’s. That’s a long wait for most plants, but this one was worth being patient for. Bearing small, formal double formation blooms, it is the color of this camellia that makes us catch our breath.

Kiku’s blooms are a splashy red and white combination, with a high contrast between their hues. In English, its name means ‘Chrysanthemum in Winter Solstice.’ An early bloomer for a Japonica, this flower’s appearance is reminiscent of a starlight mint, and every bit as sweet.

‘Royal Velvet’

 Japonica x 'Royal Velvet'
‘Royal Velvet’ produces large, velvety deep red flowers.
Scientific Name: Japonica x ‘Royal Velvet’
  • Bloom Time: Winter- Spring
  • Plant Size: 10-12’
  • Plant Zone: 7-9
  • Uses: Hedge, Foundation, Cut Flowers

‘Royal Velvet’ gets its name from the large, deep red, velvety petals of its signature blooms. These blooms have a double petal formation that opens fully to reveal bright yellow clusters of sizeable stamens.

This variety is a prolific bloomer with large and impressive flowers. It makes a splash from Winter through Springtime with its stunning splashes of color. ‘Royal Velvet’ has petals fit to clothe a queen with their luxe velvety richness.

‘Professor Charles S. Sargent’

Japonica x Professor Charles S. Sargent
This incredible camellia has beautiful red flowers with a dense peony petal formation.
Scientific Name: Japonica x Professor Charles S. Sargent
  • Bloom Time: Late Winter
  • Plant Size: 10-12’
  • Plant Zone: 7-8
  • Uses: Hedge, Foundation, Focal Point

Named for the one-time director of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, the Professor is another beautiful red camellia with a unique tight peony petal formation. These densely ruffled petals range in color from rose pink to a deep red color. One flower boasts up to 230 petals!

Professor is as distinguished as it sounds, with a truly unique petal formation. I would say that we saved the best for last, but with so many stunning specimens, it would be impossible to choose just one favorite.

Final Thoughts

Camellias are a low maintenance addition to the garden which provide color, uniquely, during the late Fall through the early Spring. Plant any of these varieties in partial shade, give them slightly acidic, well-drained soil, and they will be happy and healthy, bearing bountiful blooms for years to come.

Red camellias come in a wonderful array of shapes, sizes, and petal formations. Blooms range from dramatic, deep, black red, to vivid splashes of crimson and white. If you are looking for a festive and joyful winter flowering plant with impressive blooming power, look no further, the camellia will not disappoint.

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