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CAMELLIA japonica 'Betty Sheffield'

Image of Camellia japonica 'Betty Sheffield'



Botanical Name

CAMELLIA japonica 'Betty Sheffield'

Plant Common Name

Betty Sheffield Camellia, Camellia, Japanese Camellia

General Description

The cultivar ‘Betty Sheffield’ is a dense plant with an upright habit. Large, double, loose peony-form blooms (a puffy mass of multiple irregular petals) are white, striped and blotched with pink and red. Widely opened flowers reveal the golden center of stamens. Flowering occurs mid-season: late winter to very early spring. In the 1940s, a random camellia seedling of Mrs. F.L. Gibson was transplanted and grown by Mrs. A.B. Sheffield in Thomasville, Georgia. This camellia proved highly ornamental, but also very unstable. The shrub would yield numerous mutations in its flowers, both in color and form. Dozens of modern-day cultivars arose from 'Betty Sheffield', and their cultivar names reflect their origins.

Japanese camellia is a large, broadleaf evergreen shrub to small tree that originates from eastern Asia. It has a compact, upright to spreading habit and attractive smooth gray branches that are furnished with oval, glossy, dark green leaves. From late winter to early spring, it bears large, waxy flowers which are excellent for cutting.

Camellia prefers partial sun to partial shade but will tolerate full sun once established, though sunscald may be a problem. The soil should be moist, acid and well-drained. This plant is notoriously slow-growing, slow to establish and shallow rooted. A thick layer of organic mulch will protect the roots and facilitate better growth. Regular irrigation and applications of fertilizer promote good growth and flowering, though plants will tolerate periods of drought. Prune after flowering, just before new growth starts in the spring. Selective, light pruning and shaping is recommended and shearing is not. Camellia does not recover well from harsh pruning practices. The evergreen leaves and tender flower buds may suffer from sunscald and wind desiccation in winter, so avoid planting camellia in highly exposed areas. In the landscape, it may be used in hedges, foundation beds, mixed borders or as a specimen woodland plant.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Broadleaf Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    10'-12' / 3.0m - 3.7m

  • Width

    3'-10' / 0.9m - 3.0m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Late Winter

  • Native To

    China, Japan, Korea

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    White, Red, Pink

  • Flower Color Modifier


  • Fruit Color


  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture


  • Usage

    Cutflower, Feature Plant, Foundation, Hedges, Mixed Border, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Self-Sowing