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CAMELLIA sasanqua 'Cotton Candy'

Image of Camellia sasanqua 'Cotton Candy'

JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University



Botanical Name

CAMELLIA sasanqua 'Cotton Candy'

Plant Common Name

Camellia, Cotton Candy Sasanqua, Sasanqua

General Description

Warm days, cool nights - fall and it’s time to look for the colorful blooming jewels of Camellia sasanqua. These evergreen shrubs don’t get as much attention as their more popular cousin, the large-flowered common Japanese camellia, but they should. Native to Japan, sasanquas, as they are known to garden enthusiasts, have a long history of use for tea, oil and ornament.

The cultivar ‘Cotton Candy’ has glossy, thin but leathery, elliptical, dark green leaves with toothed margins which are held on thin stems alternately. The plants have a spreading, upright habit. The semi-double to double flowers are light pink to white with fluted petals and many gold stamens. The small to medium flowers are produced in the leaf axils (joint between leaf and branch), have waxy petals and appear from fall to midwinter. What these blooms lack in size compared to common camellias, they make up for in numbers. It is not uncommon to see plants covered in blooms with many buds yet to open.

Sasanquas prefer partial shade, but established, well watered specimens will tolerate full sun. The soil should be moist, acidic and have ample drainage. These plants are notoriously slow-growing, slow to establish and shallow rooted; a thick layer of organic mulch is a good practice to protect the roots. Regular irrigation when dry and applications of fertilizer promote good growth and flowering. Prune after flowering and just before growth starts in the spring, but only lightly, as they do not recover well from harsh pruning.

Cold sensitive, but more tolerant than common camellias, sasanquas work best in locations where temperatures don’t stay well below freezing for any length of time. Use Camellia sasanqua ‘Cotton Candy' as a hedge, accent, foundation plant or container plant.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    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

    4'-12' / 1.2m - 3.7m

  • Width

    4'-15' / 1.2m - 4.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter, Winter

  • Native To


Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type


  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    White, Gold, Pink, Light Pink

  • 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

    Double, Semi-Double

  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture


  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Hedges, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Self-Sowing