Imagine spending life as Cleopatra's sister. Each morning, you don the most exquisite gown and have your hair coiffed and your nails gilded, yet no one ever notices. That's how it is to be a sasanqua. Though it's one of the classic plants that define our region and its beauty can dominate autumn, to those enamored with the ostentatious flowers of its winter- and spring-blooming sibling, a sasanqua will always be "the other camellia."
What an injustice to a shrub that has been cultivated in its native Japan since the 14th century and in the American South for nearly 200 years.Camellia sasanqua may lack the grapefruit-size blooms of Camellia japonica, but in many respects, it's a better plant for your garden.