Liven up your garden with colorful Christmastime camellias.
Yuletide Camellia
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Move over, poinsettias. Yuletide camellias might be on their way to becoming the South’s next favorite holiday bloom. These beautiful evergreen shrubs—also known as Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’—bring shiny green foliage and eye-catching red flowers to the garden. Sometimes they bloom a little earlier, meaning the holiday season can get started even sooner in your garden. (And who doesn’t love that?)

The Southern Living Plant Collection describes the Yuletide camellia as a “compactly growing shrub [with] glossy, dark green leaves which remain throughout the year. Bright red single blooms with contrasting yellow stamens are formed during the winter.” It’s that color pairing that’s the real draw for these camellia blossoms, as the vibrantly pinkish-red petals contrast with the bright golden stamens and deep green leaves.

The single blooms of Yuletide camellias appear in the winter months from late November (at the earliest) through January and make a lovely garden accent. They also make gorgeous cut flowers for your festive holiday vases. (Nestle them alongside evergreen clippings from your Christmas tree for a pretty DIY arrangement.) In the garden, the shrubs are extremely versatile and can even work as hedge plantings thanks to the attractive evergreen foliage that’s borne thickly on the branches.

To thrive, Yuletide camellias need partial sun with medium water requirements and annual fertilizing. In optimal conditions, they’ll grow to 4 to 5 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. They do best in USDA zones 7a-10b, and they’re hardy to the single digits, which means they can withstand some of the South’s more punishing cold snaps. These camellias are also tolerant of drought and heat and can also thrive in wetter landscapes too. Prune after flowering for a healthy reblooming habit year after year.

You can find more information about these camellias from The Southern Living Plant Collection at

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What’s your favorite holiday-season bloomer? Do you have any camellias flowering in your garden this season?