If you love the eye-catching beauty and evergreen foliage of camellias, here are 25 similar blossoms that offer a glorious and valuable addition to any landscape.
Camellias are prized for their exquisite blooms and evergreen foliage, characteristic of the Theaceae family. They have an impressive bloom period from fall to spring and are considered one of the best flowering shrubs. While Camellias have a reputation for being fussy, they are low-maintenance when planted in an optimum growing site.
Camellias are hardy to zones 6 to 9 and prefer temperature climates. Their delicate petals are sensitive to direct sun; thus, Camellias must be planted in partially shady areas. Camellias require deep, regular watering and fertile, aerated soils. In warmer climates, they are susceptible to root rot fungus. Enhancing drainage and applying a copper-based fungicide avoids diseased shrubs.
Applying mulch to the topsoil during early spring and early fall maintains moist, well-drained soil. Camellias depend on an optimum soil condition but should not be fertilized since this risks damage and bud drop.
1. Franklin Tree
Franklinia alatamaha, commonly called Franklin Trees, are deciduous trees with fragrant flowers strikingly similar to Camellia blossoms. Their brilliant white blooms also appear during summer and fall. Franklin Trees share hardiness zones 5 to 8 with Camellias; however, Franklin Trees tolerate warmth and full sun better than Camellias. These trees rely on light to produce deeper, richer foliage in fall.
While Franklin Trees are extinct in the wild, they are successfully cultivated in gardens with rich, aerated soil. Unlike Camellias, Franklin Trees benefit from annual acid-based fertilizer treatment and a diluted magnesium sulfate solution during early spring.
Both Camellias and Franklin Trees rely on deep, regular watering. Their soil must have adequate drainage since their roots do not tolerate standing water.
Like Camellias, Hydrangeas are flowering shrubs that boast colorful blossoms from mid-summer to fall. Both species are hardy in growing zones 5 to 9; however, Hydrangeas are more adaptable to a range of growing environments than Camellias. These varieties have no preference for soil type and pH but rely on sufficient drainage to avoid root rot.
Hydrangeas rely on regular, deep watering once a week. Like Camellias, Hydrangeas prefer partial shade and adequate soil: direct light and high-nitrogen fertilizers damage blooms. Hydrangeas mature to an impressive size of 15 feet but require minimal pruning to maintain their shape.
Parents and pet owners should carefully consider planting Hydrangeas since these shrubs are toxic to people and animals.
3. Japanese Stewartia
Stewartia pseudocamellia, or Japanese Stewartias, are deciduous trees with large, white blossoms easily mistakable for Camellia blooms. Like Camellias, Japanese Stewartias flower from summer to fall and rely on partial shade and fertile, aerated soil to flourish. These trees are hardy to zones 5 to 8.
Both Camellias and Japanese Stewartia are low-maintenance when planted in optimum environments. These trees must be protected from the cold and strong gusts that damage buds and flowers. Planting Japanese Stewartias in wind-sheltered areas and using stakes stabilize the tree.
Japanese Stewartias rely on consistent moisture during their first year until their root systems are established. Once mature, water these trees once a week and apply a layer of mulch to maintain moist soil. Using an acidifying fertilizer during the spring encourages healthy blooms.
4. Silky Camellias
Stewartia malacodendron is more commonly known as Silky Camellias or Virginia Stewartias. Their delicate white flowers have purple filaments and blue anthers, which distinguish them from Camellias. Like Camellias, Virginia Stewartias have an impressive bloom period from late spring to fall.
These shrubs prefer warmer hardiness zones 7 to 9. Both Camellias and Virginia Stewartias thrive in shadier areas with moist, well-drained soil. Their roots must be fully shaded from direct light and do not tolerate transplanting.
While Silky Camellias have a reputation of being fussy, they are low-maintenance when planted inadequate growing areas. Their lush foliage turns to a brilliant yellow after their bloom period to expose their stunning striped, light brown bark.
5. Siebold Viburnum
Viburnum sieboldii are low-maintenance deciduous shrubs that share hardiness zones 4 to 7 with Camellias. Their dark green foliage welcomes fragrant, white flowers during the spring. Once their blossoms are spent, they give ay to scarlet berries that attract birds during summer and fall.
Siebold Viburnum thrives in environments with moderate moisture, aerated soil, and full sun to partial shade. These shrubs must be consistently watered at the base of the plant to ensure healthy blooms. Seibold Viburnum grows to an impressive 20 feet and must be pruned immediately after flowering to maintain its shape.
These shrubs are hardy against insects and disease; however, they should be protected against high temperatures. Droughts and direct sunlight lead to leaf scorch.
6. Mock Orange
Philadelphus coronarius, more commonly called Mock Orange, is a deciduous shrub that bears fragrant white flowers similar to Camellia blooms during spring and summer. Their blossoms are rich with nectar which pollinators such as bees and butterflies. These shrubs share hardiness zones 4 to 8 with Camellias.
Mock Orange shrubs require at least 4 hours of direct sunlight per day for healthy blooms. These plants tolerate most soil types but rely on good drainage to avoid root rot. While mature shrubs are drought-tolerant, younger Mock Oranges need deep, regular watering until their roots are established.
Like Camellias, Mock Orange blooms are damaged by nitrogen-rich fertilizers. However, working compost into the soil during the late spring encourages flowers over foliage and improves drainage. To further enhance blossoming, Mock Oranges should be pruned immediately after their blooming period ends.
7. Mountain Laurel
Kalmia latifolia are broadleaf evergreen shrubs that bear delicate pink and white flowers during late spring. Both Camellias and Mountain Laurel are hardy in zones 4 to 9. Like Camellias, Mountain Laurel performs best in partial shade where their leaves are protected from harsh light, but they receive enough sun to blossom.
These shrubs should not be planted too deeply since their crowns will suffer from rot when buried and cause the shrub to die. Before Mountain Laurel matures, they require consistent watering and a layer of mulch to maintain moisture. During the spring, these shrubs should be fed acidifying fertilizers to encourage blooming.
While these plants are striking additions to spring gardens, parents and pet owners should take care when planning Mountain Laurel since they are toxic to humans and animals.
Deutzia varieties are spring-blooming shrubs with striking pink and white flowers and rich, green foliage. Like Camellias, Deutzia species are hardy to zones 5 to 8. Furthermore, both species are easy to maintain when planted in partial sun and moist, well-drained soil. However, periods of full sun maximize flowering and fall foliage.
While Deutzia shrubs grow to an impressive size of 10 feet, they should not be pruned since this can ruin their naturally stunning arching habit. If necessary, prune the oldest branches to preserve the shape and encourage new growth.
Deutzia gracilis, or Chardonnay Pearls, is a notoriously beautiful Deutzia variety with fragrant white blossoms and eye-catching foliage. This variety is ideal for smaller spaces since they grow 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide.
9. Bridal Wreath Spirea
Spiraea prunifolia are deciduous shrubs that bear brilliant white flowers similar to Camellia blooms. Both species flower during spring and are hardy to growing zones 5 to 9. Their fall foliage develops rich yellow, red, and orange leaves that can be pruned to control the shrub’s size.
Unlike Camellias, Spirea requires areas that receive full sun to maximize blooms. These hardy shrubs are tolerant of clay and loam but rely on good drainage to avoid root rot. Before Spirea mature, they should be well-watered until their root systems become established. However, they are drought-tolerant plants that are suited to drier gardens.
It is best to add compost to Spirea soil during the spring to provide nutrients, retain moisture, and prevent weeds.
10. Scotch Heather
Like Camellias, Calluna vulgaris are flowering shrubs that bloom during July and September. Both Camellias and Heathers are hardy to zones 4 to 6, where they prefer partial shade and moist, humusy soil. However, Heathers tolerate direct light during bloom periods better than Camellias and rely on full sun to produce healthy blooms.
While Heathers do not tolerate dry soils well, they require good drainage to avoid root rot. An adequate moisture balance is maintained by mixing compost into the soil and mulching with peat moss. Heathers must be planted with enough room to develop their shallow root systems.
Heathers are versatile shrubs that can be landscaped in several ways. Smaller varieties are used as ground covers, while more erect shrubs can be planted as borders and background plants.
Forthysia species are deciduous flowering shrubs that boast yellow blossoms during the spring. These shrubs are hardiness zones 5 to 8 with Camellias. Unlike Camellias, Forsythias are tolerant of soil types and drought once they are established. These shrubs rely on areas that provide at least six hours of full sun to flower.
Immature Forthysia plants do not need to be fertilized. Once healthy and established, granular fertilizer can be added to the shrub’s base during the spring and summer to encourage healthy blooming. Forthysia are fast-growing shrubs that require regular pruning to maintain their desired shape and size. However, pruning past late July risks losing all the flowers for the following spring.
Forsythia shrubs are susceptible to knobby galls and fungal twig blights. These can be treated by pruning affected stems, applying a fungicide, and improving circulation through regular pruning.
12. Mount Airy Dwarf Fothergilla
Both Camellias and Fothergilla gardenii are flowering shrubs that boast delicate white flowers during the spring. Like Camellias, Fothergilla prefers shadier areas with well-drained, fertile soil. These shrubs share hardiness zones 5 to 9 with Camellias.
Fothergillas should be pruned once their flowers are spent during the late spring since their blooms rely on their previous year’s growth. However, pruning should be minimal since these shrubs have a characteristically wild appearance.
13. Witch Hazel
Like Camellias, Hamamelis vernalis varieties are flowering shrubs that boast fragrant blooms. However, while Camellias have an extended flowering period, Witch Hazel exclusively blooms in deep winter climates. These shrubs have uniquely spidery flowers with a spicy fragrance.
Witch Hazel flourishes in partial shade but relies on full sun to flower during winter. Like Camellias, Witch Hazel needs moist soil that is well-drained since their roots are susceptible to rot. Witch Hazel and Camellias share hardiness zones 5 to 8.
Witch Hazel blossoms tolerate cold but must be planted in wind-protected areas since strong gusts can damage blooms.
Syringa vulgaris are flowering shrubs that bloom with Camellias during the spring. Their fragrant purple and white blossoms are popular cut flowers. Unlike Camellias, Lilacs need at least six hours of direct sunlight to bloom. Too much shade will limit Lilac blooming.
While Camellias are hardy to warmer zones, Lilacs are hardy to zones 3 to 8. Like Camellias, Lilacs thrive in rich, loamy soil with adequate drainage. While Lilacs can tolerate most soil types, moisture-heavy soils like clay will stunt their growth and lead to root rot. Immature Lilacs need to be kept lightly moistened, while established Lilacs only need to be watering during periods of drought.
Spring feeding in areas of poor soil encourages healthy Lilacs. However, nitrogen-rich fertilizers will promote foliage over flowering.
15. Chinese Fringe Flower
Loropetalum chinense are, like Camellias, flowering shrubs that are hardy to zones 7 to 9. These shrubs produce clusters of fragrant flowers and burgundy foliage during the spring, which fades to orange during autumn.
These shrubs prefer areas with morning sun and afternoon that have moist, well-drained soil with plenty of organic fertilizer. Adding a layer of mulch to the topsoil to maintain sufficient moisture. They benefit from being mulched.
Loropetalums can be landscaped in several ways. These shrubs may be planted as hedges or small trees; however, heavy pruning destroys their natural form. Furthermore, low-growing Loropetalums can be used as groundcover.
Rhododendron, commonly known as Azaleas, are flowering shrubs that blossom during mid-spring. Their large, striking blooms are comparable to Camellia flowers. These blossoms can be enjoyed for approximately two weeks if there is no rain or wind damage. Like Camellias, Azalea blossoms wilt in excessive heat and prefer areas that receive partial shade.
Azaleas thrive in acidic soil with good drainage and adequate organic matter. In areas with heavy rainfall during spring, azaleas do not need additional watering. However, in drier climates, extra watering is required, and mulching with pine bark maintains moisture.
Azaleas tolerate hardiness zones between 3 and 9, depending on the variety. Choosing a planting site-specific to variety needs is thus essential. Excess cold stifles bud formation, and excess heat wilts blooms.
17. The Oregon Grape
Mahonia aquifolium are hardy evergreen shrubs that blossom during spring. However, throughout all four seasons, these shrubs provide color with green and burgundy foliage, yellow blossoms, and purple fruit. These shrubs attract pollinators such as butterflies and bees to gardens.
Like Camellias, Oregon Grapes do well in areas with partial shade and rich, well-draining soil. However, while Camellias do not need fertilizer, Oregon Grapes rely on a multi-purpose fertilizer for healthy blooms.
Oregon Grapes should be planted in wind-protected areas since strong gusts dry out their evergreen foliage during the winter months. Furthermore, their foliage is vulnerable to whiteflies, scales, and aphids. These pests can be treated with insecticidal soap.
Physocarpus opulifolius are tough deciduous flowering shrubs. Like Camellias, Ninebark shrubs bear striking flowers during the summer and fall months. Both species are low-maintenance plants when planted in ideal growing environments.
While Camellias prefer partial shade, Ninebark needs at least six hours in full sun to flower optimally. Ninebark shrubs are drought-tolerant plants with low water requirements but can handle occasional poor drainage and flooding.
Ninebark shrubs need minimal pruning after blooming to maintain their shape and improve circulation. Older and damaged branches should be pruned to the base of the plants for winter to encourage flower and foliage growth.
Like Camellias, Daphne varieties are flowering shrubs that boast eye-catching blossoms. However, Daphne shrubs require far more maintenance than Camellias do. Choosing a planting site requires careful planning because they respond poorly to transplanting and have specific care needs.
Both Camellias and Daphne species bloom best in partial shade. However, these shrubs need periods of full sun for flowering. Daphnes require a balance between well-drained and moist soil. Mixing compost into the soil and adding a layer of mulch assists in enhancing draining while maintaining moisture.
Daphne shrubs require a balanced granular fertilizer during early spring and late summer to encourage healthy blooms.
Kolkwitzia amabilis are spring shrubs hardy to growing zones 5 to 9. Like Camellias, Beautybush boasts beautiful blossoms during the spring. Beautybush blossoms are followed by fruits that attract pollinators such as birds.
These shrubs prefer areas of partial shade but require up to six hours of direct sun to flower. Like Camellias, Beautybush grows well in fertile, well-drained soil with moderate moisture. Because these shrubs flower on old wood, it is essential to prune Beautybush shortly after they flower. This encourages blooms over foliage.
21. Weigela Bush
Weigela varieties, like Camellias, are flowering shrubs that boast stunning blooms. While Camellias bloom from fall to spring, Weigela Bush blossoms during late spring and early summer. Both Camellias and Weigela varieties are easy to care for when planted in sites that meet their needs.
Weigela rely on eight to ten hours of full sun per day to bloom. Warmer climates may allow these shrubs to be planted in areas with dappled light, but too much shade stifles flowering. Young Weigela bushes need consistent, deep watering until their root systems are established. Once matured, these shrubs acquire all the water they need from rainfall.
While Weigela bushes are mostly pest resistant, they can be susceptible to occasionally aphids, spider mites, and scale insects. Natural insecticides and horticultural oil should be applied to infected areas of the plant. Alternatively, spraying the shrubs with water will remove pests but risks damaging blooms.
22. Variegated Japanese Pieris
Pieris japonica ‘Variegata’ are evergreen shrubs that bear clusters of pink and white blossoms during spring. Both Camellias and Japanese Pieris are hardy to zones 6 to 8. Like Camellias, these plants thrive in moist, well-drained soil that is moderately fertile. Variegated Japanese Pieris prefer areas that are partially shady with short periods of filtered sunlight for blooming.
While Camellias do not favor fertilizing, Japanese Pieris rely on organic matter for healthy blooms. Furthermore, flowering is encouraged by acidic soil. Adding ericaceous compost and mulch with pine needles lowers the pH of the soil.
23. Pearl Bush
Exochorda, commonly known as Pearl Bush, is a deciduous shrub that bears pristine white flowers during spring. Like Camellias, Pearl Bush is deemed a low-maintenance plant. Pearl Bush should be planted in sites that receive full sun and have moist, well-drained soil for maximum blooming. These shrubs do not tolerate drought; thus, they must be regularly and deeply watered.
Pruning Pearl Bush once their bloom period ends ensures a good show of flowers the following year. Furthermore, mixing compost into the soil will improve drainage to avoid root rot and ensure healthier shrubs.
24. California Sweetshrub
Calycanthus occidentalis are deciduous shrubs that share hardiness zones 6 to 9 with Camellias. Sweetshrubs boast fragrant maroon blossoms during the summer months. Unlike Camellias, these shrubs are highly adaptable to various growing conditions. They can handle full sun to full shade and tolerate most soil types.
Applying a mild fertilizer and pruning old foliage encourages healthy blooms. Sweetshrubs require moderate watering but depend on good drainage since oversaturation causes root rot. Furthermore, Sweetshrubs can be affected by bacterial crown gall, and diseased areas should be removed and destroyed.
Parents and pet owners should carefully consider planting California Sweetshrubs since they are poisonous to humans and household pets.
Cephalanthus occidentalis are flowering shrubs that bear unique spherical blossoms during the summer months. These scented blossoms attract pollinators such as hummingbirds and butterflies. Buttonbush and Camellias share hardiness zones.
Buttonbushes are not only ornamental additions to summer gardens. While Camellias need well-drained soil, Buttonbush grows well in wet, fertile soil. Their tolerance for moisture-rich soil is why Buttonbush is often used to restore wetlands, control erosion, and create wildlife habitats.