A Guide to the Camellia Flower Meaning and Uses

A Guide to the Camellia Flower: Meaning and Uses

Camellias are one of those flowers that have been treasured by lovers for centuries due to their symbolism of affection, love, and devotion. However, this flower has more to it than its symbolism.

In this guide, we will uncover everything you need to know about the camellia flowers’ meanings, origin, cultural significance, and uses. We also share some tips on the best ways to gift them.

How did the camellia flower get its name?

How did the camellia flower get its name

The camellia flower got its name from Georg Joseph Kamel, a Jesuit missionary and botanist. 

Carl Linnaeus, who’s famous for creating a system of naming animals and plants, was inspired by Kamel’s meticulous descriptions of Philippine camellias and chose to honor him by naming the genus after Kamel. 

What are the botanical origins of the camellia flower?

What are the botanical origins of the camellia flower

Camellia is a genus of flowers that consists of over 220 species and belongs to the Theaceae family. 

They are native to the tropical and subtropical areas of eastern and southern Asia and have large, striking flowers with five to nine petals that come in different shades. 

Camellias usually have yellow stamens and alternately arranged, simple, thick, and serrated leaves that exude a glossy appearance.

Do camellia flowers require a lot of maintenance?

Camellia flowers are low-maintenance plants. 

They only need pruning for their dead branches to be removed, and an annual pruning session is usually enough. You will also only have to fertilize them just once or twice a year.

Do camellia flowers need shade or sun?

Camellia flowers prefer light and partial shade and need protection from the hot afternoon sun. 

This is even more important for younger plants that grow very well when planted under tall trees.

When do camellia flowers bloom?

The blooming season of camellia flowers varies. It can be in late fall, winter, or early spring, depending on the cultivar.

What kind of soil do camellia flowers prefer?

Camellias thrive in well-draining soil with a pH level falling within the slightly acidic range of 6.0 to 6.5.

When is the best time to plant camellia flowers?

If you’d like to plant camellias in the ground, the best time is during the autumn season. 

This ensures that the soil retains warmth which provides an ideal environment for the roots to establish themselves before the onset of winter. 

If you want to plant them in containers, you may do so from spring to autumn, but be sure to water them regularly during the summer months.

What do camellia flowers mean?

What do camellia flowers mean

Camellia flowers commonly mean love, affection, and admiration. 

They are seen as a representation of strong commitment between two lovers because when it wilts, the entire flower detaches as one, rather than petal by petal. 

This unique feature reinforces the idea of an enduring and unbroken bond which makes camellias not only aesthetically pleasing but also rich in meaning. These flowers portray a love that remains whole and steadfast even in the face of challenges.

What do the colors of camellia flowers mean?



White camellias symbolize adoration and care, making them a wonderful choice for expressing affection to family or friends. These flowers also represent innocence and purity.

Recommended use: White camellias are perfect for gifting to family members and friends and are good additions to a wedding bouquet.



Red camellias have a passionate and romantic meaning, signifying a deep desire for someone special. 

Recommended use: These flowers are best suited as gifts for occasions like Valentine’s Day and anniversaries. They are also the perfect companions to classic red roses in bouquets.



Pink camellias express a sense of longing and desire in a platonic or friendly manner. 

Recommended use: These flowers are ideal for occasions when you want to show a friend or loved one how much you miss their company.



Purple camellias symbolize devotion, love, and admiration.

Recommended use: These flowers are the perfect gifts for occasions like engagements and anniversaries.



The less common yellow camellias are associated with unrequited love or longing. They can also be used to represent wealth and prosperity. 

Like other yellow flowers, they also often stand for friendship and uniqueness.

Recommended use: Yellow camellia flowers are the perfect gifts for friends on their birthdays or graduation.

What did camellia flowers symbolize in various historical periods?

What did camellia flowers symbolize in various historical periods

In the Victorian era, camellias symbolized elegance, refinement, wealth, and luxury. 

These flowers were frequently given to women who were deemed as high society ladies. 

Fancy flower arrangements featuring camellias became popular, and the flowers were exchanged as gifts to show admiration and respect.

What are the cultural associations of camellia flowers?

What are the cultural associations of camellia flowers
ChinaIn China, camellia flowers symbolize romantic love and devotion between a couple.

The unique characteristic of the flower falling off as a whole, not petal by petal, represents the commitment between lovers.

Regardless of color, camellias in China convey love, affection, and admiration.

Additionally, the flower is considered a symbol of feminine beauty and is often gifted to women admired for their grace and beauty.

JapanKnown as rsubaki in Japan, camellia flowers were historically associated with an honorable death for the samurai class.

Today, they are exchanged as symbols of passionate love and devotion.

Red camellias in Japan, similar to China, are preferred for this purpose, while white ones represent mourning.

Camellias are also seen as symbols of the pursuit of perfection and excellence and are gifted to those who achieve greatness.

Japanese women also use these flowers as a hair ornament and are used in traditional tea ceremonies.

KoreaIn Korea, the camellia flower is a national symbol associated with beauty, elegance, and grace.

It’s often featured in art and literature and is considered a harbinger of good luck and fortune.

United StatesIn the United States, camellia flowers are symbols of good luck and are commonly exchanged as gifts for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentine's Day.

The camellia flower is the official state flower of Alabama.

BrazilDuring Brazil's Imperial Era, the camellia became a symbol of the abolitionist movement, representing the fight against slavery.
GreeceIn Greece, camellia flowers are often used to symbolize mourning.

However, Greeks also see white camellias as symbols of innocence and purity, while red blooms convey passion and love.

These flowers are also linked to good luck and fortune.

What are the spiritual or religious meanings of camellia flowers?

What are the spiritual or religious meanings of camellia flowers
ChristianityIn Christianity, the camellia flower is closely tied to the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a symbol of hope and new beginnings.
IslamIn Islam, the camellia is seen as a symbol of paradise, purity, and perfection.

They are often given as gifts to new mothers to express appreciation and gratitude, symbolizing the divine blessing of new life.

BuddhismIn Buddhism, camellias are used as temple decorations to convey messages of freedom, new beginnings, and spiritual victory.
HinduIn Hinduism, the camellia represents serenity and peace and is frequently used in religious ceremonies and weddings.

It’s seen as a harbinger of good luck, and using this flower in these special events signifies blessings for the couple and the beginning of a prosperous journey together.

What are the uses of camellia flowers?

What are the uses of camellia flowers

Beyond their aesthetic appeal, camellias are also used in cooking, medicine, gardening, and landscaping.

How can camellia flowers be used in cooking?

How can camellia flowers be used in cooking

Camella flowers have a fruity, sweet taste with hints of peach, vanilla, and lime. Here’s how you can use them in cooking.

  1. Tea, syrup, and oil infusions: Camellia flowers can be infused into various liquids like teas, syrups, or oils for a subtle and unique floral essence that can add some complexity to the flavor of your dishes.

Extract the essence to create a floral syrup. These syrups can be drizzled over pancakes, waffles, or desserts for a delightful floral note to your sweet indulgences.

  1. Garnish: With their vibrant colors and delicate petals, camellia flowers can become exquisite edible garnishes for both sweet and savory dishes to turn ordinary meals into aesthetically pleasing culinary delights.
  1. Tea blends: Camellia flowers can be blended with other tea leaves or herbs to create aromatic and flavorful tea blends. 

Experiment with combinations to discover unique and personalized tea experiences.

  1. Candied petals: Transform camellia petals into candied treats by coating them with sugar. These sweet and visually appealing petals can be used as toppings for cakes, cupcakes, or other desserts.

Can camellia flowers be used for medicinal purposes?

Can camellia flowers be used for medicinal purposes

Yes, camellia flowers can be used in medicine. These blooms have been used to treat burns, respiratory issues, digestive ailments, and inflammation. 

Camellia essential oils are also known for their moisturizing and anti-aging benefits in skincare. They are also used in aromatherapy to enhance relaxation and overall well-being.

How can camellia flowers be used in gardening and landscaping?

How can camellia flowers be used in gardening and landscaping

Planting camellias in your landscape can add a touch of elegance and beauty to your outdoor spaces. Here are some creative ways to use them in gardening and landscaping:

  1. Hedges and borders: Camellias can be used to create attractive hedges or borders, defining the edges of your garden spaces. 

Their evergreen foliage provides year-round greenery, and when in bloom, they contribute to a lush and vibrant boundary.

  1. Containers: Planting camellias in containers allows for flexibility in positioning and rearranging. This is especially useful for those with limited space or for adding a touch of nature to patios, balconies, or porches.
  1. Diverse landscaping: Combine camellias with other plants to create diverse and harmonious landscapes. Pair them with shrubs, perennials, or ornamental grasses to create layered and textured garden beds.

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