9 Plants That Look Like Camellia

Camellia is a dense shrub with large, brilliant flowers. Camellias grow between 6 and 12 feet tall. They have dark green, oval-shaped leaves with a distinct center vein. The leaves are glossy and smooth. Camellias come in many colors, including white, shades of pink, and red. Camellias have large, rose-like flowers.

Although camellias are generally easy to identify, many other plants look like camellias. Most of these plants have flowers that look like camellias, including:

  • Japanese stewartia – white flowers of a similar size as camellias
  • Lisianthus – purple flowers with a similar shape to camellias
  • Mock orange – white flowers that look like camellias
  • Ranunculus – bright orange flowers with a similar shape and size as camellias
  • Azaleas – tinier pink flowers that look like camellias
  • Snowball rose – white flowers with the same shape as camellias
  • California Sweet Shrub – large flowers with a similar shape as camellias
  • Gardenia – white flowers with the same shape as a camellia
  • Double Impatiens – pink flowers with the same shape and size as a camellia

Camellias may be striking flowers, but some of these flowers look remarkably similar to camellias. Some of them are also easier to grow. Therefore, they may be a better choice based on your needs. So, let’s consider how these 9 plants are similar to and different from camellias.

1. Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia)

Stewartia pseudocamellia
Sen Itto Stewartia pseudocamellia

The Japanese stewartia is a tree with flowers remarkably similar to camellias. As the name suggests, Japanese stewartias are native to Japan and Korea. Japanese stewartia trees grow up to 40 feet tall, making them much bigger than the average camellia shrub.

However, like the camellia, Japanese stewartias produce large, white blossoms in spring and fall. These flowers are approximately the same size as a camellia flower. When the flowers open fully, their long, prominent yellow stamens set them apart from camellias.

However, while the flowers are still closed, they have a similar layered effect as a camellia flower, so people sometimes mistake Japanese stewartias for camellias.

2. Lisianthus (Eustoma Grandiflorum)

Vernon Hyde Lisianthus

Lisianthus flowers are also often mistaken for camellias, especially when you have a white Lisianthus plant. These shrubs grow between 6 and 40 inches tall, making them much smaller than the average camellia shrub. The flowers come in many different colors, including white, purple, and pink.

You may also see bi-colored camellia flowers with brightly colored tips. The shape of the flowers is what reminds one most of a camellia. Lisianthus flowers have the same layered petals and cup-shaped flowers.

Although you can see their stamens once fully open, Lisianthus flowers are easily mistaken for camellias. The leaves of a Lisianthus plant also have the same shape, color, and texture as a camellia plant, making it even more difficult to tell these two apart.

3. Mock Orange (Philadelphus coronarius)

Mock orange
Kaarina Dillabough Mock orange

Mock oranges are another example of plants that resemble camellias. This shrub can grow up to 20 feet tall and has similar-looking leaves to a camellia. It is challenging to tell a mock orange from a camellia when young, especially in bloom.

Like the camellia, mock oranges bloom in the summer and early fall. They produce crisp white flowers with a sweet fragrance. Although mock orange flowers are smaller than camellias, they resemble these flowers while still closed.

When mock orange flowers open, their orange stamen and pointed leaves make it easier to tell them apart from camellia shrubs.

4. Ranunculus (Ranunculus Spp.)

Amy the Nurse Ranunculus

The ranunculus is another prime example of a shrub with flowers that look precisely like camellias. Also known as Japanese buttercups, ranunculus shrubs grow 1 to 2 feet tall and produce large, layered flowers that look exactly like camellias.

Ranunculus flowers come in many colors, including white, orange, and pink. When fully open, you can partly see the stamen and inside of the flower. However, before this, a ranunculus flower is nearly impossible to distinguish from a camellia since they have the same shape and size.

The foliage of a ranunculus is one way to tell these plants apart. Unlike a camellia, the ranunculus has paler green, lobed leaves with serrated edges. The leaves aren’t as smooth or glossy as camellia leaves.

5. Azaleas (Rhododendron)

Yay Rhododendron

Azalea shrubs also resemble camellias to some extent. They grow 4 to 6 feet tall and produce brightly colored, multi-layered flowers easily mistakable for camellias. Azalea flowers come in many colors, such as white, pink, and purple.

Like some of the other flowers we have mentioned, azaleas have a visible stamen once the flowers open fully. However, since the stamen is the same color as the flower, it doesn’t stand out as much as others. This makes it easier to look past the stamen and mistake an azalea for a camellia.

Azaleas bloom slightly earlier than camellias, and you will see the most flowers early in spring. The foliage of an azalea also reminds one of a camellia.

Related: 8 Plants similar to Rhododendron

6. Snowball Rose (Rosa)

Snow ball tree
Abrahami Snow ball tree

Of course, we cannot discuss camellia lookalikes without mentioning one of the most recognizable plants on earth – the rose. Snowball roses (part of the heirloom rose category) are shrubs that grow up to 12 feet tall. These shrubs produce beautiful snow-colored flowers that look exactly like camellia blooms.

Snowball roses have a similar shape and size as camellias. And, just like camellias, snowball roses never open up fully to reveal the inside of the flower. Although the snowball shrub grows slightly bigger than a camellia shrub, the foliage resembles camellia.

Related: 6 Plants That Look Like Snowballs

7. California Sweet Shrub (Calycanthus occidentalis)

Calycanthus occidentalis
chuck b. Calycanthus occidentalis

While the California sweet shrub is a beauty in its own right, it does have some qualities that remind one of a camellia shrub. These shrubs grow up to 9 feet tall and produce spectacular blooms in spring and summer.

Unlike camellias, California sweet shrubs produce maroon flowers with waxy, long petals. However, the shape and structure of these flowers remind one of a camellia. California sweet shrubs have large, waxy leaves much lighter than camellias.

And although this plant doesn’t look exactly like a camellia shrub, it is hardier than a camellia. This makes it ideal for growing in conditions where camellias would not survive.

8. Gardenia (Gardenia Spp.)

credit… Gardenia

Gardenias are another example of plants that look like camellias. Some gardenia varieties have double flowers that look nearly identical to camellia flowers. Most gardenias produce white flowers, making distinguishing them from camellias even more challenging.

When gardenia flowers are fully open, their yellow stamens become visible. This is one way to tell them apart from camellias. Gardenias grow about 4.5 feet tall. They have dark green, glossy leaves that also look similar to camellia flowers.

Gardenias are an excellent alternative to camellias since the flowers look similar and the plant provides the same aesthetic.

9. Double Impatiens (Impatiens Spp.)

Double Impatiens
Maureen Reilly Double Impatiens

Of all the impatiens varieties, double impatiens reminds one most of Camellias. Double impatiens grow up to 3 feet tall and produce striking, large flowers in shades of white and pink. The white flowers have a similar shape and size as camellia flowers, which makes it easy to mistake them for each other.

Related: 8 Plants That Look Like Impatiens

The foliage of a double impatiens also reminds one of a camellia. The dark green, glossy leaves look like those of camellia shrubs. However, double impatiens leaves are slightly more rounded than camellia shrubs. Because these shrubs tend to be smaller than camelias, they are often a better alternative if you have limited space.