Camellia dying - please help

hockkeahJanuary 23, 2005

Bought from a nusery 2 weeks ago. After transplanting to a bigger pot, leaves from all branches start to turn brownish black & drying up despite ensuring that the soil is wet. Flowers also drying up. Any advice most appreciated. Thank you.

Hopefully the pic can ve viewed from one of the two following links.

Here is a link that might be useful: Susan's Garden

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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

What kind of soil is it planted in? Can you take it out and check the roots? It almost looks like some kind of root rot that is causing the leaves to curl and brown. The soil doesn't need to stay wet, especially in a pot, and the soil should have good drainage.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2005 at 10:01AM
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Thank you for responding. I am using a soil mixture obtained at our local nursery, the same type of soil I used for all my potted plants. It has good drainage and contains coconut fibres.
I took the plant out and took some photos for your perusal & advice. I noticed that the orginal soil is clayed.
Thanks again.

Here is a link that might be useful: Camellia Dying

    Bookmark   January 24, 2005 at 11:34AM
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Those roots do look rather bad. It is possible that the clay soil that is there simply held too much moisture and the roots rotted. I don't think you would have much to lose if you knocked that clay off and repotted it. On the other hand, Camellias do not like the roots exposed to air, so it's a toss up as to what is going to be worse for the plant.
I wish I could be more helpful, but I think the damage is done. Only time will tell if it will get better.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2005 at 2:59PM
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Thanks PB. Will do as you suggested & hope there's a good tale to tell.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2005 at 10:37PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

If you can break up that clay root ball and repot it, it might be able to recover okay. You will probably loose some more of the leaves (remove the brown and dying ones and cut the flower), but hopefully it will resprout along the stem and branches as it grows new feeder roots. You can mix some sand and fine gravel into the potting soil to help make a looser fluffy soil for the roots.

Wish you luck with your baby!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 8:54AM
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Looks like it got too much sun.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 6:31PM
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PB & Jenny: Had "operated" on my plant today as suggested as nothing to loose.
Ron - Initially I thought of this too but then since tranpslanted to a bigger pot, it is sited in the car porch away from direct sun.
Forgot to cut off the flowers. Will do it after a few days' observation.
Will post a pic weekly till it live again or die doing so.
Thank you to all for caring. Most appreciated.

Here is a link that might be useful: Camellia Revival

    Bookmark   January 26, 2005 at 9:08AM
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Don't expect to see a change for a while. It may lose the remaining leaves before it starts budding out. Be patient for a few months.

Those roots look pretty good without that clay. I think there's hope. If it does well, you are going to have to put it in a bigger pot in a couple of years. Remember that it needs good drainage.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2005 at 9:25AM
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After week 1, fresh leaves appeared.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 5:23AM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Hey that's great! Looks like it's on its way! :-D

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 4:58PM
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After 3 weeks, young leaves died. Wonder what happened? Plant still has some green buds. Will have to wait & see.

Here is a link that might be useful: Camellia dying

    Bookmark   February 24, 2005 at 2:10AM
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It's hard to say. As long as those green buds are still there, I would have hope. The roots are probably still adjusting to the new pot,soil,etc. It's the season for new growth to begin for most camellias, but the late blooming ones still have about a month to go before they start new growth.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2005 at 9:49AM
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My neighbour has 15 Camellias down her drive way at least 3 have died and the others are looking dry, leaves dropping, and branches looking old and bare.This is the second lot of camellias that she has planted and the last lot all died.They are on a west wall and face east, there doesnt seem to be any bugs, we thought it was lack of water, although after increasing water no change still. Can we feed them something, or cut back? some of them are flowering at the moment. I am not sure if soil is alkaline or acidic. Can you help us

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 8:32AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Hello, jenni reany. Camellias like well draining, moist, acidic soil and protection from the strong afternoon summer (so morning sun, afternoon shade is ok; dappled sun is ok too.

I wonder if your soil is going thru periods of wet and moist and causing problems. Start by doing a soil analysis to determine how acidic it is and if it has any mineral defficiencies. Plant nurseries sell soil pH kits to tell you how acidic (or not) your soil is. If the nurseries are nearby, they could simply tell you if the soil is alkaline or acidic. If alkaline, amend it with garden Sulphur, green sand, iron sulphate, iron-chelated liquid compounds sold at plant nurseries, etc.

An easy way to tell if the soil is alkaline is to monitor the leaves. If the plant is in an area that is too alkaline, the leaves will turn a light green or yellowish color but the leaf veins will remain dark green. This is called iron chlorosis. It occurs when the shrub cannot absorb iron from the soil because the soil has become too alkaline. Amending the soil as described above will correct this within a few weeks. You may need to reapply once or twice more but remember to make a habit to do it yearly in spring and again as needed.

Then start a watering program with the finger method. Begin by inserting a finger into the nearby soil to a depth of 4 inches (10cm) daily for 1 or 2 weeks. Determine if the soils feels dry, moist or wet. If it feels dry or almost dry, water the soil early in the morning. Then make a note that you watered on a wall calendar. After two weeks, observe how often you had to water. Set your sprinkler to water on that same frequency (once every 2/3/4 days). If your temperatures change a lot with the passage of time, monitor the water usage for another two weeks with the finger method and tweak things as necessary.

Maintain 3-4" (7.5-10cm) of mulch year around to reduce of your waterings and protect against windy locations. They can be fertilized using compost, composted manure or cottonseed meal or you can use a chemical general-purpose slow-release fertilizer with an approximate NPK Ratio of 10-10-10. In the southern part of the US, I fertilize in early March, early May and early July. That probably translates to September, November and January for you.

The last thing I was going to mention is hard to test for. It has to do with circling roots. When the plants were planted, any roots that were growing in a circle around the pot needed to be pruned by making vertical cuts every 2 inches (5 cm) to prevent them from continuing growth in that circling fashion. Unfortunately, this is hard to test for after the plants have been in the ground for a while. At some point after being planted, the circling roots absorb all the minerals from the potting mix and then have health problems afterwards.

Does that help you?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 1:10PM
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