Is this camellia flower blight, or just too much rain?

lceh(7)March 29, 2009

I have an "April Dawn" camellia that has had a hard life so far in my garden. I bought it late last fall, and didn't get it planted until December(!). When I did plant it, I put it in a spot that turned out to be too exposed, and it got a touch of winter burn on the leaves. Early this spring I apologized and moved it to a much more suitable location. The many buds started to open, and then it started to rain -- and rain -- and rain. Now many of the open flowers are brown in the very center of the bloom, and dropping of the bush. At first I thought it was simply too much rain getting inside the blooms and getting trapped in the center of the flower, causing it to rot. Now I wonder if it might be the dreaded camellia flower blight. Will this spread to my other camellias? Is it hard to treat? I'm half tempted to dig it up and just plant another one, since it's barely established anyway. My other camellias are gorgeous and I'd be heartsick if this one made them sick....

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Look up camellia petal blight to find out what markers there are, like spots to indicate it is that problem in particular.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 9:02PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

You wrote " flowers are brown in the very center of the bloom, and dropping of the bush...."

Sounds much like it. The camellia flower blight starts in the center of the flower or in the center of petals.

Take a sample, secured in a clear container, to a knowledgeable source, perhaps your county's Extension Service office or a large independent garden center.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 11:36PM
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We are in an ideal climate for petal blight which is caused by the fungus glomerela cingulata. It appears as brown spots and blotches over the entire flower usually in late winter-early spring.

We have noticed a similar problem starting with the center of the flower but looks different from the traditional petal blight. Could be the same thing, but I'd take the advice of jean001 and have it tested to know for sure.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 7:21AM
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I did a fair amount of looking around online before posting and couldn't quite figure out if my bloom browning/rotting had a similar pattern or not -- there is so much emphasis on the "netted" pattern of the browning of the petals, which mine don't seem to have, just brown mushiness in the very center, although maybe the disease just hadn't progressed far enough yet. Given how new it was (and the fact that it was a freebie, long story), I finally decided to just get rid of it rather than spending $$ on fungicides that might or might not help, and risking the 2 healthy established camellias I do have. I scooped up every dropped bloom, petal, leaf, and bud, as well as the leaf mulch beneath the bush and the top 1" or so of soil, and put it all -- and the plant -- in the trash can. I hope I've managed to stop the spores from becoming established in my garden....

Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 6:46PM
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