Yellow camellia leaves

socksMarch 23, 2008

We have 2 largish camellias on the east side of the house. They were planted about 2 years ago and have never looked good. The leaves are very yellow. The nurseryman suggested Ironite, which I applied about 2 weeks ago, so it's a little early to know if it helped. They are in direct sun for about half the day, and I'm wondering if that's the problem. Any ideas?

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Yes, I would say that that they are getting sun bleached. Here in Texas, I selected planting locations where the canopy of Crape Myrtles provides shade by 10-11am due to the intensity of the summer sun. A good way to diagnose this is by observing the leaves veins and by comparing the leaves that the sun hits against the leaves further inside the bush. The leaf veins in your photos are yellowing out. And the leaves further inside the bush look deep green while the ones who bear the brunt of sunlight look completely yellowed out (including the veins' area).

This problem can be normal for some folks during winter because the canopy of deciduous trees may not be there to provide shade. It is also normal on newly planted camellias. In both of those two cases, it will pass. However, you do not want this condition to go on for a long time as some leaf-spotting fungi can infect the sun-bleached leaves.

Lack of iron is a very common problem but definitely not what you have. Observe the leaves in your photos again. If you had iron chlorosis, the veins in the leaves would be a deep dark green while the rest of the leaf would be yellowed out.

While you are at it, check the soil with a soil test. These should be done about every few (2-3) years but I personally do them about every 3-5 years. This would be a way to double check that there is no lack of certain minerals in your soil. Sort of a safety check. Your state's Agriculture Extension Office and local nurseries can assist with this.

Luis

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 5:00AM
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socks

Thanks, Luis. I'll check inside the bush and on the backs to see if the leaves are green there. Also will take a cutting and take it to my nursery.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 7:39PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

This link takes you to a picture that shows iron chlorosis, courtesy of the University of Michigan. The plant is not a camellia but the picture should give you an idea of what to look for. Observe that the veins remain dark green while the rest of the leaf has yellowed out. Notice how the veins leave an outline of the leaf area where they naturally grow in.

When camellia leaves yellow out, including the veins, that suggests problems such as a mineral deficiency or too much sun. In the case of too much sun, the chlorophyll is being "baked" or killed, something that makes the leaf loose the color green all over.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 8:00PM
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maperr_verizon_net

I have the exact same problem, including the pattern of spotting. But, the spotting is also on the inner leaves and the other side of the bush which is always in the shade. Could there be another possible cause of this problem?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 9:51PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Hello, Michele. Here are other causes.

New leaves can temporarily bronze in this manner during early Spring if the tree that shades them has lost the leaves during winter.

Spider Mites can also cause bronzing but you should be able to detect the mites.

Too much water can cause temporary discoloration and yellowing (but more yellow that the bronzed color in the above photos). Camellia tea scale and viruses can also cause yellowing/variegation.

Have you had a recent soil test done to detect any mineral defficiencies?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 2:20AM
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