Leaves turning brown and curling up.

newgen(9 Central California)April 6, 2010

I bought a 5-gallon camellia from Home Depot, it has white flowers. I forgot the exact cultivar name. Repotted it, placed under patio, no direct sunlight, but plenty of indirect light, though. I check the soil moisture with one of those 2-prong gauge, sticking it all the way down as far as the gauge can go, which is about 10", and it shows to have enough water. However, the soil feels dry to my fingers. Do camellias like the soil to be damp? Most of the leaves turned kinda darkish green/brown and curl up, several have fallen off, flower buds also turned brown with the white petals not opening up. By contrast, the 3 other camellias that I planted in the ground are doing great.

Thanks,

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

It needs more moisture. Camellias like contant moisture, not dry nor wet. Many of the roots are in the top few inches so you want to feel moisture at depth of 4" or so, not at 10".

Insert a finger to a depth of 4" and see how it feels. If it feels wet, take no action. If it feels moist, do the same. If it feels dry or almost dry then water. Put about 3-4" of mulch and keep the pot away from windy areas. Test with the finger method daily for about two weeks. Every time that you water, make a note on a wall calendar. After two weeks, observe how often you are watering (every 2/3/4/etc days). Then make a habit to water on that same frequency. If the temps change more than 10 degrees and stay there, use the finger method again. Lack of moisture will cause the plant to drop the flower buds.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 11:32PM
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newgen(9 Central California)

Great info, thanks Luis! I will do that and hopefully it'll recover. The 3 in ground camellias are indeed in moist soil, this one is potted and dry.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 1:59AM
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