Camellia drought stress

msb4500(7)July 11, 2012

I returned from a week long vacation to find my camellia 'Findlandia' had dropped all of its leaves due to the extreme heat and lack of rain. I watered it and we've had a little rain and cooler temps in the last couple of days. The stems are still green when you scratch the surface. Any idea if it will survive and leaf out again? I would appreciate any advice as I am a novice with camellias.

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florence_2007

If it were mine, I would cut it back, put shading over it and be sure that it gets adequate water, hope and pray.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 1:01PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I would not cut it back! Allow your plant to recover normally....if it will recover. Wait until you actually see some die -back before doing any pruning. I wouldn't try to rig up any extra shade, either.
It's very tough on evergreen plants to defoliate entirely for any reason. They don't have the same energy storage system as deciduous plants. It will take an awful toll on their carbon resourses to put on new leaves, let alone to respond to pruning.

Let's figure out why your plant had such trouble in just one week. Is this a containerized plant? If not, is it very recently planted? What else can you tell us? Where is tbe plant situated?

Camellias can take extreme heat, as long as they are in the right location, have been planted properly, and have adequate moisture. I consider Camellia to be very drought tolerant if well and properly established though in drought conditions and crazy heat they'll suffer.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 2:27PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

I susoect your shrub was already stressed out. Georgia is currently in the same shape that Texas was last Summer. The whole state is in either an extreme or exceptional drought. The shrub can dry out if placed in a location where the dry winds can steal moisture thru the leaves. I planted in the ground, I would advise to water with a hose at least once a week in addition to regular waterings and make sure you maintain lots of mulch (3-4" would be fine) up to the drip line. I would not take any pruning action until the plant leafs out in Spring 2013 and I would not fertilize it again until Spring 2013.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 9:27PM
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msb4500(7)

Thanks for all of your responses. Here is the background info: My camellia was planted in December 2011 under a couple of mature sweet gum trees on the north side of my property. It receives a couple of hours of filtered morning sun and it is in dense shade the rest of the day. It is also mulched well with pine straw. I have 6 different varieties of camellias in my woodland area but the 'Finlandia' is the only one that reacted so dramatically to the 100 + temperatures we experienced last week. I watered all of my plants fairly well before I left town, but at the time I had no idea Georgia was about to be hit with a terrible heat wave coupled with no rain. I'm sure the nearby trees took any moisture away from the camellia, although I don't know why the other camellias didn't react the same way. I plan to keep it watered (trying not to overwater it) and hope it will leaf out again.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 10:55PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Keep us informed, if you remember. There's going to be a lot of recovery stories in the coming months.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 8:12AM
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florence_2007

Sorry, I only gave info to you that has worked time and again for me and others. I'm only an amateur, but what works, works. I won't relay info again. Thanks

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 8:24AM
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msb4500(7)

Despite my best effort to revive my camellia 'Finlandia' it never recovered.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:19PM
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msb4500(7)

Despite my best effort to revive my camellia 'Finlandia' it never recovered.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:22PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Sorry to hear about that. The drought has been quite bad. I have one shrub in life support too while another one about 20' away is doing fine. And both get water from an automatic system. Was your sprinkler off while on vacation?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 8:58PM
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