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camellia leaf drop

Posted by marymccauley z7MD (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 12, 06 at 18:42


I'm new to camellia growing, and have a C. Oleifera "Winter's Beauty" in my zone 7 garden. It is blooming like crazy, but many of the stems are nearly bare, especially near the ground. The shrub is in a bed facing southeast, but is protected by a 3-story wall on one side, and a 2-foot wall on a second side. The site gets bright, dappled shade from May through November, but in the fall, when the leaves drop from the maples overhead, it is in full sun for the remaining six months of fall and winter. I noticed last November that the sudden change in light exposure didn't sit well with the plant, even though the days were shorter. Sone upper leaves became brown and scorched-looking.

It has been getting enough water. We had a dry spell in March, but I watered thoroughly twice. I also fertilize biannually with Holly Tone, in November and March.

When I bought the shrub, it was espaliered, but when I planted it in my own garden, I freed it to grow more naturally. Don't know if this would effect the leaves.

Will it refoliate? I see some new growth at the ends of stems, but not, at present, lower down.

Do I dare prune it after it stops blooming? If so, how? It is about five feet tall and is a very slow grower, so I hate to cut any growth away if it will leaf out on its own.


Mary McCauley

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: camellia leaf drop

My sasanquas/japonicas suffered last Summer AND Fall from a severe drought too. The ends of the stems are refoliating and certain areas in the lower stems are also refoliating too. They say that your oleifera shares many things with sasanquas so I am going to hope yours do too. Be aware that refoliating happened here in late March.

As for pruning, I would do major pruning during the winter and early spring. Nowadays, I would only tweak things here and there instead.


RE: camellia leaf drop

I have two unknown varieties of japonica(20+ years old) in my front garden/southern exposure. This is the first year I can recall seeing SOOoo many leaves bronze and drop, and the flowers were slightly blighted as well. I've sprayed w/insecticidal soap and a natural fungicide, but the drop continues. I fertilize w/HollyTone twice a year. I mulch. I've aerated the base with spikes. There are now bare branches, mostly down low, where only months ago they were full and lush. Otherwise, I see lots of new growth, but only on the terminus... the "bald" areas are now basically deadwood which I'll prune out. I'm in NYC outskirts... think zone 7?

Any input is appreciated!

RE: camellia leaf drop

pieper - You all had alot of snow this past year and sometimes it takes awhile for the damage to finally assert itself! And especially with them facing south, any snow would have reflected the strong south sun right up against them, potentially causing alot of winter burn - and moreso because of the generally mild winter and freeze/thaw. I would just leave them be. They have been around for a long time and have seen some of the best that NY can offer in terms of weather! LOL They will most likely recover if you don't overly baby them and try to cure them of something that might not be the problem. One of my sisters has one twice the age of yours and she used to worry too but then just opted to make sure it was mulched, fertilized, and watered. And even when it looked worse for the wear, it has bloomed beautifully every year and yearly makes alot of new growth inside.

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