Why Are My Camellias Looking Unhealthy?

Filed Under: Temperature & Hardiness Zones, Landscaping · Keywords: Camellia, Look Bad, Unhealthy, Not Well · 3184 Views
I just discovered the six Yuletide Camellia Sasanque that I bought locally and planted last year, do best in zones 8A - 10B. BUT, I live in zone 7B.
Is this why half of them aren't doing so well?
Or maybe, they're feet are staying too wet?
They're planted right up next to the front of the house.
Should I just move them to a less wet location?

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Answer #1 · Gardenality.com's Answer · Hi Laura,

If the low temperatures this past winter didn't hit 14 degrees or below 14 the Yuletide Camellias shouldn't have suffered from the winter. It would be more likely that they could be getting too much water. Or maybe they were planted wrong. If the top of the rootball was planted below ground level or if there was soil placed on top of the rootball it could be holding too much water at the root zone. This would eventually cause root rot. Once root rot has set in the damage will show up in the foliage first. Browning at the outer tips of the leaves. Yellowing foliage. Drooping foliage. Leaf spot.

If the Camellia was planted too deep simply dig it up, add soil to raise the rootball and then replant. If the rootball is at or slightly above ground level but has soil on top of the rootball simply remove the soil and replace with mulch or pinestraw.

Be careful to avoid over watering as well. Check the soil each time prior to watering to see if the soil is moist. Dig down with a finger or small tool about 6 inches when checking for soil moisture. It's best to water heavily soaking the rootball to the bottom. Then give watering a break until the soil feels dry. The frequency of watering depends on heat, higher winds, rapid growth of new branches and foliage, and runoff. The more a plant is growing the more water it will absorb.

Another common problem with Camellias is dieback. A disease that plagues both nurseries and home growers of the camellia is popularly called dieback or canker. The technical name for the fungal disease is anthracnose. Varieties of anthracnose fungi strike numerous trees, shrubs and flowers. The anthracnose that strikes camellia is the fungus Glomerella cingulata. Dieback causes a canker/knot in the stem or branch of the Camellia. The branch or stem will die back from the outer tip back to the canker. Dieback can spread from one branch to the other. When water hits the infected branch it spreads the dieback to other branches. Over several months time or up to 2 years time the plant can be totally damaged or at least substantially damaged.

Here's the symptoms of dieback- The normally shiny, deep-green leaves of the camellia turn dull or yellow on diseased shoots. The foliage wilts and turns reddish brown. The dead, twisted leaves remain attached to dead shoots or branches. Lens-shaped cankers form around the base of dead shoots or on the edges of pruning wounds. The cankers enlarge, eventually encircling root collars and the base of the main limbs. The black fruiting bodies of the fungus, the size of a pinhead, appear in a circular pattern on the cankers. Diseased shoots gradually die until the entire plant is dead.

There is no remedy for dieback other than pruning. If you have random branches that appear to have this condition then it would be advisable to prune out the branches that are affected. Prune off each branch at about 4-6 inches below where the dieback starts. The cuts should be made on green wood. It's best to dip your pruner blades in a alcohol solution between each cut so as to keep the blades free of the fungal disease. The alcohol (70% isopropyl) should be mixed 1 part alcohol to 1 part water.

If you want to upload a picture I may be able to diagnose your problem further.

Hope this helps you!

Brooks Wilson:))

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