Camellias are beautiful plants, especially this time of year in Baton Rouge. These plants are evergreen - meaning they keep their leaves all year long. They also bloom in the winter to give your landscaping some much needed color in the coldest months of the year. They are mostly hardy, but do have some problems that can arise.
Petal blight affects camellia’s flowers. This makes the flowers develop small brown spots that spread quickly. This happens when there is too much moisture and makes the conditions right for a fungus to attack the petals. You should pull off and get rid of the affected flowers. Also treat the camellia with a fungicide every couple of weeks until the wet conditions change.
Another common issue is leaf gall, also called Oedema, is also a fungus that occurs in overly moist conditions. Leafs become swollen and thicker with small off-white galls on the bottom. These tend to turn to rusty-brown colors. Remove the affected leaves and dispose. Treat with a fungicide and reduce watering. This can also occur when there is poor air flow around the camellia.
A sudden wilted branches paired with gray colored blotches is a sign of canker disease. The bark will appear split and begin showing light pink cankers. Branch ends will start dying. Surgically remove the infected branches. Cut about 3 inches below the nearest sight of infection when removing branches. Too much is better than too little. Cankers often occur in camellias that were planted in soil that does not drain well.
Another symptom of poor draining soil is root rot. This is a fungal disease that results in yellowing leafs, insufficient growth, wilting leaves that fall off and the death of the plant. Camellia roots are supposed to be white if they are healthy. This leads to brown roots. Overly wet soil rots the roots away and the plant cannot get what it needs from the soil.
Tiny insects that attach to the bottom of leaves. They look like webbing on small clouds. These are scale bugs and cause plants to yellow and reduce the number of blooms. In severe cases, this can cause your camellia to die. Hand removal does not really work. Horticultural oil works wonders on these pests. A systemic insecticide also works well if you treat these plants with it and they also work for an extended period of time.
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