Spots on camellia leaves

Asked March 30, 2020, 3:44 PM EDT

We have a hedge of camellia bushes and a couple of the plants developed these spots on the leaves. What is it and what can we do to fix it? Thanks so much!

District of Columbia County District of Columbia

6 Responses

There could be several causes of the yellowing and spotting. To help us narrow-down possibilities, can you send us photos of the entire plant (and where it is growing) and close-ups of any other symptomatic leaves?

If these leaves are lower, interior leaves, they are older and may simply be shedding due to old age. (Evergreen leaves live for several years, but eventually die as new growth continues. Spring is typically the time for evergreen leaf shed.)

The brown spots along the center of this leaf might indicate scale, a kind of sap-sucking insect. This time of year, most scale might be found along the stems and twigs; you can check for the inconspicuous juveniles, which look a bit like oyster shells, as adults with their more obvious white waxy coverings will not be mature until late spring.


Hi Miri,

Thanks for getting back to us so quickly. I am hoping this is just leaves dying. The Camelias were planted last spring, so they've just survived their first winter. There is a row of 10 of them. I would say at least half of the plants are showing the spotted/yellow leaves, mostly lower, interior.

Not all of the leaves have the brown in them - I inspected a bunch of the dead leaves and only notice potential bugs on one leaf - two small brown spots that I could move with my finger.

I've attached a few pictures. Half of the bushes are shaded under a large magnolia tree, the other half are mostly in an open area with more sun.

Let me know if you need any other info.

Thanks again - I hope you are all staying healthy!


We shared your photos with our specialists and they are not concerned about diseases or insects. It just looks like old foliage, which will eventually drop and be covered by new growth this season. The newest leaves look great.
Given that these shrubs are still establishing, be sure to keep them watered if we go into a period of drought this year, or supplement if we don't get about an inch of rain a week. (You can put out a tuna can to measure).
It's a lovely hedge.


Thank you so much for your help - this is great news! We will be sure to keep them watered as needed this year. Much appreciated!

Stay healthy!