Sick camelia yuletide?

Asked April 26, 2020, 7:06 PM EDT

Hi- I’m looking for suggestions of what is wrong with my camelia Yuletide. They have been really healthy and lush until about 2 yrs ago. Then some leaves started yellowing and dropped. I thought it was sun scorch from under-watering it in the heat. However it is happening again. I’ll attach some pictures. Any ideas on cause and remedies??

Multnomah County Oregon

2 Responses

Thank you for choosing Ask an Expert for help with your camellia. From what I can see in the photo there are some leaves that are quite dark green and others more yellowing. I believe that this is a nutrient issue.

Just after flowering is a great time to fertilize camellias, with a food for acid-loving plants. The package will list azaleas, camellias, rhododendron, evergreens, etc. Apply the plant food as the box or bag recommends now and again in about a month (check the package).

If you have been fertilizing the plant regularly, it may be that the soil acidity (pH) has gotten out of line. An inexpensive soil test from a garden center or nursery will give you some information on this.

Past hot summers have been hard on many of our garden plants. Many that have not needed water in the past, need it now. Be sure to check your shrub during July and August to ensure it gets enough water. Camellias also prefer to have some shade from afternoon sun. If a tree or other afternoon shade has recently been removed, it could be a contributing factor.

For a short article on general care of camellias, see here: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/news/spruce-older-camellias-late-spring-trim

Have a good gardening year,

Thank you so much!!