What is wrong with my camelia and what can I do about it?

Asked May 15, 2020, 12:05 PM EDT

Autumn blooming camelia was planted 20 years and has been fine until a few months ago. It is about 10 feet tall. The leaves turned yellow and there are many dead branches. Some leaves have small black specks on them. But there are some new leaves. The 2 adjacent camelias, planted at the same time, are fine.

Montgomery County Maryland

3 Responses

Exactly when the plant started to decline would be a big clue in determining the problem. In 2018 and into 2019 we had abnormally high rainfall. Then last summer and fall we had a bad drought. This plant appears to have cement on three sides which is going to impact its root zone. Also, some bare soil underneath it suggests soil may have been added over the root zone? These could all be contributing factors in decline.

We do not see any particular insect or disease issue. (The black spots are probably a fungus taking advantage of dying leaves, not causing the dying leaves.)

Keep an eye out for scale insects under leaves or on bark. Water during drought. (Assuming a lot of salt did not wash off the parking area.) If the roots are healthy, it should pull itself out of this.


Thank you so much, Ellen. What a wonderful gift the Extension Service is!