The Q&A Archives: Camellias

Question: The leaves on one of my camellias are turning yellow. Why is that? Could you also tell me how to take care of them?

Answer: Camellias are broad-leaved evergreens and it's not unusual for them to lose some of the older leaves each year. If the yellowing leaves are scattered throughout the shrub, it's a normal occurance. If, however, all the leaves are yellowing, I'd be concerned about soil moisture and fertility.

All camellias require humus-rich, acid soil, light to medium shade, good drainage, and protection from the wind. (The deeper the shade, the fewer the blossoms.) Camellias are shallow-rooted, so water during the growing season (one-inch per week, thoroughly soaking the rootmass). Mulch the soil under the plant to help retain moisture and to suppress weed growth.

Have your soil tested to make sure it falls in the slightly acidic range (6.0 to 6.5 pH), and supply adequate water to your camellia during spring, summer and fall months.

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