The Q&A Archives: Leaf-tip dieback

Question: I have 5 camellias in a planter next to the garage. Easterly exposure, 3ft eaves. I am having problems with leaves dropping and the plants becoming woody. The plants seem to have a lot fewer leaves than a healthly plant. Many leaves are becoming hard and light green/yellow/brown - some are remaining dark green, but the tips are dying. Can't say that the bad leaves are more on bottom or top - seem to be scattered throughout. Many of the leaves are smaller 50 -75% of others. Thoughts?

Answer: Camellias prefer to grow in rich, moist, slightly acidic soils. If your soil is too alkaline, essential nutrients can be tied up and unavailable to plants. I'd have the soil pH checked, prune the plants back by about one-third to stimulate healthy new growth, feed with an acidified camellia fertilizer and water as often as necessary all year around to keep the soil moist but not soggy wet. I think you'll see an almost immediate change in your shrubs.

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