The Q&A Archives: camilla problem

Question: Your expert answers to my gardening questions this Spring have been a great help--I thank you and my plants thank you! Here's another.....I have many camillias , different colors, all about 2 years old. Being from the North, I know little about them. Several of them have lost their deep green color. Leaves are a kind of sickly greenish yellow. I know that it's normal for some of the older leaves to yellow and fall off, but this off-color seems to be throughout the plant, except for the new Spring growth, which is just coming out. This is happening mostly with the japonicas, but some of the susanquas have poor color too. The shrubs bloomed normally, and I've used both fertilizer and ironite. They receive ample water. Could it be a fungus or insects--I see no insects at the moment. What can I do to help them out? Thanks!

Answer: Pale, off-color leaves are almost always a sign of poor nutrition so feeding with a product especially formulated for acid-loving camellias, one that contains iron, should help your plant green up. It takes a while for the minerals to be taken up by the roots so if you only recently fed your camellias, that would explain why the leaves have not greened up. Insect feeding typically leaves a mottled appearance on the foliage. If the leaves are evenly colored, insects are probably not the cause. I'd give the plants a little more time to react to the fertilizer. You can feed as frequently as recommended on the fertilizer label, but don't feed more often or in larger quantities or you'll risk burning the roots of your plant. I think they'll green up later this season. Enjoy your lovely plants!

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