The Q&A Archives: Camellias

Question: I would like a variety of camellia that grows only to 5 or 6 feet and is resistant to petal blight -- any suggestions??

Answer: The potential for most camellia's is about 20 feet, but you may be satisifed with one of the hybrids that's a slow grower. Try 'Coral Delight' or 'Freedom Bell'. As a rule, camellia's are relatively disease-resistant. What you're calling petal blight might be 'sooty-mold', a common affliction of camellias in the Pacific Northwest. When scale insects attack the stems and branches of the plants, they suck out the juices and excrete a sticky, honeydew-type material. The sugar content of this honeydew is high enough to support a bacterial growth which appears to turn portions of the leaves black. Since this material is on the surface of the leaves, it's easy to wash off. You can avoid the problem by inspecting your camellias and squishing any scale insects you find.

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