Camellia--Dropping Leaves and Flowerbuds - Knowledgebase Question

Marietta, Ge
Question by robandkelly
December 12, 2009
I have 2 tree form camellias in urns on our front steps. They have both dropped a majority of their leaves and flower buds. What can I do?

Kelly Thomas; Marietta, GA


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Answer from NGA
December 12, 2009

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Camellias are broadleaf evergreen shrubs but they do drop their oldest (innermost and lowest) leaves at this time of year. The newer leaves towards the ends of the branches should remain on the plant. If only the oldest leaves are dropping, it's nothing to worry about. If the newer leaves are dropping as well, it could indicate the reaction to a sudden cold snap or to overwatering.

Camellia's have a reputation for setting more buds than they can open, so bud dropping may be a natural phenomenon, especially if your plant is otherwise healthy and growing well. But, bud drop can be caused by overwatering in the cool months, or underwatering in the summer. Bud drop can also be caused by spells of very low humidity. Monitor your plant for signs of ill-health, and after flower buds form this summer, thin clusters at branch tips to one or two fat flower buds, leaving the slender leaf buds alone. The remaining buds should open into beautiful, large flowers.

Hope this information helps you determine just what might be going on with your camellias.

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