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Camellia disease - please help!

May 20, 2018


I have had a Camellia japonica “Lady Campbell” for about a year now.


When I acquired it, it was in a bad state, with lots of half-dead growth and more dying off in the first few weeks. I repotted it and pruned it back, and it seems to have recovered well since then.

Current growth:

It’s grown well this spring, but over the last week has developed brown spots on some leaves. I keep it in a bright, shady spot on my terrace and will bring it inside when temps get down below freezing.


If anyone could give advice on how to best look after my camellia, to keep it healthy and some day to flower, that would be great.

Also, if you recognize the brown spots on the leaves and can tell me what the disease is, or point me in the direction, that would be very helpful!

Comments (3)

  • luis_pr

    Hello, Harry. Is there any chance you can post a picture? The brown spots that come to mind this time of the year are the ones caused by too much sun. Since you said it is in a shady spot, that gets ruled out. Can you post your location, any watering issues (does the soil feel dry or wet if you insert a finger into the potting soil? is wind drying it?), recent things (any fertilizer applications? amendments added to acidify the potting mix?) and any other useful info?

  • harrywarrenwilson

    Hi Luis,

    I attached photos to the post, but they seem not to have uploaded, will try again.

    The camellia rarely gets any direct sunlight, it’s in an area with lots of trees, as well as being underneath an awning.

    I’m located in southern Austria, which is probably zone 5 or maybe 6.

    I water carefully, usually leaving several days or sometimes a week for the soil to dry out in between. Right now, the soil feels slightly moist. Wind certainly isn’t drying it out - if anything, it tends to stay moist longer than you might want.

    No recent amendments. Added a couple of teaspoons of coffee grounds, diluted with water at ratio of about 1:10, at beginning of spring. When I repotted last year, I used mostly garden soil (relatively low pH here - rhododendrons thrive), with a small amount of home compost and a bit of perlite and sand.

    Thanks for the fast reply!

  • luis_pr

    Since they are concentrated on the edges and not much in the center, I am going to suggest investigating if this is edema (aka, oedema), a condition brought on by overwatering and high moisture in the environment. The blisters form because the plant is uptaking lot of water and is unable to transpire (release) enough moisture thru the leaves... something aggravated by high humidity in the environment. Mostly an aesthetic issue although I have not seen pictures of the worst possible edema cases out there I am sure....

    Reduce the amount of water or the number of times that you water. And-or increase the amount of sunlight or increase air flow around the plant... anything that can reduce the humidity...

    To keep over-watering in check, insert a finger into the soil to a depth of 4 inches (10cm) and water if the soil feels dry or almost dry.

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