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Leaves on my camellia are heat-scorched

On Tuesday evening, I thoroughly watered my in-a-container camellia that's under a lattice patio-cover.

On Friday, the temperature reached 118° (a new record high) and, on Saturday, it hit 120° (a new, new record high)!

On Saturday evening, I thoroughly watered my camellia again and I noticed that almost every leaf was scorched.

Should I cut off the scorched leaves now?

Comments (4)

  • luis_pr

    I never have cut them off; the brown leaves eventually dropped off. But then again, I did not get all of them heat scorched. If any are partially scorched, I would definitely leave those alone. As new growth appears, the tree should recover if the roots are ok. I suggest fertilizing with an organic product like holly tone when/if it starts to leaf out but not before. Prune out any dead limbs as they appear.

    In times like these, the roots need some protection and need to be in soil that is as evenly moist as you can (no dry, wet, dry periods, I mean). Consider watering multiple times a day if you can and if the soil feels dry. I would also mulch the top of the pot.

    I tend to water daily when I get into the hundreds... when the soil feels dry when I insert a finger into the potting soil. I assume you did similarly?

    If it were to get that bad here, I would also locate the pot where it gets shade all day long and is not windy; maybe even consider moving it indoors. I may also re-evaluate indirect sun exposure from walls, cement surfaces, etc.

  • socalnolympia

    In Riverside, I'm not really surprised. and then add onto that an unusual heat wave.

    Camellias are not exactly the most adapted plants for very hot dry climates. Only thing I could suggest is to make sure it's consistently watered and possibly use a little bit of shade protection. Misting the leaves wouldn't hurt either.

  • Tim C (Z8b, So Cal)

    I live in the high desert of Antelope Valley and just recently I tried to put out my camellia outside to acclimate. I put them on east facing wall thinking they will be in the shade afternoon that should be okay. Nope. Just one day I come home to find many leaves were sun burned. I brought them back indoors and give them a chance to recover.

  • luis_pr

    Oh, no. Poor thing. Suggestions.... I do not think that camellias can acclimate directly into summer-level sunlight levels very well. I would have started acclimating it in the Fall or Spring for example. And I would expect Year 1 leaves not to do well as they are used to superb/perfect greenhouse conditions with limited sun exposure, lots of humidity, etc

    Also, down here, they can sunburn during part of the summer morning hours too so, try giving them morning shade starting around 10-11am or thereabouts.

    Finally, japonica leaves tend to suffer so much more that I would consider sasanquas if you observe this reaction to the high desert climate.

    Out of curiosity, how much do you water and how many times a day do you have to water in your low humidity conditions? Due to low desert humidity, you may need to water potted shrubs several times a day. In the summer, I have been known to do that here with potted camellias and hydrangeas, especially those located in house corners that can become slightly windy with drying winds this time of the year.

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