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Please help! Camellias dying

Rekha A
November 8, 2018
last modified: November 8, 2018

We put in 4 japonicas 3 weeks ago and they are not doing well. 2 years ago , in a different spot, I put in 4, they all died over the summer. I have the sasankuas there and they are doing well. The current spot only gets a couple of hours of morning sun, but I was still hesitant, but the nursery lady talked me into the japonicas. Now the look like what my dead plants initially looked like..is there anything I can do to save these? Some reason I can't post pic,will post in comments. I am in the houston area.
And it's been raining on and off all this time, so I don't think that is the issue

Comments (10)

  • girlnamedgalez8a

    I live in Denton Co. very much North of you. That said the japonicas do not do well at all for me and the sasankuas do just fine as long as we do not have an extremely cold winter. I hope this helps.

    Rekha A thanked girlnamedgalez8a
  • luis_pr

    Probably inconsistent watering and transplant shock. Camellia leaves transition from greenhouses to the outside slowly and are not used to receiving a strong sun, especially the japonica leaves/ Make sure that they only get morning sun (say until 10 or maybe 11am tops) in the summer months, keep them well mulched at all times and prevent inconsistent waterings (periods of dry soil, followed by periods of moist soil and back to periods of dry soil; aim for evenly moist soil conditions... as best as you can). As the plants get used to the sun outside, the new leaves will be less sensitive to our strong sunlight. May-June is when they shed leaves. If you loose leaves now, wait until the plant develops new ones; they will either do this in early Fall or wait until Spring).

    If winter is dry, you may want to check soil moisture during winter to make sure they do not dry out then. In winter you normally can reduce watering to once a week or every two weeks but, they are new shrubs & if there is no rain, you may need to water them if it is dry. I almost lost a few when my sprinkler system was turned off & not turned back on (due to a forecast of ice). How to tell if they need water? Use the finger method: water if a finger inserted into the soil to a depth of 4" feels dry or almost dry. After you water, the soil should feel moist down to a depth of 8" or so.

    To prevent flower buds from browning or drying out during winter... if temps are scheduled to go below frezing, make sure that the night before the soil is moist and the plant is well mulched. Water the soil instead of the leaves early in the mornings (6-8am). Start watering from the root ball outwards.

    The plants probably have those round fertilizer pellets now so there is no need to feed them now. Wait until Spring to start fertilizing. The last slow release fertilizer application of the year should occur around 3 months before your average date of first frost. If not sure when that is, assume around the end of Nov or the start of December... more or less.

    Japonicas definitely have leaves that cannot handle the Texas heat summer stress. Sasanquas can be in full sun here but gosh, I still would never plant them in full sun here. I see them (sasanquas) in full sun in a shopping center instead. ;o)

    Rekha A thanked luis_pr
  • Rekha A

    They get very little sun and it has been raining a lot since we planted them. Not much I can do about the rains. Area drains well as well. At this point just wait and See?

  • Rekha A

    Just noticed one of them is dropping buds. Sigh.

    ETA: Its not heat, the sun has barely come out. I think its these incessant rains...we are not over watering, mother nature is! plants are planted higher, so while water is not retained, there is a lot of coming down.

  • luis_pr

    Actually, if you ever notice that rains are a problem, consider relocating the plant elsewhere, into a place where water does not "congregate" as much and drains away quickly. Also, since it was recently planted, you can consider temporarily putting it back into a pot too... useful when it floods or there is a hurricane, etc etc etc.

  • Rekha A

    Water does not congregate, but we have been having rain almost every day. Putting in containers is not an option as Houston always gets a lot if rain. We have pretty much decided to leave them and see what happens. Could be an expensive experiment, but the area drains well. Can't fight mother nature

  • Rekha A

    Update: all the plants have stabilized, no further deterioration and some show new growth. We have not watered at all, since it rains here on and off, atleast once a week. I think that was the issue with my older ones that died, must have been over watering although I cant recollect details, the leaves turned brown.

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