Forum home Problem solving

Shrubs dying

Last year, I planted a new flower bed with three rose bushes, a Choisya, a Camellia and a Euonymous. The roses are doing absolutely fine BUT the Euonymous has lost all leaves and doesn't seem to be regrowing, the Camellia has turned completely brown and has sprouted some small buds but no flowers and the Choisya lasted well but has now started to droop, although is sprouting new growth. All were well fed and watered regularly after planting and didn't show any signs of problems until winter, they are planted on the inside of a south facing fence but do get some sun in the mornings. What has happened? And can I fix it? Don't want to plant any new beds this year until I know what went wrong with this one!


  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    Were the shrubs pot bound when you bought them? Has the ground been particularly wet over the winter? Have you had a hard winter?

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • MelMooMelMoo Posts: 14
    The shrubs were all healthy when they went in. The ground is quite wet as we are in Lincolnshire and had a lot of snow! 

  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,912
    Is your soil acid or lime, do you know?
    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • MelMooMelMoo Posts: 14
    I'm not sure but roses thrive in it! They're the one thing I seem to be able to grow very successfully so I'm thinking I might be better sticking to what I know! The garden is in the process of redesign, having been all grass until now with some pots around and a large rose bush in the middle. My friend told me that I was lucky that my soil is 'very good' and should be suitable for most things and she has a very productive allotment.
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    I would dig or pull the Euonymus out and have a look at the roots. Are they still in the form of the pot? If so, I would gently tease them out and replant. Same with the camellia and the choisya. 
    Normally these shrubs are tough as old boots and it doesn't appear the ground is contaminated if the roses are doing well. I do know my camellia took about 8 years to get going but I planted it just like a stick. 
    Perhaps just cut back the bits that are really dead and hope they will recover. And don't give them any extra water unless we have a scorching summer. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • MelMooMelMoo Posts: 14
    I'm considering lifting the Camellia and putting it into a pot temporarily in the hope it will recover. I have another, slightly older one, one that I want to plant out and am worried that I'll lose it as well so my partner is going to build me a raised bed that I can make into an ericaceous one specifically for the Camellias and maybe a rhododendron as well. I'm not sure the Euonymous will recover as I can't see any sign of life in it and it has no leaves or anything but I'll dig it up tomorrow and see what is going on. Thanks :) 
  • Bagpuss57Bagpuss57 Posts: 256
    I had a camelia that looked like what you're describing and I dug it up (they have shallow roots so fairly easy even if it's a biggish plant) I potted in a big plant pot with ericacious compost and kept an eye on it. With some attention and pampering it recuperated and after a year I planted it back in the ground in a sheltered spot that's not too much sun in ericacious soil. In winter it still sometimes gets what look like burnt leaves and leaves yellow a bit when they need a feed but it's much healthier now. (If its in a cold windy spot ifs best to fleece them iver winter!) I would suggest potting up in some ericacious compost and just look after it for a while. Check the roots aren't pot bound. I'm sure it'll recover with a bit if attention but maybe it's just in the wrong place and it's trying to tell you it's not happy! Once you have the right spot and right compost it should survive. Good luck! 
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    It could be a combination of problems. What type of Euonymus do you have? Some are evergreen but some are not.

    Camellia shrubs can sometimes have leaves turning brown due to harsh exposed winds and also in extreme cold and wet conditions. Avoid planting them in an area where there is early morning sun. Newly formed buds can fail to open when there is early morning frost that thaws immediately by the morning scorching sun. Prune off the brown and damaged leaves after flowering or in early summer.

    The Choysia sounds like it's shrugging off the damp and cold weather. They will recover once it's warmer.

    Try to lay a new layer of mulch (Compost, rotted manure or bark chip) every spring for young shrubs until they mature. Helps to stabilise them through extremes in weather conditions whilst their roots are still trying to settle and form. It also feeds them too.
  • MelMooMelMoo Posts: 14
    Just wanted to say thank you! I lifted all three plants today and you were right, the Euonymous and the Camellia had been pot bound and hadn't spread at all. I have put the Camellia into a large pot and teased out some roots in the hope that it might recover but I think it may be too late. The Euonumous may be salvageable as it looks like it had started trying to throw some new shoots, albeit very small unhealthy looking ones! I have dug a much bigger hole, loosened all its roots and put it back in but not too firmly and with plenty of compost. Fingers crossed for them both! 
    The Choisya roots have spread and it wasn't pot bound but it still looks very droopy and is yellowing. The ground is very wet so I have put plenty of compost in and around it and aerated the soil around where I can. Not really sure what's happened to that one but hopefully the warmer weather will help it pick up again in a few weeks!
    Thank you all for your help! :) 
Sign In or Register to comment.