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Camellia leafs are turning brown

I have two camellias, separated by a cherry tree, which started turning brown in April.

Heres a few facts to help diagnose:

- Planted last year in September: they’ve been fine from September to April.

- Planted in erricacous compost, mixed with my clay soil in about 1:1 ratio.

-  Mulched in Feb with composted bark.

- Problem started after I applied Miracle Grow Fertilizer (24-8-16) — I’m not sure if it’s related.

- Watered once per week, from end of April (either by me or by the rain).

- Camellia on right is more problematic: leaves are more brown, is dropping leaves, and has almost entirely stopped flowering.

Any ideas?  :'(

Photos attached...


  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    edited May 2019
    The leaves look pretty healthy. Purple/brown tints can happen in colder and windy areas with leaves and evergreen leaves.This is especially common in spring time. They usually correct themselves once the temperatures and conditions improve. It would be better to just continue to lay a new top layer of ericaceous compost over your shrubs every spring. I also think the fertilizer on a weekly basis is excessive for shrubs. Not necessary, concentrate on building your soil up.
  • Thank you @Borderline !

    No concerns about the leaves dropping?

    The one the right has dropped quite a lot of leaves (the one on the left has not).

    Is that okay?
  • Also, the new leafs are dead, black and crispy, as if they’ve been burned:

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    edited May 2019
    From your photos, the shrub to the right actually looks more abundant to me. Leaf drop can happen for most evergreen shrubs throughout the year, this is normal. The photos with the blackened tips are frost/wind damage. This tends to happen when new growth has started due to a warm spell earlier in the year, and then a cold snap happens after the warm spell.

    Camellias do best in westerly aspects due to these issues. If it gets early sun in the day, the drastic change in temperatures from night to day tends to cause similar problems. Prune back lightly and they will re-grow very soon. Both shrubs look fine to me.
  • Thank you, that’s very helpful (and reassuring!)  :)
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