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Camelia leaves wrinkling & turning black

I have two long established Camelia bushes adjacent to each other approx 30 years old.

Last year the leaves one of them started to wrinkle & then turn black & fall off.
This started at the top of the bush & progressed downwards.
This year the adjacent bush has done the same.

I have not seen any mites & mould.

I have fed with sequestered Iron but to no avail.

My other Camelia plants are thriving.

Any suggestions please?


  • Could you post a photo, please?
    A gardener's work is never at an end  - (John Evelyn 1620-1706)
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353
    Hi @Ian33. A photo or two would certainly help, but in the meantime, have they had sufficient water this year? Many places have had shortages again, and it can sometimes take a while for symptoms to be apparent. 
    They can also suffer from sooty mould, but that tends to be all over the shrub rather than starting at the top and working down as you describe.
    It's best not to feed though, until you find the cause. Feeding in't helpful when a plant isn't thriving.

    They may simply be dieing.  :/
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,478
    They could be just old and dying off, as Fairygirl says, but I wonder of you may have fed too much sequestered iron over the years and slowly poisoned your camelias? Only really needed if your soil is too alkaline and the leaves were obviously yellowing/chlorotic, but even then you have to be careful not to overdose. The others may just not be showing signs yet. See the following:
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353
    If the soil's really alkaline, it's best to grow in large containers or raised, contained beds where the soil can be managed. Just constantly adding to alkaline soil won't work. I'm no sure that can be the case here if they've been growing well for a long time.

    They're also perfectly happy in neutral soil - it doesn't have to be acidic. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Ian33Ian33 Posts: 3
    Thank you for your kind advice. If Anything they have been overwatered this year due to a faulty automatic watering system.
    They responded initially for some partial new growth when I used sequestered iron but then stopped putting on any new growth.
  • Ian33Ian33 Posts: 3

  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,478
    Thanks for the photo that helps. It does look as if there are some black sooty specks on the back of that leaf below the shrivelled bit. Insect damage/leaf scorch from wind or hot sun... not sure but hopefully someone else will know and respond....
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    Is the whole shrub full of similar damage? I would say that looks like some sort of caterpillar damage. Are they usually on young leaves? Maybe some sort of leaf roller. But could also be snail or slug damage too. I don’t think it’s wind scorch or weather related. 

    Even if you haven't seen any insect/caterpillars, they may have long gone, since leaves take a while to mature over the months. When they enlarge, the damage matures with it. 

    I would wait to see what happens next year. You can prune out any damaged leaves/branches next year. 
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