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Please help my Camellia

I’m hoping to get some useful information about my camellia bushes. Last year I sadly used some chicken pellets all along my large sleeper planter and forgot that camellia plants don’t like them. I’m not sure if this has caused my plant to go brown on all leaves ( and now it’s completely shedding leaves) but I live in hope it will come back.
I was suggested to wait until it flowers then cut all the dead bits of and then see if it comes back, especially as the bottom part of the bush look healthy. 
This year I have put a good amount of Ericaceous soil around the bottom of the stem.

im a newish gardener but happy to learn tips. Also Iv used that grow more feed for camellia but the powder has gone hard.!! Will that mean it’s gone off?


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 24,889
    edited 3 May
    I have fed chicken pellets to my camellia in a pot for 4 years and it's been fine and it is now, at last, planted out in the garden and very happy with a mix of manure and garden compost in its planting area for moisture retention.

    Those beds look very dry so I think your problem is more likely to be thirst and exposure to cold, especially the beastly northerlies and easterlies we've been having of late.   I suggest you give yours a good soaking of at least 15 litres a time and poured slowly so it soaks in and doesn't just run off.   If you have hard tap water use collected rain water or add a liquid feed for ericaceous plants - contains sequestered or chelated iron.  Do this twice a week till they start to show signs of recovery and new leaves.  Do not remove dead stems and foliage till you see where the new leaves form as the dead stuff will protect them.

    I would also, once wet, apply a mulch of soil improver for ericaceous plants and not just planting compost.  You also need to know that they need a lot of watering from July thru to autumn as this is when they set their new flower buds.  They will drop them or fail to form them if too dry.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 17,230
    It’s the cold, several of my shrubs have suffered in these frosty mornings.
    they cut down well so you were advised correctly. They’ll recover, and better for it. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • luis_prluis_pr Hurst, Texas Zone 8aPosts: 52
    edited 3 May
    The fertilizer should not have reacted like that unless the plant was very dry. If dry, some ferts could burn the roots but I doubt chicken pellets would.

    "I have put a good amount of Ericaceous soil" - Suggestion: be careful. The roots are shallow, tiny, fibrous, on the top 5-10 cms so, I would not add too much soil on top of them, specially if you already had any mulch there already. The plant's soil should remain a tad higher than the surrounding soil.

    The fertilizer should not have reacted like that unless the plant was very dry. If dry, some ferts could burn the roots but I doubt chicken pellets would.

    I too suspect very cold weather. I have one that lost all foliage and two and half months later now grew a pair of leaves. Talk about a slow recovery.

    Be careful planting other plants with similar shallow root system as they may compete for water and nutrients with the camellia.

  • InglezinhoInglezinho Posts: 515
    Aluminium sulphate is a quick fix for "acidification".
    Everyone likes butterflies. Nobody likes caterpillars.
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