Mark H
Mark H
  • Hometalker
  • Maysville, GA
Asked on Mar 5, 2012

Need some help figuring out what's wrong with my camellia bush.

Mark HJanet DLori M
+12

Answered

These camellias are growing in my yard on Amelia Island, FL. They are growing in filtered shade beneath very tall live oaks. They were healthy looking when I planted them last October. They do have new growth ready to come out. All of the leaves on all three bushes affected. This looks like scale to me. The back side of the leaves have tiny white specs on them. What do you think?? Thanks!!
Camellia Leaf
Camellia Leaf
Camellia Leaf
Camellia Leaf
13 answers
  • Douglas Hunt
    on Mar 5, 2012

    Mark, the photos you sent are quite small so it is hard to see the detail, but white spots under the leaves of camellias are generally an indication of scale. The problem does not appear to be serious at this point, and you could probably get rid of them with by wiping the leaves with a moist paper towel. (You could use a good blast of the hose as well, but you need to make sure to get the under sides of the leaves.) The next step would be to use a horticultural oil. Are any of your neighbors growing camellias? While your live oaks are probably providing an ideal amount of light, it is possible, being right on the coast, that your soil is far more alkaline than than camellias prefer. If you have not done so, I would recommend having a soil test done. I ruled out camellias after I found mine was 7.7. You can get the forms from your local extension office or online here: http://soilslab.ifas.ufl.edu/ESTL%20Tests.asp

  • Donna McCrummen
    on Mar 5, 2012

    The camelia at my house in Arlington had a similar looking problem. It was huge and overgrown. I hacked it. It grew back. Good luck.

  • Erica Glasener
    on Mar 6, 2012

    Mark, it could be tea scale. Here is a good link with information and treatment recommendations. Scroll down to the section on scale. http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/pests/plant_pests/shrubs/hgic2053.html

  • Walter Reeves
    on Mar 6, 2012

    I think it's mite damage. scroll down midway here http://scouthort.blogspot.com/2009_07_01_archive.html need a hand lens to examine the back of the leaves to be sure

  • Lynn M
    on Mar 6, 2012

    If you spray with malethion - it may help. Also, if you put a cigarette in a spray bottle and wait for a day or two, then spray the leaves, it will kill whatever is eating the leaves.

    • Leslie Long
      on Jun 2, 2014

      @Lynn M Just an fyi...I would never choose Malathion as a "first" choice insecticide. That is some heavy duty stuff and is harmful to people and pets. Try horticulture oil, insecticidal soap or NEEM oil and then if they don't work, try something stronger.

  • Erica Glasener
    on Mar 6, 2012

    I was wrong and I agree with Walter, the good news is you don't have to use chemical sprays, just horticultural oils!

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Mar 6, 2012

    I noted in the link Walter supplied that Camellia sasanqua is not susceptible to Southern red mites. This is one of several reasons why they are often a better choice for Florida than Camellia japonica.

  • Mark H
    on Mar 6, 2012

    I appreciate everyone's comments. Walter's link was perfect! Douglas - to answer your question - I do have two other camellias growing in the yard that are healthy and are growing in similar conditions. I will remember your tip about camellia sasanqua for future purchases. Erica - you are right....it is good news that I may be able to correct the problem using horticultural oils and not chemicals. I went to Lowes yesterday and bought Neem Oil Extract. I have never used oils before. I assume the old leaves will not recover but the new growth should be fine if this works? Instructions say to treat every 14 days. Does this mean I treat from now on or should I stop treatment at some point if the condition clears up?

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Mar 7, 2012

    Mark, horticultural oil is generally not effective on eggs, so you will need to apply two or three times following label directions to break the reproductive cycle. Once that is accomplished, there is no need to continue with the treatment.

  • Erica Glasener
    on Mar 7, 2012

    Mark, I'm sure that Douglas answered your question about treatment. I just wanted to add that with all plant problems IPM (Integrated Pest Management) should be the approach. Resort to spraying only when you have a problem (as you noted with your camellias). A few insects should not alarm gardeners. Keep plants healthy, amend your soil, right plant in the right place (cultural conditions) all lthis helps. Sounds like your camellias will recover. Best of luck

  • Lori M
    on Mar 9, 2012

    We get the same thing and use worm casings. It's a natural solution and works like a charm every time. We use in on hydrangea as well.

  • Janet D
    on Mar 9, 2012

    I probable is scales because white mites usually are on the underside of the leaf. I would go to your local nusery and bring them a sample and see what they tell you to use. Let us know how you solve your problem.

  • Mark H
    on Mar 10, 2012

    Thanks to everyone for responding. I bought Neem Oil and have sprayed the camellias. I'll let you know if this solves the problem.

Your comment...