Camellia Plants

pink camellia losing leaves

Zone san francisco | camellia added on June 12, 2014 | Answered

I really hope you can help with this bewildering and distressing problem! I received a small camellia (pink flowers) as a gift about seven years ago. It was called a "bonsai", but I expect that description applies primarily to its comparatively small size. In any event, the plant flourished in its small (5" x 4")
rectangular pot, producing a wealth of beautiful pink flowers more than once a year. The plant's location has always been the same, near a west facing window with diffused/indirect afternoon sunlight.

I found that watering abundantly once a week with added Schultz liquid food supplement seemed to keep it happy/healthy. After seven years, I thought, considering its considerable increase in size, that repotting would be a good thing to do. I proceeded to repot it in a larger (10" x 8") rectangular pot, with 2" of a bonsai potting mix underneath the existing roots and soil, adding some black magic general purpose potting mix to fill in around the sides. Based on my research, I took care to ensure that the newly added potting mixes did not contain lime (at least no lime was listed in their ingredients). The new larger pot has drainage holes, as did the smaller one.

After resuming the usual watering/feeding schedule, I had expected to have a happy plant. Unfortunately, however, in the last couple of months since repotting, the plant has been dropping leaves consistently at a rate of several per week. The leaves that are falling off appear to be quite healthy…dark green, with no evidence of disease or infestation etc. Also, since repotting there has been no indication of budding/flowering. I reluctantly employed a very minimal amount of pruning, removing only a few bare branches.

I might add that, although the new pot and soil do drain well, there appears to be considerably more moisture retention over the period of one week between waterings, owing largely to the black magic potting mix around the sides. As all conditions, location etc. have remained unchanged since day one, seven years ago, I am at a total loss as to what the problem could be! As a "last ditch" effort, unless things improve soon, I have considered replacing my plant in its original smaller pot.

I dearly hope that you might provide some helpful information that could restore the vitality of my beloved plant and i thank you for your consideration! I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks & best wishes,
glen smith

A.Answers to this queston: Add Answer
Answered on June 13, 2014

The thing that jumps out at me is that your up-pot was too drastic. Just as normal potted plants should only be increased one size at a time (4" to 6", 6" to 8", and so on)the new bonsai pot should only increase an inch or so. If your original pot was 4"X 5", it should go into something around 5"X 6", maybe a little bigger. I would recommend getting it into a smaller pot without delay. Also I would use the bonsai soil only. You need to get the soil moisture reduced as quickly as possible, so increase the light and maybe add a fan to increase air circulation. And good luck, it sounds like an absolutely wonderful plant.

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