CBNBTEA
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What's wrong with my Tea Plant?

I am growing a Russian variety of Camellia Sinensis and I'm trying to figure out what's wrong with the foliage. I'm assuming it's some kind of nutrient deficiency, but I figured I would see if someone with more experience could help me out. Thanks
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imafan26
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Re: What's wrong with my Tea Plant?

There are some fungal issues but since the leaves are mottled in the middle of the plant, I would look under the leaves under a microscope or a 15x magnifyer and check for pests.
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CBNBTEA
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Re: What's wrong with my Tea Plant?

Thank you, I was planning on pruning it here pretty soon anyway and taking some cuttings, would you recommend removing all the damaged leaves in the process?

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applestar
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Re: What's wrong with my Tea Plant?

Where are you located? Could you provide some history on the plant? -- how long you have had it, what kind of location you are keeping it, recent temperatures, etc.

My first thought was that those leaves look damaged from -- Sustained extremes like cold or sunburn, windburn....

...but If you suspect nutrient deficiency, then does that mean it's in a container and has been growing in it for some time? Has it been waterlogged?


...I don't know that it's a good idea to prune or take cuttings from a plant when it is visibly ailing... We should figure out what's wrong first. Depending on the issues, the cuttings may not be strong enough/have sufficient energy reserves to strike root and grow well. But if it's just a recent cosmetic damage, it probably won't matter.
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CBNBTEA
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Re: What's wrong with my Tea Plant?

I am located on the south/central Oregon coast, I got it from a local nursery in 1 gallon pot early this summer. It wasn't the healthiest plant at the nursery either but I really want to grow tea. It was pretty rootbound so I repotted it into a 2.2 gallon air pot with coco and half strength marine cuisine fert. Over the summer it endured lots of wind and a few minor rain events, but not very cold temps. Lately its been in the 50s to low 70s during the day and 40s to 50s at night with a little fog. It gets full sun during the morning and shade in the afternoon. The reason I was thinking deficiency is because some of my other plants showed signs of a calcium problems from the coco I assume, I didn't add any lime or cal mag at any point.

imafan26
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Re: What's wrong with my Tea Plant?

The reason I don't think it is a nutrient deficiency is because the pattern of the damage and the location in the middle of the plant is unusual. Deficiencies show up on either the youngest or the oldest leaves first and they cause yellowing or chlorosis. Sunburn would make the leaves look more red. Cold damage, I cannot tell you but camelias can handle a bit of cold. It doesn't like the wind though so you might want to protect it from that.

Nutritionally, camelias are acid loving so they do not need or want a lot of calcium. Magnesium is a micronutrient, you only need a little and the plant does not look like it has a magnesium deficiency. You have it in an air pot which provides good air circulation to the roots but you would have to worry about it getting adequate water in such a small pot especially exposed to drying winds.

Camelias are not fast growers but I would have put it in a larger pot myself with good drainage. I would not have used an air pot on a plant that was sickly to start with since I would want it to grow stronger roots.

I treat camelias like citrus and gardenias, they need regular feedings and I like citrus food. I use the vigoro brand it has low numbers and slow release nitrogen with micros. It also contains sulfur to keep the soil slightly acidic. Calcium is not going to be a major requirement for these plants since it will raise the pH and make the micronutrients less available. I fertilize in the spring with the new flush, after the blooms fade and have been deadheaded and if you live where it freezes, a couple of months before the hard frost so the growth has a chance to harden. Only a tablespoon for a pot that size is enough. If you want organic you can use 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 and I would put a tablespoon or so of sulfur in the pot each time. I don't care much for organic fertilizers alone for acid loving plants since they are not particularly rich in micronutrients and they are not acidic fertilizers. If you are on the coast how close are you to the ocean. Camellias really don't like salt air.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

CBNBTEA
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Re: What's wrong with my Tea Plant?

I'm probably 4 miles away from the ocean.

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