I have a Camellia Sinensis that I bought from an internet nursery. It was shipped in a black plastic pot in late autumn. I've kept it outdoors and it produced a small first-flush of tea which I harvested.
Since then, it has contracted some problems. I have tried to identify them online, but I am having trouble and am seeking expert advice.
1) The tips of some of the leaves turn brown or gray and die. Most of the leaf is intact and if I cut off the dead tip it continues to live.
2) Some young leaves are curled and grow in a misshapen way. Is this aphid damage?
3) This one is the most serious. A majority of new buds have a large number of black mites or bugs attached to them. Sometimes the leaves below this grouping are sticky. The mites/bugs do not attack mature leaves, only terminal buds. I have been pruning any buds that exhibit this, but it doesn't seem to help. I think I need to try some kind of pest control.
I live in Houston where we had a very mild winter (some cold snaps, but mostly just chilly), and we have so far had a mild spring and summer has started out mild as well (about 80 to 90 degrees F daily).
I water a couple of times a week but try not to soak the container so much that water drips out the bottom.
The plant was fertilized by the nursery when I bought it and I did not fertilize it again until recently.
I would like to transplant the camellia to a bigger pot but I'm nervous about doing this during the spring/summer growing season. I have read that it is better to transplant in the fall when most of the root growth occurs. Am I better off to wait until fall or transplant during the growing season if I see some root tips growing out of the bottom of the pot now?
So, in summary, I am curious if anyone can recognize the three pests above and I have a question about transplantation.
Thank you, gurus!
-Tim in Houston