Camellia Plant Buds: Why Are Camellia Flowers Not Opening And Buds Falling Off

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By Susan Patterson, Master Gardener

Camellias are slow growing, evergreen shrubs or small trees found in USDA plant hardiness zones 7 and 9. Camellias range in size from dwarf (2 feet) to an average of 6 to 12 feet. Many gardeners value camellias for their winter interest, yet most are known for their large and bright flowers, and are a staple in southern gardens. There are many different types of camellias that provide color from September through May. However, there are times when camellia flower problems occur, such as camellia plant buds falling off.

How to Avoid Camellia Flower Problems

To avoid camellia flower problems, it is best to plant camellias where they will be most happy. Camellia plants like moist soil but do not tolerate “wet feet.” Be sure to plant your camellia somewhere with good drainage.

An acid soil of 6.5 is best for camellias, and nutrient levels must be kept consistent. Camellias grow well in containers as long as the soil drains well. Use camellia potting soil only if you plan to grow your plant in a container. Apply a well-balanced fertilizer following directions closely.

Reasons for Camellia Flowers Not Opening

Camellias naturally drop buds when they produce more than they have the energy to open. However, if you notice buds falling off continually, it may be due to either over watering or under watering.

Bud drop on camellias may also happen due to dramatic changes in temperature. If the temperature drops below freezing before the camellia plant buds have a chance to open, they may fall off. Extreme autumn heat may also cause buds to drop.

If camellia plants have a lack of nutrients or are infested with mites, they become too stressed to open flowers.

To avoid bud drop on camellias it is important to keep the plant as healthy as possible. If bud drop continues, it may be necessary to move the plant to a more suitable location.

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