Few plants are more cherished than the elegant camellia. But because of the camellia’s aristocratic reputation, some gardeners consider the beautiful flowering shrub delicate and problematic to cultivate. In truth, today’s camellias are easy-to-grow evergreen plants, as tough and rugged as they are beautiful. But that doesn’t mean that camellia lovers shouldn’t prepare for insect pests, like camellia bud mites. Read on for information about mites on camellia leaves and tips for treating mites on camellias.
Mites on Camellia Leaves and Buds
Mites are tiny insect pests that live on leaves and are so small that they are difficult to see in passing. You’ll do best to use a magnifying glass, not just the naked eye.
You may also be able to diagnose mites from the dusty, gray appearance of the leaves. Mites on camellia leaves can be camellia bud mites or other types of mites, like spider mites or camellia gall mites.
Camellia Bud Mites
Camellia bud mites are a type of mite that is most apparent in the buds of the blossoms. These pests can live under the leaves of the plant but usually stay inside the flower buds. If you see browning edges on your camellia buds, this may be the diagnosis.
Bud mites on camellias cause a slowdown in the development of the flower buds. The buds often open later than expected if they open at all. Many turn brown and drop off the plant before they bloom.
Camellia Gall Mites or Spider Mites
Bud mites are not the only types of mites to infect your camellia. Camellia gall mites are tiny insect pests that create blistered leaves or galled twigs on infected plants.
Spider mites are tiny as camellia bud mites, and just as difficult to see. Try holding a piece of white paper under the infected leaves and tapping them to knock the mites onto the paper. If the populations get high, you might observe webbing on the foliage.
Treating Mites on Camellias
Mites don’t kill your shrubs, but they can reduce their beauty. You’ll probably want to spray the camellias to get rid of the mites when they become a problem. You can spray with oil emulsion sprays in the spring and fall. For camellia bud mites, consider using a miticide.
Do a thorough job when you are spraying in order to control of the mites. Good cultural practices that encourage vigorous plants help too.