Q: I have two camelias that begin to bloom in October and continue to bloom until January if we don’t have a killing frost. I don’t know their name. However, one of them (only this year) has leaves that look mutant. They are tiny and haven’t grown much. The other is fine. They about 12 to 14 feet apart on the south side of my house (this is the front). These camelias are about thirty years old and I really like them. They have at times had rubbery looking leaves but nothing like this.
Can you tell me what to do?
Kings Mountain, NC
A: It sounds like your mutant camellia, undoubtedly a fall bloomer called a sasanqua camellia, was infested with aphids some time during the years. These little suckers congregate on the undersides of the leaves and cause the foliage to appear small and puckered. New leaves are most affected. Aphids should start to die off as the weather cools. Next spring, keep an eye out for them. You can control them by spraying the leaf undersides with soapy water, horticultural oil, or a systemic insecticide according to label directions.
To learn much more about beautiful fall-blooming camellias, clink on this link: The Camellia for Fall