Black Spots On Camellia Leaves | All You Need to Know

why are there black spots on camellia leaves

Hey, are you dealing with black spots on your camellia leaves? Then this content is definitely for you.

One morning I was watering my camellia plants and I saw these black spots on my camellia leaves:

I wondered if this was a common problem for gardeners.

So I searched google for “Why are there black spots on my camellia leaves”.

I found many people asking the same question on some gardening forums but found no concrete information.

So I called my friend who completed a BSC in Botany and he gave me this scholarly paper on this topic.

After researching this topic I found some important information and thought of sharing it. 

Black spots are a widespread common problem among evergreen shrubs.

You commonly notice these black spots affecting your camellia leaves in late winter or early spring but these can happen any time of the year. 

So why are there black spots on camellia leaves?

Black spots on camellia leaves are occurred by sooty moulds. Sooty moulds are fungi that have dark spores. These live on sugary substances excreted by sap-sucking insects. Normally the upper surface of the leaves becomes fully or partially covered by black moulds. Severe conditions can prevent sunlight from reaching leaves, which may affect your camellia plant’s growth.

Why are there black spots on camellia leaves?

The fungal infection of camellia plants is a secondary problem. 

The black moulds establish themselves on the sticky deposit secreted by an insect pest. 

Normally these insects are located underneath the leaf, hiding along the midrib.

These insects may be pale or translucent, they don’t move around and do not immediately appear like other insect pests. 

Leaf-spot diseases are another cause of black spots on camellia leaves. Leaf spot diseases are caused by fungidal mostly, other organisms, like bacteria and nematodes, cause foliar diseases. 

Effects Of Black Spots On Camellia Leaves

Black spots or sooty mould can occur in any plants where aphids, soft scales, leafhopper, mealybugs feed or honeydew is produced. 

As a result, black spots grow on leaves, branches, strens and fruits. 

If there are aphids, soft scale leafhoppers or mealybugs on your camellia plant then be careful black spots may appear soon. 

The first sign of black spots on camellia leaves is irregularly shaped black spots up to 1 – 2 inches in diameter. These black spots normally occur on the upper leaf of camellia plants.  

If the disease worsens, the leaves may turn yellow. 

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica,

Leaves on susceptible varieties turn yellow and drop early. Affected plants may defoliate twice in a season, are greatly weakened, produce fewer and inferior blooms, and are subject to canker diseases and winterkill.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

If the black spot attacks your camellia plant, it causes indirect damage by reducing photosynthesis of the affected leaf area. 

In severe cases, leaves may fall off.

Black spots can coat most of a plant in a matter of days or weeks. It may stern the growth of your camellia plant. 

How To Deal With Black Spots On Camellia Leaves 

In order to deal with black spots on camellia leaves the first thing you need to do is, cut off the extremely damaged leaves. 

In a home garden, sooty moulds are an unsightly cosmetic condition that usually doesn’t permanently damage your plant yet affects its growth. 

If you cut off the affected leaves in order to get rid of sooty moulds and prevent the insects that cause a comfortable home ground for sooty moulds, in time sooty mould will disappear on its own. 

There are many ways to prevent sooty mould, some popularly used ideas are given below-

  • Maintain the overall health of your Camellia plant from the very beginning.
  • Try to wash off aphids, soft scales, leafhoppers, and mealybugs fed on your plant with a strong force of water.
  • Try to remove ants from your camellia plant, it will prevent them from protecting honeydew-producing insects.
  • Wash off black spots and honeydew from the plant with water.
  • Apply horticultural oils to your camellia plant. It will help aphid eggs and scales to bud break.
  • Apply insecticidal soap to the plant to wash off the insects and black spots.
  • Apply a systemic insecticide to your camellia plant in the spring to prevent Sap – sucking, phloem-feeding insects that produce honeydew.

If you take care of your camellia plant regularly from the very beginning, prevent insects and ensure a healthy environment, sooty moulds may not grow on your plant.

Still, if there is a developing black spot on your camellia leaves wash off the spot with insecticidal soap water, and make sure there is enough water force. The water force will help to clean the black spots. 

Some Common Problems of Camellia Plant 

Along with black spots on leaves, the camellia plant suffers from some other problems too. 

It is noticed that sometimes camellia leaves go brown. 

It happens because of several abiotic factors like poor drainage, drought, sunscald, mineral deficiencies etc. 

Leaves may become curly, turn black and die. In order to prevent these, you need to provide well-drained soil. 

Camellia leaves may develop large brunt brown blotches after a heatwave, if you try to prevent this you need to keep your favourite plant in indirect sunlight. 

Let me provide some tips to grow your camellia healthy – 

Deadhead your favourite camellia plant regularly. Regular deadheading to your plant may direct energy to stronger growth and more flowers. 

Camellias like acidic soil, so you need to maintain the soil pH from 5.5 to 6.5 in order to maintain healthy growth. 

Camellias like moist and well-drained soil with indirect sunlight. So place your favourite plant in a place where morning sunlight and afternoon sunlight are available. 

Water your camellia plants daily during the dry season to encourage new growth. 

Wrapping Up – Black Spots On Camellia Leaves 

After the discussion, you know all the necessary information regarding black spots on camellia leaves. 

In order to grow a healthy camellia you just need to ensure that you checked all the facts that are causing hampers to your camellia.

You need to maintain the moisture of the soil and provide sufficient sunlight required for your plant. 

Check for insects that produce honeydew, if there are any, wash them off right now! Clean your garden tools properly after using them to prevent any kind of fungus attack.

In order to save your other plants, replace your affected plant. I wish you a very happy gardening and good luck with your camellia! 

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