Dear Mrs Clapp,
I live in Sydney, Australia and I would be very happy if you could give me some advice as to why my white camellia's leaves are turning yellow and falling off. The buds seem to be OK. As we are in the second month of autumn, I fertilized it with some camellia and azalea fertilizer, also a little blood and bone about a month ago, and it seems to have lots of mulch at its base. The shrub is about 3 years old and it has been healthy looking until now. I've had some beautiful blooms. It is situated about 3 ft. from a fence, facing east. Behind the fence my neighbour has a mango tree. Is this the reason why the camellia is shedding its leaves, and should I move my camillia? Many thanks for your kind answer.
It is not unusual for camellias to lose a lot of foliage after a year in which they bloomed heavily. In the natural aging process the leaves of a camellia begin to turn yellow, then brown and drop from the plant. As many as half the leaves may be lost in a single season. If the plant has new growth buds I would assume it is still healthy. From your description of the growing conditions of the plant there does not seem to be a problem. There is an active Camellia Society in Sidney and I am sure one of their members could give you additional information.