Camellia – Leaf Gall

Q: I just went out to look at my camellia and noticed that it has several leaves that are thick and swollen. They are light green compared to the other leaves and look like they have been scalded. My neighbor says I have to cut the plant down. What do you think?

A: I think your problem is nothing to worry about. Your camellia leaves have a fungus called camellia leaf gall. I’m sure the leaves are swollen and engorged like grotesque malformations on your plant. In fact, fungal leaf gall is a common disease of camellias, azaleas, and rhododendrons. Its appearance is quite startling on any plant: The leaf swells to five times its normal thickness, seeming ready to explode. The leaf color will change to greenish-gray or almost white over a few weeks. Fortunately, this disease spreads very slowly and may not occur every year. No fungicide is recommended for control. The best control method: Hand-pick and dispose of the galls BEFORE they turn white and dispense more fungus spores.

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