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Problems With Nuccio's Pearl Camellia

By Barrett Barlowe ; Updated September 21, 2017

Gardeners prize Nuccio's pearl camellia for its perfectly formed flowers and its overall vigor. Camellias are hearty plants and most are pest and disease free. The cultural needs of all Japonica variety camellias are similar--they are simple but critical for the health of the plant. Some simple tips about Nuccio's pearl can help you troubleshoot any plant problems.

Inadequate Growth

A meager-looking plant with sparse foliage and no spring growth indicates soil-related problems. Japonica camellias such as Nuccio's pearl need good drainage. They thrive in humus-rich soil that is moist but never waterlogged. Nuccio's pearl must be planted so that the root ball is slightly above ground. Never allow soil to pile up over the base of the stem. Nuccio's pearl might develop root rot and die if left in standing water. It will also suffer and weaken if soil smothers its surface roots. Slightly acid soil works best for camellias, so check the pH of the soil if you notice that Nuccio's pearl does not put out new growth following bloom.

Flower Quality

Nuccio's pearl has pink-edged white flowers. Quickly fading flowers mean the plant might need protection from hot sun. Inadequate water when plants are blooming can cause buds and flowers to drop off the plant.

Nuccio's pearl has medium-sized flowers. Some gardeners disbud the plant, removing one in a pair of flower buds to ensure a full-sized flower. Some prefer more flowers; others prefer fewer flowers that are perfectly formed and well sized.

Leaf Drop

If your plant is struggling, figure out the cause and restore it to health before you fertilize it. Camellias need only light fertilizing, and you can damage the plant by overfeeding or adding fertilizer if it is not healthy. Overfertilizing camellias often causes major leaf drop.

Unopened Buds

Pay close attention to brown spots appearing on flowers. Petal blight is likely the cause when buds turn brown and never open or flowers turn mushy and rot. Petal blight is a fungus that spreads rapidly to other camellias. Pick up any fallen blooms and sweep under the plants to minimize conditions that encourage fungal growth.

Diseased Foliage

Tea scale is a concern in warm and humid environments. Small insects suck the moisture out of leaves. Nuccio's pearl might have stunted growth and yellow patches on its leaves. Check for a sticky white substance on the underside of foliage to confirm a heavy infestation of tea scale. Horticultural oil sprays help control new waves of tea scale in spring, while protecting beneficial insects such as ladybugs.


About the Author


Barrett Barlowe is an award-winning writer and artist specializing in fitness, health, real estate, fine arts, and home and gardening. She is a former professional cook as well as a digital and traditional artist with many major film credits. Barlowe holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and French and a Master of Fine Arts in film animation.