Recent transplant is drying from bottom up

maryartist(10b)February 15, 2014

Hello, fellow gardenweb enthusiasts!

Longtime fan, first time poster. Hoping y'all can offer a solution. Two new plants dying soon after repotting is concerning. The first was a Christmas rosemary; it showed green shoots on top while drying to death from the bottom. We just threw it out. So I went out and made my first 511 mix. A week ago, our current plant (pictured) was lovingly repotted in 511 mix with a little Ozmocote, but it is suffering in the same way. We haven't overwatered. We don't water it in sips. What do you think?

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jerseygirl07603 z6NJ

I received a plant that looks just like it. It came without a tag and was wondering what it is. Anyway, mine is terribly rootbound but am waiting until spring to re-pot it. In the meantime, I've been setting the whole thing in water until the water penetrates the entire root mass. If your root mass is really tight, your water might not be penetrating.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 9:10AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Just to check things off the list....

Is the plant recuperating outdoors in a protected area?

Did you add the requisite Dolomitic Lime to the mix?

Josh

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 12:07PM
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Natures_Nature(5 OH)

Make sure you did not use hydrated lime. I made that mistake and my plants are showing problems similar to yours. Do you have a total dissolved solids(tds) meter? You could use the pour thru method and see if you are over fertilizing, or over liming.. How much osmocote did you put in?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 12:25PM
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maryartist(10b)

Thanks, community!

I'm using (the best I could) Tapla's 5:1:1 mix:

5 parts Orchid Bark fines
1 part sphagnum peat
1-2 parts perlite (more like 2...)
1 T per gallon Espoma Organic Traditions garden lime pellets
1 T per gallon Ozmocote 14:14:14 controlled release fertilizer pellets

This mix is a first for me, and I got all of the parts from an Ace hardware store near me. I realize that I may need to return the Ozmocote fertilizer to get one of the 3:1:2 ratio fertilizers (24-8-16, 12-4-8, 9-3-6) recommended on these forums.

I do pour through. I do not have a total dissolved solids meter. It is indoors near but not right next to a window so it gets indirect sun. Would it do better outdoors in a protected area?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 8:02PM
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Natures_Nature(5 OH)

"This mix is a first for me, and I got all of the parts from an Ace hardware store near me. I realize that I may need to return the Ozmocote fertilizer to get one of the 3:1:2 ratio fertilizers (24-8-16, 12-4-8, 9-3-6) recommended on these forums."

I personally wouldn't get finicky with the fertilizer ratio.. In general, most fertilizers aren't that far apart. I would much rather worry about the levels and frequency of fertilizing. I see your using espoma lime. You should check out espoma biotone fertilizer, or there other fertilizers instead of synthetic ferts like osmecote. Espoma and other organic fert that contains microorganisms do great help for the plant.. Synthetic ferts can hinder microb growth that plants adapted to for eons. Microbes been supplying nutrients to plants for eons, synthetic ferts been around for what, a century?

I highly recommend you get a pH and tds meter. They can be great tools and takes the guesswork out of it.. My 511 plants weren't doing well, so I conducted pour through test(essentially testing excess runoff water) on my different mediums i was using. The peat/compost/perlite mix was reading 800-1000ppm(pretty normal),the 511 mix was reading 2000-3000 ppm (very high level of solids).. At first i thought it was the bark, but then did tests on that and it measured 200-500ppm.. So, then i tested the fertilizer, it tested at 500-600ppm. So then i tested the lime and it tested at 2000-4000ppm.. So happens the "horticultural" lime i purchased was caustic hydrated lime, something most wouldn't consider horticultural.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 12:06AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Rosemary is a tricky plant to grow indoors. I have only succeeded in keeping a rosemary plant alive in a pot over winter when I put it in a sunny bay window that stayed in the 50s due to poor insulation. I grew that one in gritty mix in a clay pot and watered it well at least once a week. It didn't thrive, but it survived.

Rosemary thrives in full summer sun, and although it can be killed by soggy soil it can also be killed if the potting mix becomes completely dry. I think it takes longer to acclimate to indoor life after living outdoors or in a greenhouse than the average house plant. It is also susceptible to powdery mildew and attracts pests like mites and whiteflies.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 11:32AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yes, outdoors in a protected area. Indoors is very difficult, as Ohio mentioned.

Josh

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 4:32PM
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Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

I'd only plant Rosemary in Gritty, not 5-1-1. It's a Mediterranean herb used to dry rocky/sandy conditions.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 8:53PM
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rina_

The plant in the photo looks like a Chamaecyparis lawsoniana "Ellwoodii" to me...I could be wrong.
These are sold very often in fall and winter in small pots, used a lot to decorate for Christmas. They are really better off outside.

Rina

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 6:46PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Trees are yellow forms of Monterey cypress such as 'Goldcrest' or 'Wilma' that have become highly prevalent where potted plants are sold, including supermarket floral departments.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 6:52PM
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maryartist(10b)

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." - Marcel Proust

That quote is for all of you who have responded. Thank you!

We moved the drying little Chamaecyparis lawsoniana "Ellwoodii" out to the back stairs, which are sort of outside, as we live in a donut-shaped apartment building. Indirect light, protected; at least a better chance of survival than indoors.

~ Mary

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 7:05PM
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maryartist(10b)

The Ellwoodii has finally died. We have since bought two six-inch lavender plants in a row, put them in the 511 mix, and they have died by shriveling from the bottom up in the exact same way. I'm at a loss.

I still haven't purchased a TDS meter, so I haven't tested the excess runoff water, but I wonder if my mix has too much fertilizer or lime. Thanks for the tip, Natures_Nature.

~ Mary

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 4:03AM
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