Plants in 511 mix: drying from bottom up

maryartist(10b)March 18, 2014

Hello, brilliant community!

Over the past few months, I have bought four 6" plants and put them into 511 mix. One Ellwoodii, one rosemary, then two lavender. Each of them looked happy and then wilted and dried from the ground up. Transplant shock is my best guess. I posted photos of one of them: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/contain/msg0202415028434.html

I'm at a loss. What are the specific steps that you take to transfer the little guy from store to new planter? Am I killing them by getting rid of the old soil too aggressively or is it the lime/fertilizer? I do pour through. I do not have a total dissolved solids meter to measure my soil's runoff.

Thank you,
Mary

This post was edited by maryartist on Sat, Mar 22, 14 at 4:01

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Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

Rosemary and lavender are Mediterranean herbs. They like dry and gravelly soil. Plant them in Gritty and you'll get better results. Thyme and sage like these conditions too.

My guess is you overwatered and kept them too wet. 5-1-1 can be overwatered. Gritty nearly cannot. You will have to water Gritty everyday for the first week or so, then you can taper off and water your herbs probably every 3-5 days.

I find 6" plants are too difficult for me to put into 5-1-1 or Gritty. They don't really have a solid root ball. Ideally, you want to get rid of all the old soil off the roots before you transplant, but doing so on a young delicate plant can damage/remove a lot of the root structure/fibers. Plus more damaged/missing roots means less anchorage/stability when planted. Can you buy 1-gal plants?

A properly-performed transplant might make a plant sulk for a few weeks or drop some leaves/blossoms, but it doesn't usually cause shock or death. If anything, once a plant realizes it's in a healthy 5-1-1/Gritty environment, it perks up after a week or two and often explodes with new growth.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 7:00PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Those herbs LOVE alkaline soil ( pH of 7 +) and very little nutrients.
Technically, 511 should be fine as far as drainage is concerned. But then the question is pH level.

JMO

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 2:49PM
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maryartist(10b)

Thank you, Oxboy, your advice rings true to me. None of the little guys had a solid rootball, and it was difficult to get the old soil off the roots. I think I should not buy such small, delicate plants from now on.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 4:02AM
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