Rocks impead growth?

duscarterMay 11, 2010

We have a bed that we filled with red rock. We opted for it because it is easy to clean. We planted a couple of shrubs and some annuals in it this spring. Are the rocks keeping the annuals from growing like they should?

I can post a pic if it would help.

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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Posting a picture would be helpful.

How deep is the rock?

What is planted there?

How much sun does the area get?

How often do you water?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 12:35PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

And is there plastic or landscape cloth under the rocks?


    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 12:56PM
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It is an area that is full sun and gets watered daily if needed. The ones in the pot are doing wonderful. The rock is not very deep. There is landscape cloth under the rock, but we cut out where the flowers are.

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    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 6:14PM
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I need to build a retaining wall, can I use things like old tires or cement from demolished buildings?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 8:11PM
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If those are petunias they would prefer full sun, which they may not be getting from being so close to the house.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 9:28PM
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I'm curious about where you got the "easy to clean" notion in relation to rock "mulch", but whatever.

General rule: people plant perennials too close together and annuals too far apart. You're asking a lot of very few annual plants. If you want a lush bed of annuals there this year, I think you need to spring for a few more pots of petunias.

Rock is a very hot mulch and the reflected heat will sometimes impede the growth of all but a very few real scorcher loving plants. Of course, even in SC, you really haven't hit the peak of the heat, so that's probably not be your problem right now (although it could become a problem).

Maybe you used a nice potting mix in those pots but did little if any amending of the soil in that bed? Might just be that the plants in the pot have their feet in medium with better tilth and nutrition.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 10:59AM
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This may be too heavy but how did you expect your annuals to grow in those conditions? Think about it: the conditions are similar to that yellow line down the highway. That yellow line is an acrylic paint. Did you want something unlike a yellow line down the highway here are is "easy to clean" the main consideration?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 6:34PM
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Tha annuals may not like the rock "mulch" if gets very hot, but still, those annuals grow by expanding root system deeper in the soil, so in theory they could grow well ...

My question is, what's under the landscape cloth? Is there deep lovely crumbly garden soil?
The level of that bed area does not look raised at all and so I wonder if the petunias are planted in compacted yard dirt with landscape cloth and rock on top-if so they would struggle.

Also true that there are several other issues with how it looks, but soil conditions may be another reason why the pots--with potting soil, I assume--are doing better.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 7:36PM
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Thanks for all of the replies. We did amend the soil with miracle grow before planting them. Following suggestions, we have already added more plants to the bed.

As far as being easy to clean, I just use the blower. The rocks don't blow away.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 11:13AM
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