My Sweet Olive's Leaves Feel Brittle....

moonwolf_gwDecember 16, 2010

Hi everyone,

I think I let my sweet olive get too dry. The leaves have lost their glossiness and I don't see anymore signs of flowers. They feel very brittle. I did water it though and it started looking like this just last week. Is there any hope?

Brad AKA Moonwolf

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meyermike_1micha(5)

Hi Brad...

They are very resilient plants..I have done the same..
You might even loose all the leaves and a couple of branches..
Just give it time, make sure it is in a very porous mix and provide lot's of light. If you should loose all the leaves, let us know..ok

Good luck..These are magnificent plants..

Mike

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 10:24AM
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moonwolf_gw

Hi Mike,

The mix I have it in is MG potting soil with added MG perlite. It's still in the south window. I have get my plants watered today so I'll give it another good drink today. I'll keep an update going to let you know how she's doing.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 10:53AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Brad, are you sure that the soil dried out?

Miracle Grow is terrible potting soil. You can't really add enough Perlite to make it better, either...
not until your mix is almost 100% Perlite. Most growers have a terrible time growing healthy and
attractive plants in bagged potting soil - with only a few exceptions.

Did you rinse out the Perlite dust before adding it to the potting soil?

Sometimes, when the soil doesn't dry out, the roots suffocate...which means that they can't
take up any moisture. So the plant seems to be drying out, when it's actually drowning/suffocating.

Josh

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 5:04PM
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moonwolf_gw

Hi Josh,

Yep, the soil was dry. It's in a clay pot too, which means it dries out faster than if it were in a plastic pot.
I didn't rise the perlite (never have) and most of the plants I repotted/potted into the soil have done well.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 5:54PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Did you check the soil in the middle and bottom of the pot, too?
(I just want to cover all bases to give you the best advice possible).

Your plants will do much better if you pot them in an appropriate mix, guaranteed.

Another problem with potting soil is hydrophobia. Once the mix dries, it can be very
hard to thoroughly re-moisten. When the peat shrinks, it can actually kill/disturb the
fine root-hairs. Then, once saturated again, it stays wet longer than prudent.

Sounds like you're going to be fighting a losing battle until you get your mix sorted.

Josh

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 6:14PM
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moonwolf_gw

I have a moisture meter that I use (I haven't lately, though) on all my plants. I'll keep a close eye on them should anything else occur.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 7:10PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Moisture meters measure electrical conductivity.

If you put the moisture meter in distilled water, it will read 'Dry.'
If you add a little salt to that water, the meter will register 'Wet.'
Not the best method of measuring moisture.

A chop-stick or a kabob skewer would be far more effective.

Josh

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 7:18PM
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moonwolf_gw

I have bamboo stakes on hand if they'll work?

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 9:03PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yes, those will work!
If the container is shallow enough, even a tooth-pick will suffice.
Just stick the stake into the pot, as far down as it'll go, leave it a few minutes
and then slide it back out to feel for moisture. I leave a skewer in several containers
all the time, so I don't have to wait to see if they come out with detectable moisture.
In the exceptionally gritty mixes, it can be hard to tell when the mix is dry because the
upper inches dry out so quickly (eventhough there's plenty of available moisture below).

Let us know if the Sweet Olive perks back up!

Josh

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 9:16PM
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moonwolf_gw

Thanks, Josh! I will keep everyone updated on how she does! I'll say a prayer for Kakyuu tonight for sure!

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 11:03PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Actually, it is perfectly possible to grow healthy plants in bagged potting soil. Millions of folks have done it for generations. Some products are better than others, for certain...and it does take some care in learning how to water properly with the typical commercial potting medium.

It's easier to grow containerized plants in a non-peat based medium, at least for most who attempt it. But certainly not required for success.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 11:24PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Actually, that depends on the level of vitality or 'health' with which one is satisfied.
There are exceptions, of course, but they don't prove the rule. Not all plants abhor bog-like conditions...
and some growers can provide adequate light/warmth/circulation to keep the plant actively drawing moisture.
That said, it's nigh impossible to argue that two plants differently potted (one in peat, one in porous mix)
but in the same location won't display a marked difference in vitality.

"Most growers have a terrible time growing healthy and
attractive plants in bagged potting soil - with only a few exceptions"

Josh

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 12:41AM
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