azaleas, gardenias, portulacas, help! my garden looks bad.

mikexlawsonAugust 10, 2013

Here's the story. I recently bought my first home. My wife bought and planted all these flowers and bushes and kind of neglects them. I'm sick of looking at it, so I'm gonna take command of the garden. Any advice/instruction is GREATLY appreciated.

The garden consists of 2 azaleas between 2 gardenias with maybe 6 portulacas sprinkled in.

The problems:
One of the azaleas looks TERRIBLE like its dying, it's been like this maybe a month? The other one looks alright I guess.
One of the gardenias looks bad off, lots of yellow leaves, rarely any flowers on it, the other one doesn't have the yellow leaves but less flowers than it used to.
The portulacas seem to barely ever be blooming or showing flowers. Mostly closed and just there not looking pretty.

We live in Virginia Beach. I can add a photo if that'll help.

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west_gardener

Hi, welcome to the Garden Party and congratulations on your new house.
I live in CA and have somewhat figured out how to grow some of the plants you mentioned, but the climate in CA and VA are totally different. (I used to live in VA).
You may want to check out the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Virginia Gardening

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 6:16PM
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surya55_gw

Welcome Mike- good for you for taking control:-). Here are a few things to look into-

1. You didn't mention if the shrubs/plants are in shade or not, but it seems like this is the case. All of these plants require sunlight to grow and bloom consistently.
2. Please ask her if the soil was amended before she planted the shrubs- i.e.: peat moss mixed in with dehydrated cow manure or anything else that you may like.
3. Newly planted shrubs/plants/annuals require lots of water to get them going for the first few weeks until they put out deep roots.
4. Keep in mind, the gardenias/portulacas are annuals and may need to go indoors if you want to have them again next year. (Don't know the zone for VB). Goodluck with everything.

Nerry

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 2:13PM
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meldy_nva(z6b VA)

Hi Mike,
Welcome to the Party! We provide virtual pillows for headaches gotten when bang-head-on-wall takes place.

I'd guess that your wife doesn't garden either... so it's going to be up to you :) VB is officially plant zone 7B, but you'll have better luck buying plants that are happy in zone 8. Azaleas require some shade, the farther south you are, the more shade.. I'm zone 6B and put them in areas that are shady at least 1/2 the day. Established azaleas can do well even with little water, but do give them at least 5 gallons per inch-thickness at the plant's base if your area doesn't get an inch of rain for a month (yes, include 'winter'). Do keep their root area well-mulched with non-treated shredded leaves, wood chips, or bark. Portulacas demand full sun, all day. They do best in sandy well-drained soil, and water deeply once a week if it doesn't rain (deeply means you get a wet finger if you stick it in soil up to the knuckle). You and I are far enough south that most gardenias are considered perennial. Gardenias are noted for being persnickety: if the plant likes you it will do fine in sun to light shade, lightly mulched, and watered when the soil is dry. If the gardenia doesn't like you, buy a spirea which will bloom freely although scentless because spireas like anybody who will water them in drought, while nobody can convince a gardenia to bloom if it doesn't feel like it. If you bought the gardenia at a nursery, do get a replacement just in case the next gardenia likes you better.

Notice that either your azaleas or the portulaca will be unhappy with the amount of sun available.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 11:58AM
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west_gardener

meldy, very well said.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 6:11PM
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