Dropping leaves and browning Pittosporum Marjorie Channon

socalgreenthumbMay 13, 2013

Hi There,
I recently bought (2) 5 gallon Pittosporum Marjorie Channon shrubs and planted them in little bit bigger plastic containers. The plants when I bought them were in an area of the nursery that received a lot of sun. I am in Los Angeles, CA. Where they are now, they receive about 6 hours of good AM sun and then are in the shade for the rest of the day on a second story balcony. The recent heat spell and raise in temps over the last weeks looks like it is killing them off, the leaves are dropping and browning and shriveling up. However the one that gets the most amount of sun is doing better, yet is starting to drop leaves and brown a bit as well. Soil is still damp so they dont need water and I am good at NOT over watering. I thought these were hardy plants kind of like a box-wood (which are next to the "pittos" and doing fine. I attached a picture of the one that gets less sun. Any thing I can do or not do to save them?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


hardiness has nothing to do with you transplanting them .. eh???

all trees lose there leaves ... as they age ...

and transplant/stressors increase such.. especially interior leaves.. which are the oldest ....

life is all in the buds.. and if it is sacrificing interior leaves .... to maintain the new stuff.. you are winning ...

you mention nothing about how you up-potted.. nor the media.. nor your watering protocol [good on not overwatering] ... so we have nothing else to go on ...

water deeply and then let them NEAR dry before watering again .. do NOT drown them.. roots need air as much as water.. insert finger and find out.. it is not a schedule thing ....

just give them time to 'get over it' ... and ....

good luck


ps: i would have put them in full shade for a week or two .. to GOI ... lol.. get over it.... but you dont have that option .... just be patient.. and focus on the tip growth.. rather than the older leaves ....

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 7:41AM
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Hi Ken,

Thanks for the reply, I will wait and see. I always test with a finger before watering and usually let them get pretty dried out.

Thanks again,


    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 5:41PM
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It looks like your shrubs are dried out.
Did you use perilite in the potting mix? Does the
water run through the pot pretty fast?
Personally, I wouldn't grow these in pots. I think they
are much happier in the ground. (at least for me they are, they get big very fast).
Mabey research for a plant that will do better in a pot for your zone.
Some shrubs and trees do fine in pots, and some are extremely hard to keep in pots. Like Rhodos, and gardenias.
They will live in pots when they are little, but really, they are never really happy in a pot.
Do you know what I mean?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 10:54PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

This is a very vigorous shrub that will get 10-12 feet in the ground and I agree with previous poster that it is not very well suited to container culture. The severe heat may have come at exactly the wrong time (i.e. immediately after re-potting) especially if you disturbed the root ball to any degree, which is always better done during the dormant season. They're tough but should go into the ground as soon as possible, if possible, but your reference to a second story balcony may mean that you don't have an 'in ground' garden.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 9:59AM
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I have the same issue with 55 Pit-Marj-Channons and discovered a green twist tie girdling the plants. Plenty of water and great drainage but were doomed. I can sent pics if anyone is interested.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 2:04PM
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