Return to the Annuals Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

Posted by linnea56 z5 IL (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 10, 12 at 13:02

I have many planters on my front patio, which gets full morning sun til 1 pm, then house shade afterward. They have mostly foliage like yellow and purple sweet potato vine, variegated English ivy, a dark, almost black coleus; and then I add flowering annuals.

This year I put petunias in them, with the foliage plants. The petunias died with a bang. Maybe it was shock, I took them from a greenhouse environment, then into these large planters. I kept the planters in the shade for a week, then moved them onto the patio. Dead within days. These were quart sized petunias, not little rootbound six packs. I was thinking it was too much sun. Everything else in them is flourishing, and those also came from the same greenhouse. The sweet potato vine has doubled in size. The coleus also looks great. I water whenever the pots get dry, which is usually every other day.

But then I realized the ones on the back deck had also died, though they took longer to die: and those have dappled shade most of the day.

What can I replace them with, that can tolerate full morning sun? I bought an assortment of things with the right color, but then I decide to ask here first.

Coleus? Impatiens? Snapdragons? Geraniums? Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

Hmmmm. Another case of powdery mildew?


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

Hmmm... that is strange about the Petunias.

For the replacement, I would go with the Coleus. I have a big planter on my porch steps that has yellow SPV, several dark Coleus, and snaps - mini ones about 6" tall.

There's also a big funky Dahlia sticking up in the middle. It decided it liked the pot well enough to come back from last year but has yet to do anything but make plain green leaves, not a constant bloomer. A focal point pot is not a place for boring leaves unless they belong to something that's always blooming, IMO. The Dahlia's twin in the ground nearby finally has a fat bud. Cool over there, boring in a pot. When it's not too hot and the urge hits me, I'm going to dig that Dahlia out of the pot and replace it with something that has more interesting leaves. The little snaps bloom in spurts and between blooms kind of look like grass clumps at a glance. I think I will put more Coleus in mine instead of trying to fuss with more blooms. Coleus never have a boring day... until it frosts.

I think if you keep it moist enough for Coleus and SPV, Geraniums (Pelargoniums?) would rot.


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

because they hate you .. why else???

fresh media in the pot??? .. if not.. how many years old???

ken


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

It didn't look like mildew. The petunias shrivelled and died as though they hadn't been watered...but they had.

That's good to know, that the geraniums like it drier than do coleus and sweet potato vine.

I have big red spikes (I forget the name) planted in the middle of the largest pots, so they don't get emptied completely. The smaller pots get started over from scratch each year.


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

Ha ha! I love Ken's "they hate you answer"!!! I had several annuals in hanging baskets and two huge floor planter pots die off on me. A few I figured were not enough or too much sun... live and learn. HOWEVER some of them... just hated me. I had two different varieties of begonias (I don't know the exact ones). I had 4 in a large planter... dead. I had one in a hanging basket... dead. Other annuals that have hated me this year: lobelia, fuchsia, a few calibrachoa types, a few creeping verbenas, iceland poppies (or they could be a perennial... this one frustrates me), double impatiens... There are a few more I think but its too depressing to think about ha ha. Coleus, lantana, potato vine, purslane, snap dragons, dwarf cleome... all have done wonderfully (or at least are still alive). This is why I was trying to stay away from annuals :(


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

Linnea, I think I've seen what your talking about. They look fine one day, look a little wilted the next and then never recover.... Just dry up. I wish I could tell you what it was or how to prevent it but my Only guess is some type of stem rot that kills off the top part. Sometimes only a couple stems die, usually the whole plant goes.

I try to plant them a little high, not so much that the root ball dries out but enough so that there's not any extra soil around the stems.


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

I wonder if, when you were watering, that the root balls of the petunias stayed dry for some reason.


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

Kato_b, that's just what it does look like. No sign of illness. No apparent damage to stem. I've had a couple more do it since I posted. I'm going to try a few petunias from a different greenhouse (the original one was far away). If they die too, I'll assume it's not the stock, at least: some thing else.

I know at the very least that they should have been planted in cool weather, to get established before things get hot. This really nice distant green house I pass by on my way home from an art fair in Indianapolis, which is in early June. So I can't really justify going there earlier in spring. Locally I'm usually not impressed with the choices. Lots and lots of the same old things.

Rhizo. I was thinking that too. The roots certainly did not get a chance to grow out into the medium. Planting later, annuals are more likely be already rootbound. These were quarts, though, and didn't look rootbound. I'll make more of an effort to tease out the roots next time.


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

You almost have to set the pots in water for about 15 minutes in order for some of that non-soil potting medium to soak up the water. Time consuming but worth it. I also suspect old soil since I'm new to this theory. All I can say is, wait til next year when all my pots (aargh, all?) get new soil.
Pat


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

I have decided to do the soaking trick, which someone suggested on the perennials forum. I did it with eveything I planted last week, both perennials and annuals, though it's too soon to tell if it worked.


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

If the roots are surrounded with something that needs to be soaked to accept water (peat,) I would remove as much of that as possible before planting.


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

Were these white Waves by any chance? I've bought six of them over the last two months and only one made it. Could be diseased plants from the source. Incidentally I tried to buy white trialing in plugs earlier this year. The order was due to ship, then I noticed the seller showed no inventory.

Called them and asked. They said they detected a disease, destroyed all of them. They also contacted their source in ??, some Central American country. They too had signs of the disease.


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

No, they were a variety of different colors, and none of them waves. I'm blaming the peaty medium they were planted in. Most of the cheap petunias that were in root bound little six packs are doing just fine! Next time I will remove the peat, tease out the roots really well, and put in fresh potting mix.


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

Petunias in quart sized pots may look good but they may also be at the end of their life and maybe potbound too.

Buying the small packs are best when growing annuals. If they were grown in peat moss as many commercially grown plants are they need a good soaking before planting. When I plant any plant I take it out of the pot and examine the roots. If it is dry I run the hose over the exposed roots. I always put water in the planting hole too That gets the moisture where the roots are and gets them off to a good start

I never change all the soil in my pots. I take the soil out of the large ones and mix in new soil in the wheel barrow at a ratio of 2/3 old soil 1/3 new soil and compost. I have been doing this for years and my plants do just fine in it


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

(I'm usually in the dahlia section but have experience about this)

Granted the weather conditions in your area and mine are diametrically opposed, but I plant MANY types of plants in my fog shrouded yard and have had many failures and many successes as well.

I love petunias and fill in my annual spaces with many colors every year. This year I took out a rose that I killed and bought one of those quart pots of that lovely light orange pet you often see in late spring/early summer in the garden centers. Planted it in a huge 14" across pot and from day one, it started dying. Just like yours. Lost its blooms first and usually they will recover and re-bloom only this one just kept shrinking into nothing. I finally admitted I had wasted $4 and bought a sixer of standard red, planted it in the same soil, gave it the same water and it is FLOURISHING.

This is actually unusual because our summer fog usually thwarts any immediate growth, much less blooms, but so far the 'wet' nights haven't caused it any harm.

Having had this happen before, I am guessing that as someone else said, the quart pot was either near the end OR you just get a bad (petunia) plant sometimes, just like a bad rose or dahlia. I've learned it takes grit, a thick skin and a wheelbarrow full of cash to keep the yard looking spiffy all season.

Unfortunately, I am out of almost all.


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

I'm having the same problem, petunias look fine for the 1st week or two after planting and suddenly shrivel and die. I'm obsessed with trying to figure out what this is. I originally bought at least 30 petunia plants of various types from several different nurseries and as they died I replaced them with the same results. They were planted in larger containers along with other plants that are fine, What are the chances of a disease from so many different nurseries?


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

I'm having the same problem, petunias look fine for the 1st week or two after planting and suddenly shrivel and die. I'm obsessed with trying to figure out what this is. I originally bought at least 30 petunia plants of various types from several different nurseries and as they died I replaced them with the same results. They were planted in larger containers along with other plants that are fine, What are the chances of a disease from so many different nurseries?


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

Just knocking this post up, hoping someone responds.


 o
RE: Why did all my petunias in my planters die so quickly?

  • Posted by zenman Ottawa KS 5b (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 22, 12 at 18:57

Hi grny28,

I am going to refer to The Ortho Problem Solver, seventh edition on this, because I am no expert on Petunias (zinnias are my "thing").

The book's coverage on Petunia problems starts on page 262 and continues onto page 264. It has articles on Gray Mold (everywhere in the US), Smog Damage (limited to relatively small coastal areas), Caterpillars, Cutworm Damage, and the last article on Crown and Root Rot (everywhere in the US) seems the most likely culprit.

Crown and Root Rot is caused by Phytophthora (I don't think you can say that without spitting a little), a fungus that lives in the soil. It initially attacks the roots or stem at or just below the soil level. The dark dry decay of the lower stem tissue and roots reduces the flow of water to the leaves and flowers, causing the petunia to wilt and die. Crown and Root Rot is common in heavy poorly drained wet soils. The fungus (Phytophthora) is spread by contaminated soil, transplants, and tools.

The solution is to remove and destroy infected plants and all the soil within 6 inches of their roots. How do you destroy soil? Well, I guess you could throw it into an incinerator, but I would just put it a plastic bag and send it to the landfill with the rest of the garbage.

To prevent a recurrence of Crown and Root Rot, you should improve your soil drainage and drench it with a fungicide containing Captan. That's what the Ortho book says. Repeat the drench monthly during the growing season and let the soil dry out between waterings. I try to avoid problems of this sort with my zinnias by adding a lot of sand to my garden soil to create a sandy loam, and I add Perlite to my indoor growing medium to increase its drainage.

"They were planted in larger containers along with other plants that are fine, What are the chances of a disease from so many different nurseries?"

Many plants aren't susceptible to Phytophthora, and the problem is in your soil or growing medium, and not at the different nurseries.

ZM
(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Annuals Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here