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Coleus Mini-garden 'Tree' dying out in center

Posted by shelley_t z5 IL (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 5, 12 at 13:11

Hi,
Why would my coleus be dying out in the center?
It is part of a fairy garden from a florist, but I knew when I bought it there would be some issues:
1. Shallow bonsai type planter with the coleus shaped like a tree and 12 inches tall... seems like it would want more root space.
2. The "fine gold leaf" stonecrop is a succulent and I feared that it would certainly have different watering needs than the coleus. It did die and I have since replaced it with baby's tears which has a watering need more in keeping with the coleus... but they all have suffered from the ordeal.

The stonecrop was the first to go. I never have figured the right water level for this planter, but it is darling!

Thoughts to keep this little thing happy and vigorous?


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RE: Coleus Mini-garden 'Tree' dying out in center

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 5, 12 at 15:19

As soils become heavier (more water retentive), they are more difficult to grow in, they require greater skill/care with regard to watering habits, and the variety of plants you can bring along living happily side my side diminishes; while in a highly aerated soil that drains freely and doesn't support a soggy layer at the bottom of the pot, you can readily grow succulents (sedum) and coleus side by side. When using heavy soils, the problem also becomes more pronounced as the container gets shallower. This is because in a 12" deep container, a soil that supports a 3" deep soggy layer is only 25% saturated after a thorough watering, while a 4" deep container, using the same soil, is 75% saturated and a 3" deep container is 100% saturated after a thorough watering - not really conducive to growth for any plants, much less those that don't appreciate wet feet.

As to why the center is dying out of your coleus, we'd probably need a picture to get a better idea.

I'm going to link you to a thread that will help you deal with excess water retention. If you find it interesting or helpful, and you want to learn more, just ask, and I'll link you to a thread that explains how water behaves in container soils. I think an understanding of that concept represents the largest step forward a container gardener can take at any one time ..... except perhaps the first time you actually got your hands dirty. ;-)

You would normally consider a container only 1.5 - 2" deep a poor choice for cacti & succulents, but the right soil makes it easy.
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Al

Here is a link that might be useful: Tips here that WILL help.


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