daily verbena wilt

njitgradJune 23, 2014

For the past few days my containered white verbenas are showing signs of wilt in the evening. After the first time I noticed it, I quickly applied a watering with Dyna-Gro 9-3-6 (dilluted per instructions). The next morning they instantly perked up wonderfully. By evening the foliage looked droopy again. Not wanting to overwater them I left them alone and low and behold this morning they were perky again. Even this afternoon when I snapped the shot below in the direct sun. The containers I use are extremely well draining (notice the water dripping from the drain holes in the pic) so it can't be from over or even underwatering. My understanding is that they are tolerant of underwatering anyway. Any advice?

This post was edited by njitgrad on Mon, Jun 23, 14 at 14:42

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

your plant is stressed due to water management problems ... it was not hungry ...

you have a lot of plant.. in a small container.. in what appears to be full sun ...

if the pot and the media.. can not hold enough water.. thru the day ... to keep the plants turgid.. full of water ... then it will flop ...

either up pot.. which wont work in your situation ...

or move it to enough shade.. that it can tolerate the water usage ...

what about the other side of the house.. if this is south facing ...

you might.. next year.. find a plant that can handle the situation ...

ken

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 9:07AM
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njitgrad

I only planted three verbenas per container. I thought that was adequate for the space the were going in but they have really spread out.

Each time I water the plants I actually have to stand back a few feet and use a shower nozzle with a long wand attachment to avoid backsplash from the water pouring out of the drain holes and landing on the deck. There is no chance at all that my soil is ever too wet. It literally drains out almost right away (except for the water that is captured in the small reservoir at the bottom of the container which bottom-waters the roots as needed).

Regarding sun, I assumed Verbenas love full sun. My deck faces east and my deck railings get full sun from dawn to about 4pm, At least 8 hours of direct sun.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 4:58PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I suspect the water runs through so quickly because there is so much root mass compared to soil. I would try watering mid day to see if that prevents the wilting later on. Then you'll know whether the wilt is from inadequate water or not. I would have thought verbena would be a good choice for sun, but maybe they aren't as drought tolerant as others. Maybe try some of the smaller zinnias? Or petunias? Both of those aren't they same style of bloom you get with the verbena. Maybe Allysum? Good luck.

Martha

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 6:54AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I expect that it's a function of too much root volume for the size container. But what does the soil FEEL like? Dig down a bit in the morning to feel the soil moisture with your fingers, as well as in the afternoon when it wilts.

Your verbena, which ARE sun tolerant, are wilting in the afternoon because they can't take water in fast enough to match their evapotranspirational output. That they recover at night is normal.

You can take some of the pressure off the plants by not fertilizing as often, and placing the conainer where it gets afternoon shade. Using fewer plants in that container is a good idea. If your potting medium is as porous and fast draining as you say, then healthy roots will grow like gangbusters. That's a good thing! And so is having to water every day. Plants love love all of that fresh, oxygenated water as long as the potting medium drains great.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 5:58PM
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susanzone5(z5NY)

If your potting mix is all peat, it may be so dry that it doesn't soak up any water at all and that's why the water drains through immediately. You may have to use different potting mix that holds the water.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 10:40AM
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rosiew(8 GA)

I've used a big galvanized container filled with water to dunk baskets, leaving them in the water for about 20 minutes. This gives them a really good soaking.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 7:44AM
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njitgrad

It's not all peat AFAIK. I believe its just MG potting mix that I re-used from my tulip bulb containers. All I did was add in a little Osmocote CRF prior to filling the containers with the re-used potting mix.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 3:34PM
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david883(5/6)

I have a few containers that I went a little overboard (more than three plants in a small-ish container) and water runs right through it. It is probably, as everyone mentioned, tons of roots, very little dirt/media. Unless you want to try to pull them out, remove one and add more dirt I'd soak it. Get a watering can and just slowly pour the water in so you can get as much of it to stay in there as possible. Not ideal but I'm doing this with one of mine right now. Or, do what Ken suggested - move it to a shadier spot so it doesn't get so thirsty so fast.

I love verbena but it would not grow for me to save my life. I bought one that was "Peach" something or other (white flowers with little peachy centers). Oh well.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 6:16AM
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