calibrachoa puzzlement

roxanna(z5b MA)June 15, 2014

I bought two gorgeous cali hanging baskets and within two weeks, they completely wilted and died. They were in full sun for 6-8 hours, and the soil was kept moist. Oddly, they never seemed to dry off at all, so I did not add more water. There were drainage holes in the containers... What in the world happened??

SO, I bought some more cali hanging baskets from another nursery, which likewise have begun to show symptoms of the same problem. What is going on with cali this year? Is anyone having a similar problem?

Any suggestions as to cause OR solutions would be greatly appreciated!

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i dont know what a cali is.. and when i google it.. i come up with a cactus ... which would not look good in a basket ...

i would talk with your seller...about your watering methods ... unless it was bigboxstore .. then ask them about the faucet ...


    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:03AM
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My calibrachoas did the same thing. They are doing better in part shade...not as many flowers, but not so wilted looking anymore. Really not pleased with this year's variety.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:11AM
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My calibrachoas did the same thing. They are doing better in part shade...not as many flowers, but not so wilted looking anymore. Really not pleased with this year's variety.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:12AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

My Calibrachoas did the same thing as well. No more Calibrachoas.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:17AM
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roxanna(z5b MA)

ARRRGGGHHHH. I suppose there is some comfort in not being the only one having problems, but darn it all! This is most disturbing. I love calibrachoa as they are so cheerful, and the "new" double ones are adorable. Guess they may have been overbred?

First the Impatiens disaster, now this. And the price of annuals is too high, IMO. Maybe it's time for me to find another pastime instead of gardening... =(

Thanks for posting, everyone.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:29AM
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I grow them for the second season in full sun on a south facing balcony.
Great stuff gor me.

What I noticed though was indeed some wilting, two smaller branches looked bad. At closer inspection it turned out that those stems were broken, not completely but with an funny angle.

Perhaps yours had snapped at the main stem? They are brittle and were perhaps handled careless at the shop?

Did you search for some disease in the internet? Haven't heard of a big problem (like Clematis wilt). And if the whole plant dies it points to fungus.

They perform so great for me, so I wonder what factors could be involved in your case.

Good luck, bye, Lin

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 2:04AM
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I think that the soil they put those plants in is not the right material. I also have had those hanging baskets die. If the soil dries out its like a brick and wont absorb the water . If you keep it watered its like a sponge and wont drain properly.

This year I bought the single plants and put them in my own hanging pots with miracle grow potting soil and they are doing fine.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 3:47PM
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Calibrachoa require an acid soil growing environment, and if the growing medium is not in a pH range of 5.5 to 5.8 (which is fairly acidic), you can expect trouble.

If you water them with water that is on the alkaline side, you can shift the growing medium from acidic toward alkaline, with catastrophic results. Many water supplies are on the alkaline side, and should not be used on Calibrachoa. Rain water or distilled water should not shift the growing medium pH, but if the growing medium is already on the alkaline side, they might not solve the problem either. Miracle-Gro has an acid formula product for acid loving plants which might solve the problem. There are inexpensive pH meters which could be used to monitor your Calibrachoa's growing medium pH. For more information, google Calibrachoa soil pH

(Not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)

This post was edited by zenman on Wed, Jun 18, 14 at 13:14

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 12:41PM
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I have bought a hanging pot that has calibrachoa in for quite a few years. I've learned they can't dry out much or that will really hurt them. So back several yrs ago, I bought a clear plastic saucer to place beneath the pot. My hubby attaches it to the hanging pot. These saucers come up about 4" on the sides. When I water them, I usually make sure that the water comes up about 2". I water them when the soil feels dry in the pots. This has come in so handy because I don't have to water every day.
Roxanna, you mentioned that the soil didn't get dry. Could this be root rot? I read here on a GW forum that some pots were made where they didn't drain well and the roots were always wet. There was something inside the pot that was stopping the water from draining well. When they took this out, it drained well. It was in the bottom of the pot. Could this be your problem...bad drainage? I use Doctor Shultz liquid fertilizer for some of my plants. It's 10-15-10. I use it every other week. I've been using that for years, and it works well.
Hope you get your problem solved.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 5:32AM
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Are you fertilizing? They are heavy feeders. It is also possible to get too much sun . I have to grow them on the deck because my front gets brutal mmorning to mid day sun.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 9:03PM
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I've got two yellow ones that are going gangbusters, one white that's okay, and two blues and one red that really suck. Slightly different leaves on non-yellow ones; are they hybrids? Could this be the problem?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 4:01PM
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The lady we got ares from, said water everyday.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 12:53PM
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I noticed the same problem with mine - a huge, gorgeous basket out front that withered and died, while the two in my backyard thrive happily. Having read the Miracle Gro comment above, I'm inclined to believe it - the ones in the back got fertilized much more often than the one in the front, as they're by my roses. They also seem to like part shade.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 9:57AM
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Already mentioned are drainage problems, lack of regular watering, and the need for regular fertilization. But also at some point the plants just get overgrown for the pot. I started these just as small single plants. I occasionally get wilting and just cut back those stems. I think it is from stress (heat), and overwatering will just make things worse.

In larger pots, they are getting leggy.

This post was edited by mantis__oh on Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 14:00

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 10:51PM
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I think you are watering way too much. Calibrachoa only need moderate moisture, they don't need to be kept moist. Let the soil dry out an inch or two below the surface before watering again. They also need full sun, so they are probably in a good area for that, however, if you live someplace really hot, like AZ, they may need some afternoon shade. Also, flowering pots in containers really need regular feeding. I hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to grow calibrachoa

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 7:25PM
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I am having the same problem with mine. They have been great every other year. It's very frustrating because I put a lot of time, effort and money into my flower gardening. I tried the fertilizer but that didn't help. Now that it's the end of August, it's probably too late since I am in Northern Minnesota and our weather will be getting cold soon. I am hoping that next year will be different.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 10:56AM
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