My plants are dying HELP!

eleonicaMay 31, 2009

My plants have been dying. I think i might be over watering but I'm not sure. I have a blueberry plant,strawberry, calla lily, chocolate cosmo, catnip and chocolate mint, mini roses, tomato and 3 fuchsia plants. all of my plants except the fuchsias are dying. they are turning yellow then becoming brittle. i water everything daily right after i get home from work. and fertilize every two weeks. I try to keep the fuchsias in the shade. everything else is in full sun, oh and all my plants are in pots on the balcony. all the pots have drainage holes.

any suggestions are appreciated.


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what kind of soil is in the pots?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 8:24AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

yes, did you use bagged potting soil and if so, what brand?

how long have you been watering every day? Just during this hot spell or since you potted them up?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 10:59AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The thing to do is stick your finger into the potting soil in some of the pots or even knock the ones (if any) that have filled the pots with roots out and look at the soil.

Watering on a rote schedule does not work because the need for watering varies with the warmth and dryness of the weather, the type of plant, and the texture and condition of the potting medium. You have to learn to assess the condition of each specimen and respond as required.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:52PM
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I don't remember the brand of potting soil i used, does it matter? What brands are good?

I've been watering everyday for about 2 months every since i re potted them.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 9:33PM
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Black Gold is good. No false pretenses. If your thumb is black there is no one to blame but you.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 11:11PM
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Could be overwatering, or lack of watering! Some pot/soil mix combinations/watering methods can result in the water mostly running down the insides of the pot and out the bottom, leaving the soil near the pot center dry.

But if it took many weeks for the plants to yellow, overwatering is more likely.

"Stick the finger into the potting soil": Yes.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 12:32AM
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Water meters are helpful. Get a longish one and it will show you just how wet / dry any spot is.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 8:44AM
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Good potting soil is critical. A poor soil can hold too much water, essentially drowning your plants (starving them of oxygen). Watering on a daily basis or any sort of schedule can also be very detrimental - you need to water when the plants need it or when the soil is dry. Consistantly watering already fully saturated soil only exacerbates the problem.

Without knowing more details about the type of potting soil and the size pots involved, I'd guess that overwatering is likely the culprit. Personally, I don't find moisture meters to be very accurate - I prefer to test the soil with the finger method (poke index finger down into the soil as far as you can - if the soil feels moist, you're good. If it feels dry, water) or by lifting the pot if a small container. A light, easy to lift pot is dry.

I grow a lot of plants in containers - right now my ENTIRE garden consists of containers :-) But I do not have a need to water daily. I do check them all on a daily basis but water only as needed, maybe every third day. But I know how my potting soil works and most containers are quite large.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 10:25AM
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thane(z8 Bellevue, WA)

Since we're on the topic, how do you all like Cedar Grove's organic potting soil? And what are your other favorites?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 2:45PM
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This has been a very taxing year for many plants. The overlong cold suddenly changed to sweltering dry heat. It has affected many plants in my garden. Especially new starts, both flowers and veggies. When it was cold, you don't want to water them too much. But they still don't dig deep with their roots. Then it gets so hot that the roots can't keep it in moisture. So you either have to water all day or watch plants die that, in a normal year would do just fine. Today i noticed that the cucumbers i put in the ground much too early (it was too cold) are now starting to die now that we've had 4 days of +85 degree heat. Today it's 95 degrees in my garden on san juan island.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 5:56PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I lost at least a dozen plants last year from root rot when I used Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Soil. I also battled fungus gnats. I even lost fuchsias who I thought would love the moisture holding soil.

Commercial potting soils are not all the same.
I love Black Gold and won't stray again.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 9:27PM
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My plants are also dying! I have plants which I think are succulents. I have tried potting them in normal soil and Scott's cacti and succulent soil. I have tried inside and outside and different pots. I don't water and I keep them out in the sun now and they are dying. I have no idea what I am doing wrong. I have a photo.

I also have a Cordyline fruitcasa rubra and the end of leaves are going brown and crust. It doesn't have many leaves. I have tried this plant inside and outside hut no difference. I water it each day as it has been very hot. I have also noticed the stem where the leaves come there is some white dust looking stuff...I have no idea what this is, if it is normal or not good.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 8:20PM
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You really shouldn't need to water every day. If your potting soil is getting that dry within 24 hours, you need to pot up into a larger container.

Without knowing what type of fertilizer you're using, every two weeks also seems way too often. Most fuchsias don't need that much fertilizer. The potting soil you're using might have enough for a full year, and you can add slow-release fertilizer once a year afterwards. I don't grow vegetables, but I don't see why one would need to fertilize those more than once a year either.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 2:07PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The succulents in the last picture simply dried out - the potting soil looks as dry as the sands of the Sahara.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 3:05PM
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