Yellowing leaves on new honeysuckle plant. Can you explain this?

peterk312April 6, 2011

Planted a new honeysuckle vine (lonicera japonica) in a container 15" square by about 14" deep. I didn't disturb the roots too much because the vine is flowering. I only spread the roots a bit at the bottom and filled in the container with coarse gravel at the bottom and a compost/perlite/peat moss blend. I gave it some Lilly Miller "Vitamin B1 plant starter," which contains chelated iron, at the recommended amount (supposed to help prevent transplant shock). I was careful to not overwater but only did until the water started coming out of the drainage hole. I'm watering when the soil is dry, about every 5-6 days. Problem is the plant has begun getting yellow leaves both at the bottom and throughout. But note: the yellowing is only the oldest leaves, at the base of each leaf starting from where a leaf joins the stem (the petiole). New growth looks okay. There's no sign of the kind of yellow mottling with green veins that indicates typical iron deficiency. The yellowing is happening from the petiole on older leaves. It's not overwhelming, but it's enough so that I can tell it is progressing. I see no signs of spider mites. Plant is outside and getting about 6 hours of direct sun. It's been exposed to some windy conditions, and I don't know if the leaves can get damaged at the petiole and then start yellowing. Could it be a nitrogen deficiency? The plant was in very light potting soil and was bone dry when I bought it about three weeks ago. Is the yellowing that I describe indicative of some other nutrient deficiency?

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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

First, B1 is a consumer product dreamt up on Madison Ave, not in a botany lab. Second, thank you for all the detail - rare here. Third, iron deficiency in a potting soil is rare. Could be N deficiency with that potting soil. In the future, you may want to mix fertilizer in the soil when you blend and pot up, as that is a bit lean, esp for a plant in flower, and forced to endure the conditions you describe prior to purchase. Give it a squirt of liquid fert, maybe 1/2 - 3/4 strength and a regular light dose maybe every 10 days of 1/2 strength and see if that works.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 10:02AM
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Here's a picture of the lower part of the plant. You can see how the yellowing starts at the petiole of each leaf.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 11:26AM
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Hi Peter,

Are you aware Japanese Honeysuckle is HIGHLY invasive? I've heard sooo many horror stories of people planting it, and having it take over their yard! Maybe you have had a different experience with it, but I thought I should warn you, just in case. But if you don't have the problem with it being invasive, I hope your problem improves!(: Here's a link that you might find useful:

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 3:07PM
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jibd: You say, "Are you aware Japanese Honeysuckle is HIGHLY invasive? I've heard sooo many horror stories..."

HIGHLY invasive -- in a container? I doubt this practice threatens any eco-system. And if it took over someone's backyard I think someone wasn't paying enough attention, no?

Thanks for the link. Nice photos of Hall's honeysuckle. I love the flowers of this plant, but I can't seem to get it to flourish the way I'd like in a container. I'd settle for the leaves to stop yellowing after a dose of fertilizer. The weather has been warming so I'm waiting to see improvement.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 12:55PM
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Hello Peter,

Woops, must have skipped over that part about it being in a container! I agree, the flowers are attractive, and as aggressive as it is, the smell is very nice. That's very astute of you to plant it in a container to control it. Happy spring!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 9:21PM
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