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Sad-looking Lewisia

Posted by Jenn 9 (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 23, 05 at 22:42

Last year I purchased this Lewisia at a local native plant sale in southern California. It had those to-die-for variegated flowers. I potted it in gravelly soil in this pot and tried to give it the proper care.

Now, it is nothing but a small rosette (smaller than the one in the picture, taken 1 year ago) with dried up lower leaves and no blooms. I hasn't bloomed since I bought it.

Where did I go wrong? It has gotten part sun and I do not believe I over-watered it.

We have heavy clay soil so forget planting it in the garden.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Sad-looking Lewisia

hi, you said you potted it on getting it, have you repotted since? I think they can be quite greedy so perhaps do a complete repot, ie carefully remove the existing compost and put back in fresh compost in the same pot, rather than putting it with the old compost into a larger one. Others will chime in but I think you can do that in the autumn. Other than that, perhaps it's been a bit too dry?

RE: Sad-looking Lewisia

  • Posted by Cady 6b/Sunset34 MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 28, 05 at 10:29

I have several and potted them up with containers that would allow them to "breathe," and mixed good potting compost with grit so that they would get that paradoxical blend of "sharply drained but humus-rich" soil.

One has bloomed three times (!) since I bought it in February, another has bloomed twice and the rosette is getting bigger.

The trick is having that humus-rich soil with sharp drainage. If you have access to garden compost of high quality, try mixing it with gravel and coarse sand (2 parts compost to 2.5 parts grit), and give it a large pot. And, use pebbles as mulch around the plant rosette to keep dampness away from the rosette.

Hope that helps.

RE: Sad-looking Lewisia

Cady is right about the soil mix being gritty.
My two plants (I am in Santa Maria, California) are now
in spike or flower (April 14).
Do you grow any Dudleya? Same soil mix is good.
Also the way it is grown is important too!
I got my hanging on the side of my greenhouse with the
bottom of the CLAY pot against the side of the greenhouse.
I use medium soft wire to tie it all up and I use scrap
shade cloth or even fine hardware cloth would work to
cover the part of the soil that would be below the plant
once it is hung up. Leave some space between the soil ball
and the side of the clay pot on the top part. You will want
to squirt water into here.
My plants get direct sun from about 930AM to about 3PM??
Keep forgetting to check the time.
The best time to water is at night. In the daytime you may
mist the leaves lightly.
Once the plants are growing the leaves will not droop down
and even though on their side will be erect! Droop means I am thirsty! These are great plants I have been wanting to
try for some time and just found some at OSH this past February. Will be glad to send images by email. Just email me.
The reason why most people kill these plants is too much shade + too much water! Pretend these are growing on the side of a cliff and imagine how they get watered etc.

RE: Sad-looking Lewisia

Did you give it some chilling time over the winter?

RE: Sad-looking Lewisia

My Lewisias ALWAYS look horrible in July if they don't go completely dormant. I live where it's dry enough to give them feet in clay, the crown in river rock and a bit of water twice a week. They look beautiful during the blooming season, and then they look horrible. A lot of things look like that in High Desert. Eh.


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