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wilting Crocosmia

Posted by erin_in_portland 8 (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 15, 10 at 14:50

Hi there,

Inexperienced gardener here. We planted two Lucifer Crocosmias a week or two ago and though the plants look fairly good (though one of the plants has a crispy-looking leaf tip on one of its leaves), the flower stalks are wilting quite a bit. The flowers are still blooming well, but the stalks are bent over toward the ground.

Needless to say it's been HOT the last few days and quite warm since we've planted them. We've been watering every day basically. They are in an area where it gets full, direct sun all morning until 2 or 3pm.

The other detail I can think to tell you is that we have very clay-like soil which we dug large holes in for each plant (about twice as large as the root ball) and amended with about half of the native soil and half compost.

Any ideas what may be going on? Thanks in advance


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: wilting Crocosmia

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 15, 10 at 15:27

Prone to mites, which brown the foliage when numerous. Horizontal normal position of flower spikes. If remaining buds continuing to open, may be no problem with flowers.

Coarse soilless potting soil rootballs liable to lose water to finer-textured surrounding native soil during drought conditions, monitor moisture inside rootballs until establishment phase over (substantial rooting out has occurred).

Amending of backfill creates third zone of different texture new plant has to deal with. With "permanent" plantings such as woody plants and herbaceous perennials like 'Lucifer' preferable to plant in existing soil or if obviously unsuitable, to replace existing soil with "better" soil and then planting in that. Easiest thing is to buy good topsoil and dump it on the ground you don't like, plant in that - without mixing the two layers together. Same thing can be done with short-term plantings like flowering annuals and annual vegetables, with periods when these are not present also being used to dig in additional organic material if desired.

In all cases you want the plants to be in a uniform soil texture, with no pockets or zones of different material. These have undesirable effects on how water moves through the rooting area.

Here is a link that might be useful: Horticultural techniques for successful plant establishment


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RE: wilting Crocosmia

Thanks, but regarding the soil, there was conflicting advice here on gardenweb (make a dish-shaped amended area, make a deep hole of amended area like I did, amend just the top layer as you suggest here....) and I simply chose the most feasible approach given all the suggestions. At any rate, what's done is done. I'm looking for advice on what to do at THIS point, as I am not going to uproot the plants and redress the soil now.


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RE: wilting Crocosmia

It is a pretty tough time and weather to put crocosmias in the ground. In our SE Portland lot, the hot weather affects the leaves and blooms of even established, regularly watered crocosmia plants. Established plantings in deep mulch seem to look better, even those on commercial property.

If you can keep them alive, next year's plants may look better. Crocosmia increases in numbers quite rapidly.


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RE: wilting Crocosmia

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 16, 10 at 1:06

Actually, if there is a watering problem due to amending of the backfill digging the plants up and correcting their situation would be quite worthwhile. Perhaps even necessary for success.

Bad advice about gardening is abundant. You have to study the evidence behind and arguments for differing recommendations and then use that to sort out what is true and useful.


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RE: wilting Crocosmia

  • Posted by jean001 z8aPortland, OR (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 16, 10 at 1:09

If nothing else, rig temporary shade.


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RE: wilting Crocosmia

I rue the day I ever planted the stuff.... it pops up everywhere, and takes over totally. I am continually yanking it out. Don't worry.... no matter what you do, it will thrive!


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RE: wilting Crocosmia

Ha, yes!! What westgate said ... but seriously, clay soil holds water better than any other. Stick your finger in there--is it wet? Then you don't need to water every day. August is a challenging time to plant. Next year you'll probably have plenty of Lucifer. Amending soil in the planting hole is old advice, but don't worry about it this time. Worms and moles will continue to work on the soil mix and do the heavy work for you. Layer the compost on top next time.


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RE: wilting Crocosmia

I absolutely love our Lucifer Crocosmia, and they improve by making more each year! I think the OP is over watering, they don't mind heat and they don't mind a little thirst either.


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RE: wilting Crocosmia

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 22, 10 at 21:41

Not if the soil around the coarse potting soil is attracting water away from it. Plants installed with intact soilless potting soil rootballs can seem never to get enough water due to this phenomenon. What is happening in this particular instance depends on the specific variables involved.


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RE: wilting Crocosmia

  • Posted by botann z8 SEof Seattle (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 23, 10 at 17:22

The common orange variety is a ditch weed along the coast in southern Oregon and northern California. It likes water, but is so aggressive it can do fairly well in rather dry sites. In the right location, it's not too bad.

I planted some between my driveway and a pond that goes dry in the summer. Can't spread much in that location.
Crocosmia


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