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Black & Blue problem

May 22 2012 at 10:12 AM
  (Login hawkeye_wx)
Hummingbird lover 2009

One of my potted black & blues suddenly has a problem. The plant will look healthy and perky first thing in the morning, but when the sun hits it two of its stems quickly go limp. The stems are not broken and appear normal otherwise. This problem did not exist until the last few days. The only other notable thing about this plant is it was the last black & blue to be planted, so two weeks ago this one only had some tiny greet shoots while the others were already growing well, but it is growing the fastest of them all and has quickly become larger than the others. I'm not sure why. The two in-ground and two potted black & blues have all received two doses of half-strength 24-8-16 fertilizer this month. Any thoughts about limp stems or high growth rate?

This is what it looked like only one week ago. One of my in-ground black & blues had a solid head start on this potted one, but the in-ground one is still only about the size of the one in this photo.
[linked image]

This is today.
[linked image]

Close-up of the limp stems.
[linked image]

Dan
Zone 5
East-central Iowa

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This message has been edited by hawkeye_wx on May 22, 2012 10:14 AM


 
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(Login NLN)
Hummingbird Member 2005

Re: Black & Blue problem

May 22 2012, 10:40 AM 

Dan,

With the amount of growth, you should be getting just about as much root growth - and all those roots will need a lot more water.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, Louisiana USA
USDA Zone 9b
http://www.casacolibri.net/
[linked image]

 
 

(Login hawkeye_wx)
Hummingbird lover 2009

Re: Black & Blue problem

May 22 2012, 11:00 AM 

I've been keeping the potted plants watered pretty well because they have been drying out fairly quickly. The potted b&b that has the limp stems when in the sun is quite moist this morning and that did not help any.

If the stems continue to go limp in a few days I may just have to cut them off and hope no other stems do the same.

Dan
Zone 5
East-central Iowa

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(Login Sundodger)
Hummingbirders 2010

Re: Black & Blue problem

May 22 2012, 11:02 AM 

I think Nan nailed it (again). The leaves look nice and green so it's not a nutrient problem. Water more and it should be better. Especially since you say once the sun hits it for a couple of hours that it happens, that's a dead give away to me.

OK, I see Dan posted while I was typing, so, maybe if you have very good drainage in the pots you might think about flushing the roots and let it drain real good. There might be a salt build up around some of the roots and causing them not to be able to uptake the moisture fast enough in the sun.

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(Login hawkeye_wx)
Hummingbird lover 2009

Re: Black & Blue problem

May 22 2012, 11:06 AM 

Pete, the stems go limp almost immediately when the sun hits the plant. The obvious first guess is lack of water, so I gave it a real good soaking yesterday, but it has had no effect on the limpness.

Dan
Zone 5
East-central Iowa

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(Login Stevenindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Black & Blue problem

May 22 2012, 11:26 AM 

Dan

My first thought would also be lack of water. I believe I might try moving it into some partial shade for awhile till it develops a better root system.

Steve
Martinsville, In
Heat zone 6
Sunset zone 35

[linked image]




 
 


(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Black & Blue problem

May 22 2012, 11:30 AM 

since it is in a pot I would try moving it to a shadier location for a few days. It does seem like that one section may be drying out too quickly or the stem may be partially severed from the rest of the plant below the soil surface and not getting enough moisture to the stem

Penny
NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
North_Tonawanda.gif

 
 

(Login episcia)
Hummingbirder 2012

Black...

May 22 2012, 12:41 PM 

I've had the same problem with one of my Bee Balms. Just a couple of wilted stems and these plants have been in my flower bed since early spring. Also not lack of water. Maybe there is a slug or something in the dirt eating on the roots?

Sandi Sartain
East TN
Zone 6-7

 
 

(Login hawkeye_wx)
Hummingbird lover 2009

Re: Black & Blue problem

May 22 2012, 2:35 PM 

I'm wondering about something. The b&b with the badly wilting stem(which had to be cut off because it was too far gone) is one of the three b&bs that were overwintered in a cool basement with only some soil left on the clump of tubers/roots. When I replanted them 2-3 weeks ago I don't think I did a good job filling in the area under the plants' crowns with soil/potting mix. I obviously pushed soil/mix up against the plant, but it's quite possible there are some air pockets under the crowns. Could this have anything to do with what's going on? I think my wilting issue may be more extensive than just the one plant. The other two overwintered plants in the ground were also beginning to wilt and flop somewhat late this morning, despite the fact that I soaked them just yesterday and the weather isn't exactly scorching. It was 50 degrees this morning and still only in the 70s with bright sun. I'm beginning to worry that all of my overwintered b&bs are going to crap out on me.

The wilted stem plant in the pot perked right up when I put it back in the shade(except the bad stem). I just soaked the plant yesterday, and the mix is still reasonably moist, but the entire plant just seems to flop in the sun. The stems become very flexible and can't seem to properly support the weight of the foliage.

Dan
Zone 5
East-central Iowa

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(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Black & Blue problem

May 22 2012, 4:04 PM 

Dan that could be part of the problem. Also, since these are plant that were brought inside to overwinter could it be possible that they needed more hardening off time before going into direct sun?

Penny
NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
North_Tonawanda.gif

 
 

(Login RonDEZone7a)
Hummingbirder 2008

Were they just transplanted?

May 22 2012, 5:20 PM 

Dan,

Were your B & B's just transplanted into those pots? If so, they might not be able to handle sun for a few days. Try keeping them in the shade for a few days, while they get established. It doesn't have to be dark shade - a bright area with no direct sun (like the north side fo the house) is fine.

If they wintered indoors and re-sprouted in those pots, then I think they just aren't used to full sun yet. So, in any case, more shade (temporarily) might help.

Sometimes when I plant even "sun-loving" annuals, they wilt in the hot sun for the first week. So I put a plastic chair or table over them to shield them from the sun for the first week until the roots establish.

Wilmington, Delaware
USDA zone 7a
Heat zone 6
Sunset zone 32
[linked image]

 
 

(Login hawkeye_wx)
Hummingbird lover 2009

Re: Black & Blue problem

May 22 2012, 6:00 PM 

Ron, these overwintered plants were planted when they were still just clumps of tubers with only the beginning of green sprouts. They've all been doing fine in the sun up until now.

Dan
Zone 5
East-central Iowa

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Danita
(Login Danitagardens)
Hummingbird lover 2009

Re: Black & Blue problem

May 22 2012, 6:08 PM 

Dan,

Are the affected stems showing any brown streaks, darkening at the nodes or similar symptoms? I'd keep a close eye on these because I've seen fungal infections cause similar wilting in other plants during the early stages of infection. Hopefully, that's not the case but it never hurts to check.

I hope they recover soon! happy.gif

 
 

(Login Sundodger)
Hummingbirders 2010

Re: Black & Blue problem

May 22 2012, 8:29 PM 

Dan, I'm starting to think you might have a drainage issue. When plants have to much water over a long period it's easy to see in the leaves, where yours aren't showing long term overwatering. Try putting them in the sun when they are perked up and gently watering, very little just to get the soil on the surface moist.
It's natural for us all to water heavily when putting plants in containers into the sun and if not draining good the plant will wilt without the typical over-watering symptoms, discolored leaves and the such. Also standing water can cause the growing medium to go acidic and you would then see burning on the plant.
I know years ago we had an indoor hydroponic system that when it plugged up partially (drain) some of the plants wilted just like yours are doing and the rest of the plant(s) seemed OK.

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Titletown, USA
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(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Black & Blue problem

May 24 2012, 7:00 AM 

OK Dan
I am now relating to your problem on a personal level. Yesterday afternoon I noticed one of my Black & Blue plants that I perchased within the past month was wilting on one side. The other two plants in the same row were doing fine. All three are planted in the same bed side by side along the picket fence that borders the back part of the driveway. I had watered the bed quite well early in the morning since it is full sun from the time the sun comes up in the mornuing until about 7 pm. Around 6 in the evening is when I noticed this one plant wilting and a couple of leaves were actually crips. I loosened all the soil around the plant and watered very deeply again. Then I put a pot over the top of the plant for the rest of the evening. I just checked it this morning and it looks much better but it is still way behind the others. I need to get some mulch on this particular bed very soon since it does get the most sun of any of my beds. For some reason the spot where this one plant is planted is draining or drying out much faster than any of the other sections.

I also hung a shade cloth over the fencethis morning to provide some additional shade from the deat and direct sun hitting that area in hopes that will help it recover so I don't have to replace it.

Penny
NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
North_Tonawanda.gif

 
 

(Login beckygardener)
Hummingbirder 2008

Re: Black & Blue problem

May 24 2012, 10:50 PM 

Dan - I, too, have experienced exactly what you are talking about. Just a stem here or there will die. I do think that I over-watered my very first B&B years ago. It wilted just like the occasional stems do now, so I was assuming that I was watering too much. I thought maybe fungus was the issue, but maybe it was not enough water ... ??

 
 

(Login hawkeye_wx)
Hummingbird lover 2009

Re: Black & Blue problem

May 24 2012, 11:23 PM 

Today I pruned about 1/3(~2 nodes) off each stem of my floppy/wilty-in-the-sun black & blue. Maybe that will help. I will also keep a close eye on the moistness of the potting mix. It seems to be well-drained.

Dan
Zone 5
East-central Iowa

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(Login WardDa)
Hummingbird Member 2005

Re: Black & Blue problem

May 25 2012, 9:17 AM 

Back when I used to winter over big pots of Black & Blue I always had wilt problems when they were first put out. It helped somewhat to get them out in cold but not freezing weather in early spring to toughen them up.

The first wintered in ground guaranitica bloomed 10 days ago, very early for Brazil or any other guaranitica. And just yesterday some Argentina Skies which is mixed with the blooming Brazil opened flowers. In another garden Blue Ensign is just now break ground. Gop figure?

 
 

(Login Stevenindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Black & Blue problem

May 28 2012, 2:53 PM 

Ward

Same here just today noticed the first argentine skies blooms open. None of my over-wintered or in ground black and blue have bloomed as yet. Just one I picked up at nursery is the only b and b blooming at this time. But a second of my inground blue ensign has started opening blooms.

Steve
Martinsville, In
Heat zone 6
Sunset zone 35

[linked image]




 
 

(Login NLN)
Hummingbird Member 2005

Re: Black & Blue problem

May 28 2012, 3:11 PM 

Steve,

On your 'recommendation', so to speak, I got a Salvia guaranitica 'Blue Ensign' from Richard Dufresne http://www.worldofsalvias.com/. It arrived last week and has a bit of growing to do before it flowers, but I await eagerly.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, Louisiana USA
USDA Zone 9b
http://www.casacolibri.net/
[linked image]

 
 

(Login Stevenindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Black & Blue problem

June 5 2012, 2:47 PM 

Nan

Good for you I dont think you will be disappointed. The reason I came to have blue ensign in the first place was a mistake in orders. Rich had sent me someone elses order. I shall be forever gratefull for the mistake.

Also my first black and blue blooms opened today[from last seassons plants]

Here are a couple of images of my only two blue ensign plants as they look today. As the season goes on and it kicks out more and more flower stems some flower stems are wedged up against the house and last season I trimmed some of those out so they[the hummers] could get in there better to use those blooms. I just had to smile watching the hummers fighting to get between the house and the plant to get at the flowers. It is 63" to the top of the stems.

Photobucket

Photobucket



Steve
Martinsville, In
Heat zone 6
Sunset zone 35

[linked image]




 
 


(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Black & Blue problem

June 5 2012, 3:02 PM 

Steve that is very impressive. I might give it a try next year.

Penny
NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
North_Tonawanda.gif

 
 

(Login hawkeye_wx)
Hummingbird lover 2009

Re: Black & Blue problem

June 5 2012, 3:14 PM 

Wow, Steve!!! That is an incredibly dense blue ensign. My first-year blue ensigns have certainly never looked anything like that.

Dan
Zone 5
East-central Iowa

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(Login Stevenindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Black & Blue problem

June 5 2012, 3:20 PM 

Dan

Thanks, yes the first year this plant didnt look like this either. It does take a while.

Steve
Martinsville, In
Heat zone 6
Sunset zone 35

[linked image]




 
 

(Login hawkeye_wx)
Hummingbird lover 2009

Re: Black & Blue problem

June 12 2012, 1:54 PM 

My black & blue problems continue. For a while, my cutback plant was doing well. However, this morning I noticed another two stems have suddenly wilted for no apparent reason. I suppose I'll have to cut those off as well. ARGH! One of the black & blues in the ground also has an obvious issue. I have to water it pretty much every day because by late morning it begins to wilt in the sun. Today our temperature is only in the 60s, but the plant is still showing a bit of wilt. I can only assume there is an air pocket under the crown and there is a cluster of roots that got stuck circling around in that air pocket and it has not managed to penetrate the moist soil. There's not much I can do about it now. I just have to hope the daily watering doesn't eventually rot out the crown.

I am also noticing my potted 3rd-year david verity needs a lot of water... more than it should. Sometimes I'll soak the plant and an hour or two later a bunch of stems are already turning their leaves away from the sun. The plant just isn't that big yet and should'nt be having any trouble getting enough water from the moist potting mix. The pot is pretty heavy so I know there is plenty of water in there. I did re-pot the DV this spring(to remove the significant filler at the bottom of the pot and replace it with more potting mix) and give its very dense rootball a haircut.

Dan
Zone 5
East-central Iowa

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(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Black & Blue problem

June 12 2012, 2:08 PM 

Dan when you pruned out the roots of your David Verity, did you also prune the top back? It helps to do that so that the green growth doesn't have to struggle for nutrients.

Now for your Black & Blue. Have you tried digging it up to see if there is anything that may be attacking the roots? Mine that was showing some wilting seems to have recovered after I worked a spade all around the surrounding roots, watered well and then applied a layer of mulch but it is still no where near the size of the other two that were purchased at the same time.

Penny
NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
North_Tonawanda.gif

 
 

(Login Stevenindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Black & Blue problem

June 12 2012, 2:23 PM 

Dan

Im beginning to think more like Pete that this could be a drainage issue. Im also hoping its not a fungal issue of any kind. Maybe I go overboard on my potting and maybe I spend more than some to do it but it works. Whatever you do for your potting mix there MUST be good drainage or you could get root rot. Lately I get a good potting soil along with peat moss and course vermiculite or builders sand step 2 or a course sand . Im not big on perlite. But anyway I mix the 3 ingrediants about 1/3 each or at least enough of the third to make it airy so it will drain well. Like I say maybe I go overboard but it works.

You might think about repotting and if this is a new plant it should have white roots still. Whatever you decide good luck and I hope you get the problem lined out.

Steve
Martinsville, In
Heat zone 6
Sunset zone 35

[linked image]




 
 

(Login hawkeye_wx)
Hummingbird lover 2009

Re: Black & Blue problem

June 12 2012, 2:27 PM 

Penny, my in-ground black & blue seems a bit too large at this point to dig up. A couple weeks ago I tried digging under the plant to check for air pockets, but I came across some roots and was afraid to keep going. Maybe I'll try again and go deeper this time.

I did cut back the above soil growth of the david verity quite a bit and the rootball was still pretty large after pruning, probably a foot in diameter. I wonder if the high density of the old rootball has anything to do with the problem. The plant wasn't having any issue until recently when its growth really began taking off. Maybe the core of the rootball is so dense it is sucking up as much water as it can but the roots still haven't much penetrated the fresh, wet mix in the lower part of the container?

Dan
Zone 5
East-central Iowa

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(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Black & Blue problem

June 12 2012, 3:07 PM 

Gee Dan
I am kind of at a loss at this point. It seems that you have done all the right things with your black and blue unless the plant just wasn't healthy to begin with.

I know that sometimes it can take David Verity a while to recover especially in a container once it has been pruned. I didn't do mine this year but did last and it did take it a while to bounce back. That is why I alwaywas try to have a few extra rooted cuttings to pick up the slack. My cuttings that are in the ground are actually just about as big now as the parent and starting to bloom and have thicker stems than their parent plant

Penny
NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
North_Tonawanda.gif

 
 
Ward
(Login WardDa)
Hummingbird Member 2005

Re: Black & Blue problem

June 12 2012, 3:55 PM 

I wonder if you might be watering too much. Neither plant is that much of a water hog. You might try holding off watering for several days and see what happens. This is not to say that root bound plants don't often need more water than newer plants. I have several Abutilons that are in really bad shape because I haven't found the time to root prune and repot them - they've been in pots for years now.

 
 


(Login Carobuzz)
Hummingbirder 2010

Re: Black & Blue problem

June 12 2012, 7:50 PM 

I may be oversimplifying things, but perhaps it's just a heat and humidity issue? I have Agastache that does this. The spires double over in the direct sun and heat but as soon as it cools or the sun moves off they're as tall as can be.

Caro
SE PA, Zone 6b
Sinking_Spring.gif

 
 

(Login hawkeye_wx)
Hummingbird lover 2009

Re: Black & Blue problem

June 30 2012, 3:31 PM 

A new black & blue problem I have is one of my nice in-ground plants broke badly simply due to the weight of the rain water yesterday. I was not expecting that. I lifted a large section of the plant back up and supported it, but the affected stems are all wilting badly so I'll have to cut them all off. I'm really bummed about that. These last two years I've had a lot of bad luck with black & blue.

Regarding the old problem, the b&b plant that kept getting random limp stems is now the best b&b I have. After cutting it back a while ago it has grown nicely and looks good. Bloom spikes are now developing. I now wish I had also cut back the other pot of b&b because it is now kinda tall and skinny with lousy branching lower on the plant.

Regarding the problem with my potted david verity, I pulled it out of the pot to see what the rootball was doing. I realized I was not watering deeply enough because the upper part of the core rootball was quite dry while the outside and bottom of the rootball were moist. Clearly a lot of water and fertilizer was running right off the surface of the rootball instead of penetrating it. Despite improving my watering there was still wilting of the leaves at the growth tips so I cut it back several inches. It seems to be doing ok so far as it grows back.

There is definitely no drainage problem in any of my pots. From now on I just need to be sure the water soaks in and don't stop watering until it comes out of the bottom of the pot.

Dan
Zone 5
East-central Iowa

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(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Black & Blue problem

June 30 2012, 3:46 PM 

Dan
You can also put the pots in a container that will hold several inches of water. When you water enough that it drains out the bottom, leave it sit in the saucer or container of water for about 20-30 minutes. if the roots didn't get completely watered it will draw up the additional water from the container below it. Then you can discard any left over water. If the pots have there own saucers remove those so you can see the water running through.

Penny
NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
North_Tonawanda.gif

 
 

(Login Stevenindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Black & Blue problem

June 30 2012, 10:07 PM 

Dan

I had a similar experience with inground weigela wine and roses. Two of them just died out on me. I thought that I was overwatering and thats why they died. The fact is I was severely under watering them. Once I learned that the rest of my wine and roses grew fine and flowered well. Live and learn I guess.

 
 

(Login beckygardener)
Hummingbirder 2008

Re: Black & Blue problem

July 1 2012, 1:04 AM 

Dan - So sorry to hear about your B & B breaking like that! You could try rooting some of those broken stems to make more plants!

I had to prune to the soil level my beautiful B & B a few weeks ago to try to rid it of the white fly infestation. I noticed today that it is sprouting a lot of new leaves off the multiple roots! It grows like a weed here! LOL! I know the moths miss those blue blooms right now. I do have several stems that I also potted up to try to root. Most didn't root, but I think 2 might have. They haven't wilted and died yet and have some new leaves sprouting from the stem ... I am hopeful!

~Becky~

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(Login Pennytoo)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Black & Blue problem

July 1 2012, 7:15 AM 

I would also take the broken stems and try rooting. In the past when this has happened I strip the lower leaves and stick it in the ground in a shady damp to wet spot with some sort of cloche or even aq plastic back held up with sticks over the plant until it roots (anything that will cover the plant to keep the humidity up but still allow a little light in). It has worked very well doing it that way.

Penny
NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
North_Tonawanda.gif

 
 
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