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Black & Blue problem

May 22 2012 at 10:12 AM
Dan  (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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Nancy Newfield
(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]

 
 
Dan
(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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This message has been edited by hawkeye_wx on May 22, 2012 11:02 AM


 
 
Pete
(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.

Click for Green Bay, Wisconsin Forecast
Titletown, USA
Plant Zone 5a
AHS 3 4


    
This message has been edited by Sundodger on May 22, 2012 11:08 AM


 
 
Dan
(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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This message has been edited by hawkeye_wx on May 22, 2012 11:11 AM


 
 
Indy Steve
(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]




 
 

Penny
(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

 
 
Sandi
(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

 
 
Dan
(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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This message has been edited by hawkeye_wx on May 22, 2012 3:03 PM


 
 

Penny
(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

 
 
Ron
(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]

 
 
Dan
(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

 
 
Pete
(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.

Click for Green Bay, Wisconsin Forecast
Titletown, USA
Plant Zone 5a
AHS 3 4

 
 

Penny
(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


    
This message has been edited by Pennytoo on May 24, 2012 7:31 AM


 
 
Becky Cook
(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 ... ??

 
 
Dan
(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

Find more about Weather in Cedar Rapids, IA
Click for weather forecast

 
 
Ward
(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?

 
 
Indy Steve
(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]




 
 
Nancy Newfield
(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]

 
 
 
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