The Q&A Archives: Drooping Gazania

Question: I live in a very hot dry climate (zone 8-9) and have planted Gazanias which I purchased from the local nursery. They seem slow to getting oriented and if I don't water them every day they begin to droop. They are planted in clay and I suspect this is why they are not retaining water. I recently laid mulch around each of the plants hoping this will help retain the moisture and keep them from drooping. I understand these plants are particular about soil and love the heat and sun. What am I doing wrong?

Answer: Actually, clay soil does retain moisture well. Sandy soil dries out quickly. Transplant shock can cause plants to look poorly until their root systems establish. When you water, apply it slowly and deeply so it goes through the entire root zone. Use a pointed stick or piece of metal to push in the soil. It will move easily through moist soil and stop at dry soil. At least once a month, water deeply enough to "leach" or push salts well below the root zone. Frequent, light "sprinklings" or short time spans with drip irrigation don't apply enough water to help the plant. Finally, be careful not to overwater, as plant roots need oxygen to thrive and they will rot in constantly wet soil. Since you have clay soil, this could be a problem. Allow the top inch or so of soil to dry out before applying more. Adding mulch was a good idea, as it will retain soil moisture as well as cool soil temperatures, which helps the root system. Hope this info helps!

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