The Q&A Archives: Leaves Turn Dark Red

Question: What makes the leaves of marigolds, pansies, and sage turn dark red after transplanting from nursery packs to a container or into the ground?

Answer: Plants from nurseries are grown under perfect conditions, which include light, temperature, water and fertilizer. When you take them home and plant them outdoors they are no longer protected from cool night temperatures and hot sunshine. They're also trying to adjust to garden soil as opposed to potting soil, and you probably don't force-feed them the way commercial growers do. Your plants will adjust to their new growing conditions, but during that time they may slow their growth rate, the leaves may turn red, white or yellow, or the entire plant might wilt. They should recover and perform as expected 7-10 days after transplant.

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