The Q&A Archives: monterey bay brush cherry

Question: My Monterey Bay Brush Cherry plants are in containers on my balcony. The one on the left gets some sun but not full sun. Is this why it died? I also notice the back of my other one had some dried out stems that I pruned. I had Star Jasmine before and they both died. I also would like to know the proper care for a Hibiscus

Answer: Green thumbs take some time and experience to develop, but if you keep at it, I'm sure you'll develop at least one. Brush Cherries will grow best in full sun, but will adapt to partial sun. I don't think sun exposure is the problem, but cultural care might be. Plants in containers need to be watered more frequently than the same plants in the ground. Containerized plants can suffer heat stress if sunshine barrels down on the containers, especially during hot summer afternoons. If the container gets hot enough, the roots can cook. You might try grouping containers together so they can help shade one another from hot sunshine.

Sometimes air pockets develop within the root mass of containerized plants and even though you think you're watering throughly, the air pockets may never become saturated. For this reason I always suggest that you immerse your containers in a larger container of water every 2-3 weeks during the growing season. Allow them to sit in the water for 15-20 mintues, until air bubbles no longer rise to the surface. This technique will drive air pockets out of the root mass and ensure all of the roots get the water they require.

Hibiscus has the same watering needs as your other plants. Wait until the top inch of soil dries out, then water slowly and thoroughly.

Best wishes with your container garden!

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