The Q&A Archives: Sweet Pea Shrub

Question: I planted one of your Sweet Pea Shrubs (Polygala fruitcosa) this past November. It seemed to be doing fine until recently when it started to dry up. It's about dead now. Location has at least a half day of sun. Watered about once a week since it was planted.
Any ideas as to what may have killed it? Are your plants guaranteed through the dealer? Would you suggest I replace with the same plant?

Answer: Polygala fruticosa is a compact shrub to almost 3 feet tall with a rounded habit. It is has gray-green foliage that is slightly rounder than Polygala x dalmaisiana. It is very free flowering with the purple pea-like flowers, composed of two winged petals surrounding a whitish purple lacy crest, found on the plant nearly year-round. Plant in full sun or part shade with regular to little irrigation. Hardy to 15-20 F. Polygala fruticosa is a coastal species that can even be found within the splash zone. This would make this a good candidate for beachside plantings. It also makes a good cut flower and lasts well in arrangements.

It's difficult to tell why your plant may have died over the winter months. Perhaps the soil became waterlogged during the winter rains. It's worth investigating. If you decide to replant, be sure to amend the soil or raise the bed to make sure the drainage is adequate during the winter months.

Many retailers offer guarantees, but not all of them do. I'd check specifically with the nursery you purchased the plant from to see what their policy is.

Hope you have better luck with your next sweet pea shrub!

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