The Q&A Archives: Wilted Escallonia

Question: I transplanted a Pink Princess escallonia two days ago, as directed. I didn't water it today. It is looking very wilted. It has not been very hot, does the plant need more water? I am afraid I overwatered it to begin with.

Answer: Transplanting is always stressful to a plant, and although it may not be very hot, warm temperatures of late spring contribute, and wilting can be a sign of stress due to both over or underwatering. You didn't say whether you transplanted into a pot or the ground, but the best thing to do is to feel the soil. If a pot, stick your fingers into the soil. If in the ground, use a soil probe. It should move easily through moist soil, but stop at dry, hard soil. Keep the soil consistently moist, like a damp sponge (not saturated) for a couple weeks while the root systems establishes. Water should penetrate as deep as the rootball was and be applied at the plant's outer canopy edge (assuming it's in the ground), which is where feeder roots are spreading. Soil in containers heats up considerably in summer, basically cooking roots, so it's essential the soil doesn't dry out. On the other hand, roots need oxygen to thrive, and saturated soil doesn't have any oxygen between the soil particles. Roots in wet soil will rot, and the plant also looks wilted. So, you need to do a little investigative work! Finally, if the plant is in full sun, you might want to provide temporary shade protection while it establishes. This plant is rated for full sun to partial sun, and in the desert, that means that hot afternoon sun is usually too intense. I hope this info helps.

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