The Q&A Archives: healthy plants

Question: I recently purchased some dwarf garden phlox and i think some blue mirror delphiniums, i tilled my soil dug out some of it and replaced and mixed the current soil with a mixture of the moo-nure compost mix, the organic mushroom compost, topsoil and peat moss and i also added some organix mircle grow blood meal to the mix.after planting i also covered with mulch. I planted my plants, two feet apart (like the nursery employee i spoke to who was deliverying the plants) told me to. when i planted them i also added a small amount of the organic mircle grow plant food. i am now having problems with about half of them, i have had one phlox die completely (it was kind of on the verge to begin with) about half of my plants look great and are growing, the other half look either like they are about to die and are either dry looking or really limp looking. the plants that look good are mixed in with the ones that look bad(i have two 10 foot by 3 foot beds) the problem is not just on one side. i water once a day (the nursery worker also told me that was what i needed to do)at night. i have been debudding the old buds to help promote growth and the plants that look bad i have tried to cut back to also help promote new healthy growth. i dont know what else i need to do to keep my plants from dying but i need help, please let me know what i need to do to fix this problem! thanks! hope to hear soon, before they die!! Jamie Croff

Answer: Transplant shock can make newly planted annuals and perennials look pathetic for a few weeks. They normally adjust and begin growing well after this adjustment period. It sounds as though you've amended the soil well so the roots will be happy. Daily watering is excessive and watering at night isn't a very good idea, either. When foliage is wet for 6-7 hours, plants can develop fungal infections. Try to water the soil, not the foliage, and water deeply only once or twice a week. When you water on a daily basis you can deplete the soil of oxygen; plant roots need oxygen as well as moisture.

Adjust your watering schedule and give the plants some time to adjust. I'm sure they'll rebound and look beautiful.

Best wishes with your garden!

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