The Q&A Archives: Wilting Lobelias

Question: I had planted some lobelia plants mid spring in two different pots, one with lobelia and oxalis mixed together and a smaller pot with lobelia and mini yellow daisies. The lobias in the oxalis pot have all wilted away. I watered them regularly (maybe too much) and moved the pots to the shade when I noticed they were looking limp. They continued to die, except for one plant in the smaller pot which seems to be thriving. Is there a chance that the others may come back if I do not remove the root system and do you have any clue as to why three of the four plants died while the fourth seems to be thriving?

Answer: Lobelia demand good drainage. If kept too wet, root or crown disease problems will quickly destroy a plant, especially in the heat of summer. I doubt your plants will come back if a root or crown disease destroyed them.

We often see a plant survive a condition that kills its neighbors. The reason why is difficult to say, but in this case may be due to the smaller pot. It is easier to overwater a plant that is small for the container size. There is more soil that the roots can fully colonize and the soil tends to stay wet longer.

Make sure your containers have drainage holes and ease up on the water...moist but not soggy.

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