All Things Gardening forum: On Killing Plants

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Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Nov 17, 2015 10:10 PM CST
Or having them pass on under your watch. Green Grin! Please note that none of the following were under spider mite, scale, aphid et cetera attack.

Passing on all on their own can and does happen - ever grown Daphne? They can and often do just up and die (They are notorious for doing so.) Happened to me this past year - 2 of them. Obviously didn't like something. But twin Daphnes - Carol Mackie (Daphne x burkwoodi 'Carol Mackie') both died on me within weeks of each other. Sad cause I do so love Daphne. I do have another (Eternal Fragrance - Daphne transatlantica 'BLAFRA') that is doing just fine planted in the same general area, so I doubt drainage was the problem. Shrug!

Aside from the bread and butter things (which happens to all of us), I have also managed to kill the following in the past 18 months or so. Sad cause some of these were not cheap.

Lady of the Night - Brunfelsia american (I have 2 other Brunfelsia that are doing just fine.) It threw 4 blooms and I thought it was too young to do so. Guess I was right. Many plants bloom up a storm just before they die.

Hebe Speciosa 'Variegata' (I should have known better, but I really did want a Hebe.) Research said that they would do well in containers outside and could over-winter indoors. Perhaps I was misled.

Bush Alamanda - Alamanda nerifolia (probably not enough humidity-if I get another, I will mist the devil out of it) Supposedly they are easy to grow.

False Heather - Cuphea hyssopifolia 'white' (guess I didn't keep the soil moist enough, though I tend to over rather than under water, so don't know).

You have any stories?
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Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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Ursula
Nov 18, 2015 8:33 AM CST
There is a joke amongst Orchidiots that you can only be called an expert at the art of Orchid keeping if you have killed your share of said plants. After all, how else can you learn which ones survive and thrive under your care, or not!!
Growing Orchids for a few years and losing quite a few along the way, a friend and I visited a large Orchid nursery not too far from us. Going through greenhouse after greenhouse of gorgeous Orchids, many in bloom, I realized I was starting to recognize a lot of Orchids and their names by now and remarked cheerfully: "I must be getting better at this, I killed this one, that one and this one over here and that one......" My friend was amused if I remember correctly! Big Grin
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Nov 18, 2015 10:04 AM CST
I agree Yep. Big Grin

I too grow Phals and Cats and have killed my fair share over the past several years. I remember when one of my first Phals passed on and I was heart broken. Then I found out that it was quite common. nodding If you have not killed at least a few orchids, then you are NOT a real grower. Rolling on the floor laughing

My orchids now do much better after I moved them to my Kitchen (understanding wife who loves to look over her shoulder at the beautiful blooms as she is cooking. Green Grin! ) My wife even asked the other day "Are blooms coming on?" And I cheerfully said "Yes!"

It looks like I have another ill plant - Pseuderanthmum pseuper bloomer. My fault entirely! I did not bring it in soon enough (I have SO many plants) and it got exposed to temps into the low 40s on my screen porch. But has a min rec temp of 50!! Grumbling
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Nov 18, 2015 6:01 PM CST
If I do get a plant killed, I console myself by saying, now I have one more space to fill up again Big Grin

But there are times it is really frustrating, getting them to grow from Spring to early winter, then epic fail overwintering! Rolling my eyes. Rolling my eyes. Just have to charge it to a very steep learning curve, and learn from it.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Nov 18, 2015 8:15 PM CST
It took me three years of starting seeds to get ONE Pacific Giant Delphinium big enough to withstand the Slug Army. That was gorgeous for three years, getting bigger and flowerier every year.

Then it didn't come back at all. But that's one of the few phytocides I DON'T blame myself for. I hear they are "short-lived perennials".

Thumb of 2015-11-19/RickCorey/cdde30

In my second year of starting form seed, I was pretty disappointed that I wasn't better at it. Then someone online explained that if I WASN'T killing any plants, then I just wasn't TRYING hard enough!

Our reach SHOULD exceed our grasp, or how will we learn?

Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Nov 18, 2015 8:16 PM CST
I agree I agree. And a big part of my problem is I grow soooooo many things. Far, far too many to remember care info for each. Yeah - I know keep a notebook. Or don't buy so many plants. I have tried and I lose them or just do not want to take all the time to keep info keyed in and updated. So I just wing it.

Tarev - the most frustrating thing to me is when a plant does not appear to have any insect, etc problem but it obviously is going down hill. You research it, give more (less) light, more (less) water and on and on. And it just keeps going down hill until it just kicks the bucket. And you scratch yer head and say WT? Why did it die? And 9 times in 10 for me, I never figure out why.

With orchids I have had some at the brink; e. g. no roots and I have brought them back. Long and arduous process (can take as long as a year). But good feeling knowing that Ah Hah! I did it.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Nov 18, 2015 8:21 PM CST
RickCorey said:It took me three years of starting seeds to get ONE Pacific Giant Delphinium....

In my second year of starting form seed, I was pretty disappointed that I wasn't better at it. Then someone online explained that if I WASN'T killing any plants, then I just wasn't TRYING hard enough!

Our reach SHOULD exceed our grasp, or how will we learn?



Nice specimen. I tried them a couple of times failed. So I guess I should have been happy eh? Heh

Love the "our reach ..." quote.

And yeah, the short lived perennials suck.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Nov 18, 2015 8:38 PM CST
>> And yeah, the short lived perennials suck.

I've read that the wet parts of the PNW have the PERFECT climate for Delphiniums, and they last longer here than most places.

And I eventually figured out that slugs love delph SEEDLINGS more than anything else. That turned out be the reason they "were so DIFFICULT to harden off". They would VANISH overnight - not one green molecule remained above soil level - as soon as I put them on the porch, far away from any soil or slugs. But the slugs always found them.

>> You research it, give more (less) light, more (less) water and on and on. And it just keeps going down hill until it just kicks the bucket.

My policy now is to act decisively before it dies ALL the way dead. While it is still "only MOSTLY dead", I follow The Process:

I tell it solemnly that I GIVE UP and consider it dead to me.
I tell it that I KNOW it has no life left and is hopeless.
I stop all medical treatment.

Then I dig it up and THROW it on top of the compost heap.

Come back three weeks later and it's the healthiest plant in my garden.
I don't know whether the pep talk does it, or the compost.

Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Nov 18, 2015 8:48 PM CST
FWIW - ALL types of Delphinium are hard to grow from seed AND short lived. I gave up on them a couple decades ago.

Plants you know, do respond to humans - really. They also like classical music, not heavy metal. And they like to be talked to.

I have never tried plant threat but will give it a try.
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Nov 18, 2015 9:14 PM CST
I am always admonishing my orchids, "You can do better, I just know you can". Like children, some listen and respond and some do not. Guess which fares the best? Whistling

I have always thought of my plants as female. I don't know why. Goodness knows, the females in my life listen the least of all. But I have also always thought of them as my children. Often, when corresponding to someone who is having a plant(s) shipped to them, I refer to them as "my babies". I just do this instinctively. You would probably be surprised at how many people respond to this in a positive way, knowing that I really care about the plants and thus, they care about the plants as well.
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Nov 18, 2015 10:07 PM CST
Well, this isn't the same as perennials, orchids, shrubs, trees and the like... but a few years back my sister-in-law from Florida happened to be up here for Thanksgiving; I didn't have the veg garden cleaned up at that time and it really did look pretty sad, but I was quite shocked when she took one look at it and started crying! Blinking I guess Floridians don't grasp that freezing kills stuff up here! Big Grin

Like Rick, though, I've had the "compost pile cure" work on more than one plant that I thought was a goner...
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Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Nov 18, 2015 10:33 PM CST
drdawg said:I refer to them as "my babies".


But of course. Particularly all the things I grow from seed They ARE my babies. Big Grin

Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Nov 18, 2015 10:37 PM CST
Weedwhacker said:Well, this isn't the same as perennials, orchids, shrubs, trees and the like... but a few years back my sister-in-law from Florida happened to be up here for Thanksgiving; I didn't have the veg garden cleaned up at that time and it really did look pretty sad, but I was quite shocked when she took one look at it and started crying! Blinking I guess Floridians don't grasp that freezing kills stuff up here! Big Grin

.


She would really have a hard time then with my garden. With very few exceptions, I do not cut or clean up any of my garden areas til Spring. There are way too many good things there for birds, other animals and insects to use.

And yes - it can look pretty bad I guess to some. But then what would it look like with Mother Nature caring for it?

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Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
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Danita
Nov 19, 2015 10:30 AM CST
David, I bet your Pseuderanthmum will be fine. I store a lot of tropicals in my garage and porch which both get near freezing. When it gets colder than they like, they drop their leaves and go dormant. They look dead but come alive again in the spring. Sensitive plants, like Caladiums, won't tolerate that treatment but a lot of the woodier plants usually do okay. Smiling
Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
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Chillybean
Nov 19, 2015 10:43 AM CST
Is disappearing the same as killing? I've had a few of those. Daffodils (but this saved me the work of doing them in), Cardinal Flower, Swamp Milkweed.

Oh this was terrible. The first year we planted anything... tulip bulbs in our new to us house back in Omaha. We followed directions to a T. They never came up, but strangely that variety of tulip popped up in the middle of the backyard neighbour's lawn. Once they discovered them, they even mowed around the tulips. I doubt they were tulip thieves, but possibly a squirrel?? That's not a killing though.

I have given up on trying to kill that lilac by the porch. Shoots kept coming up (no chemical use here). I learned even though they are not native, they don't spread like some things, so maybe I'll just surrender. Rolling my eyes. But since a serviceberry was planted near there, that takes precedence, even if the lilac gets a weird pruning now and again. Oh, but every hint of a flower that dares show its face gets cut off. That smell.. (Need a barfy face).

Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Nov 19, 2015 11:06 AM CST
RickCorey said:>> And yeah, the short lived perennials suck.

I've read that the wet parts of the PNW have the PERFECT climate for Delphiniums, and they last longer here than most places.

And I eventually figured out that slugs love delph SEEDLINGS more than anything else. That turned out be the reason they "were so DIFFICULT to harden off". They would VANISH overnight - not one green molecule remained above soil level - as soon as I put them on the porch, far away from any soil or slugs. But the slugs always found them.

>> You research it, give more (less) light, more (less) water and on and on. And it just keeps going down hill until it just kicks the bucket.

My policy now is to act decisively before it dies ALL the way dead. While it is still "only MOSTLY dead", I follow The Process:

I tell it solemnly that I GIVE UP and consider it dead to me.
I tell it that I KNOW it has no life left and is hopeless.
I stop all medical treatment.

Then I dig it up and THROW it on top of the compost heap.

Come back three weeks later and it's the healthiest plant in my garden.
I don't know whether the pep talk does it, or the compost.



Rick ... Sounds like this plant is one of those that totally thrive on neglect. There are many. You may be loving them to death ... Hilarious!

If you manage to solve the slug problem to get them going, they may do quite well once you start neglecting them properly .... Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing

Smiles,
Lyn

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Nov 19, 2015 11:10 AM CST
Squirrel and Deer in particular can trash all your tulips.

Unless the Swamp MW was planted in a fairly wet area, it likely perished from lack of water. Cardinal Flower always disappears on me too/

Lilac grows mainly from underground runners - so you have to dig ALL of them up to get rid of Lilac. But why would you? OIC - someone who dislikes the smell of Lilac. Heh

Surprised about the Daffodils. They are usually there forever. Old homesteads often have 2 things growing - peony and daffodils.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Nov 19, 2015 12:30 PM CST
DavidLMO said:FWIW - ALL types of Delphinium are hard to grow from seed AND short lived. I gave up on them a couple decades ago.

Plants you know, do respond to humans - really. They also like classical music, not heavy metal. And they like to be talked to.

I have never tried plant threat but will give it a try.


Hmmm - "plant threatening"? Phyto-instans!

Whether or not they have fore-brains or gray matter, they sure do seem to have whims and whimsy. Whatever I expect, they do the opposite. So, apparently, they can read my mind. If any.

I think of my "threats" as giving the fussy ones something to rebel against. I try to create a feeling of "Oh, so he thinks I CAN'T thrive?? I'll show HIM!!"

The first few times I started delphs from seed, I didn't know or much care what "stratification" meant, so I didn't. But the seeds were old, so I got 20-50% germination anyway. I don't think I get that high a rate when I DO try to stratify seeds. Apparently, ignorance was my friend for once. Or that part of my bedroom was intermittently cold enough for them to stratify right in the germination trays.

Yes, I do sleep with my babies.

Lyn said:
>> Rick ... Sounds like this plant is one of those that totally thrive on neglect. There are many. You may be loving them to death ...

>> If you manage to solve the slug problem to get them going, they may do quite well once you start neglecting them properly ....

Very true! Indoors, I used to overwater severely and very consistently. I'm working on that - I'm no longer consistent.




Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Spiders! Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants I helped beta test the first seed swap
Region: Nebraska Keeper of Poultry Rabbit Keeper Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 2
Chillybean
Nov 19, 2015 12:33 PM CST
This is the weird thing... the Swamp milkweed was in a wet area! I threw some freebie seed out in a drier area and a couple years later that germinated and I got some beautiful plants and plenty of seed collected this year. Now, will it come back next year? I have no idea.

The main reason I tried getting rid of the lilac is it is not native to the US. I left it alone for so long because it was a great bird holder outside the window and I got some very nice pictures. Smiling It had strong enough branches to hold feeders, too.

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Nov 19, 2015 12:49 PM CST
David, I think I may have just killed my Lewisia Sad Do not know if I want to try them again..they really were beautiful, though I am still hoping it is just being rather late in coming back from its summer slumber. I have not yet tossed them out, will wait till January if it will revive. Just when I thought I finally understood what it needs..but not losing hope yet..

I had two other plants Radermachera sinica and my milkweed, Asclepias currasavica-badly attacked by aphids this summer, seemed to be on the brink of annihilation, but surprisingly is growing well again now. A wait and see game!

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