Wilting leaves on garlic and onions - Knowledgebase Question

Phoenix, Ar
Avatar for georgeareid
Question by georgeareid
October 28, 2010
I have some onion & garlic planted in my front flower beds(that only grow 1false heather and 2rosemary. They have been in the ground for about 3+ weeks and the leaves are starting to droop and sag, no color change. I tilled the soil well & used a sand,coffee grounds,composted mulch and earth mix around them to help them stay well drained.Not sure what to do,would fish emulsion dosing help?

Answer from NGA
October 28, 2010
I can't really diagnose the problem without looking at the plants, but I can suggest a few causes for the droopy foliage. First and foremost, it sounds as though you prepared the planting bed nicely. It should drain quickly and not hold too much water, which can cause root rot. Onion and garlic foliage will droop if they are just about to send up a flower stalk. If you find new growth from the center of the plant that's stiff and round, it a flower stalk and you'll want to cut it off as soon as you recognize it. If the plants develop flowers, they won't develop bulbs. The second most common cause of droopy foliage is excessive heat. We've had a rather extended summer season this year and although the general planting time for onions and garlic is in October, in cases where we have an extended summer, these plants will perform better if you wait until November to plant them. There's not much you can do about the heat, but you can provide a temporary shade from hot afternoon sunshine by installing some shade cloth over the plants. I just pound a few stakes into the ground and attach shade cloth to the tops of the stakes to provide a little protection for my plants. This may help your garden, too. An application of fish emulsion is a good idea - it certainly won't hurt your plants and it may provide enough of a boost for them to stand upright. Hope you have a great harvest!

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