Ask a Question forum→Butterfly bush

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Name: Tim C
Dallas, TX (Zone 8a)
fontaine1900
May 19, 2018 6:18 AM CST
I have a new butterfly bush that I bought from the local nursery. It is in a large container on my terrace. It is in full sun, with lots of breeze, and gets watered daily. However, the leaves are starting to curl on the edges and it almost looks like they are "upside down" with the silver underside showing.

I understand that they are drought-tolerant, but have also heard bad things about root rot.

Does anyone have any idea if this is underwatered / overwatered / diseased?

Thanks!
Tim
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Name: Angie
Victoria, British Columbia, Ca (Zone 8b)
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AngieVanIsld
May 19, 2018 9:01 AM CST
Your pretty plant looks a bit stressed out. I'm not an expert but my guess is that it is overwatered and/or transplant shock. I would water only when the roots are dry. I have similar pots... do yours have drainage holes on the bottom? Mine didn't and I had to modify them. I added rocks at the bottom of mine too to help drainage. How deep is it planted? Make sure it isn't too deep as the top roots need air.



[Last edited by AngieVanIsld - May 19, 2018 9:02 AM (+)]
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Name: Tim C
Dallas, TX (Zone 8a)
fontaine1900
May 19, 2018 9:15 AM CST
Thanks! Transplant shock makes sense, since it was just a couple of days ago that it was planted. It is a deep pot relative to the root ball, so I did water it to the point of being soaked (thought being most of the water initially would just go straight to the bottom). There was 1 drain hole and I punched a second in as well.

I'll lay off of the water for a couple of days to see how it reacts. Just wanted to make sure it wasn't a disease.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 19, 2018 9:15 AM CST
Welcome! both new members!

Watering every day doesn't really tell us how much it has been getting. You can water every day and still not be watering enough because it all depends on the quantity given. A thorough watering until water runs out of the bottom of the pot (hopefully it does have drainage holes), and then not watering again until the top half inch or so is dry, is better than watering every day (unless that is what happens every day because of your hot climate). If you try to tip the container, does it feel light or heavy?

A note to Angie, putting rocks in the bottom of a container actually has the opposite effect to what one might think - it impedes drainage rather than improves it. That's because water won't cross the soil-rock interface until the potting mix above is saturated - it's called a "perched water table".

Edited to add (cross-posted) it should not have transplant shock unless you disturbed the rootball when you planted it. Was it thoroughly watered before being planted?
[Last edited by sooby - May 19, 2018 9:16 AM (+)]
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Name: Tim C
Dallas, TX (Zone 8a)
fontaine1900
May 19, 2018 9:19 AM CST
sooby said: Watering every day doesn't really tell us how much it has been getting. You can water every day and still not be watering enough because it all depends on the quantity given.


I did water it thoroughly the first 2 days. I also watered again this morning to the point of soaking, since I was able to stick my finger into the soil and it was dry 2-3 inches down. It seems to have perked up again since watering this morning.

I think what might be happening is that the terrace has concrete blocks for flooring and they get HOT HOT HOT during the day. It might just be causing the water to evaporate too quickly. I wonder if putting it on a small pedestal might help?

Name: Tim C
Dallas, TX (Zone 8a)
fontaine1900
May 19, 2018 9:20 AM CST
sooby said: Edited to add (cross-posted) it should not have transplant shock unless you disturbed the rootball when you planted it. Was it thoroughly watered before being planted?


It was a very clean transplant, so the ball wasn't disturbed. I immediately watered it after transplanting.

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 19, 2018 9:43 AM CST
fontaine1900 said:

It was a very clean transplant, so the ball wasn't disturbed. I immediately watered it after transplanting.



It should not have transplant shock then. Just for future reference, it is better to water before planting because if you plant with a dry rootball it will often not take in the water from the surrounding soil even if the latter is moist. That can especially happen with peat based potting mixes, they are very hard to re-wet once they get too dry. For the first while all the roots of the plant will still be in the original rootball until they expand outwards so that is where the water needs to be.

Name: Tim C
Dallas, TX (Zone 8a)
fontaine1900
May 19, 2018 9:59 AM CST
Thanks, Sue, for the great tips! I will keep an eye on the top of the soil and resoak once the top 2 inches or so are dry to the touch.
Name: Betty
MN zone 4b
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daylilydreams
May 19, 2018 10:57 AM CST
Keeping plants slightly raised off a hot patio is the way to go. You can use a plant dolly or something else to raise the pot a couple of inches off the hot concrete, gives better air circulation. I use plant dollies it also makes it easier to rotate the plants. Here is an example they come in different sizes and colors. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002TRWJLA/

I wish butterfly bushes were hardy here planted in ground, they are slow to show growth in spring. The longest I got one to survive was maybe four years none of the many others lasted that long. Their scent and the butterflies flocking to them is amazing.
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Betty MN Zone4 AHS member

[Last edited by daylilydreams - May 19, 2018 11:01 AM (+)]
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Calif_Sue
May 19, 2018 11:09 AM CST

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Hot, hot patio and a black pot plus watering could be a bad combo. Blinking
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Name: Tim C
Dallas, TX (Zone 8a)
fontaine1900
May 19, 2018 11:44 AM CST
Calif_Sue said:Hot, hot patio and a black pot plus watering could be a bad combo. Blinking


You thinking mold or rot?
Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
Dog Lover Dragonflies
MindiHammerstone
May 19, 2018 12:49 PM CST
Iam guessing the water is going to cook the roots. I'd get it off the hot bricks. You could even get a bowl or something and flip it upside down to get it off the bricks. The things that people put under a pot to catch water, you could easily get one of those like the plastic ones and flip it upside down and get it off the ground. I am no expert but soaking it a lot might be making root soup. I would gently water it enough that the soil is damp. Perhaps a few times a day if it dries out on top within a few hours. I live in a hot, windy place and have to water my garden three times a day 😀😀😀

Good luck and Welcome!

😀

Mindi

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