Maggison
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Joined: Sun May 22, 2016 6:21 am

Will dried out roots grow again?

I ordered a beautiful variety of hydrangeas online and received a box with a completely dried out young plant with only a few leaves. It looks like they had the pot wrapped in plastic to retain some moisture but it dried completely. Before shipping it back (I'm not sure if they even allow returns & exchanges) I thought I would see if there is any hope of it growing. I've seen that some nurseries ship dry roots, so not sure if this could be treated the same way. Any tips to stimulate the roots or is it dead with no chance of revival?

luis_pr
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Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:31 pm
Location: Hurst, TX USA Zone 7b/8a

Re: Will dried out roots grow again?

Dried out roots are dead roots and they cannot be brought back to life. But plants shipped bare root are a different subject. Those should arrive in good condition provided the shipment does not go thru an area with high temps and provided they got enough moisture before being shipped, which is why I sometimes order with a delivery date in the Fall after April.

I would contact the shipper for instructions. What to do next depends on their policies. In the meantime, you can dump them in water for 1/2 hr to 1 hr and then transplant them into a pot until they recover and start growing again. Being in a pot, you will be able to move the pot easily if gets too sunny, woo windy, too dry etc. I would place it where it is not windy and where it gets bright shade. Water the pot until you see water coming from the bottom, stop and water again. Then the next step will depend on the shipper's instructions. Liquid seaweed is a foliar feed so you can spray it on the leaves or water the leaves to provide them with some nutrients (I do this in the early morning hours though).

By the way, if the leaves are green, I would think the roots are not dead (yet).

Maggison
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Joined: Sun May 22, 2016 6:21 am

Re: Will dried out roots grow again?

Thank you for the info! I've emailed the shipper. It sounds like this one is a lost hope- the leaves are brown and crispy, but I'll give your suggestions a shot just in case the roots have any life left in them still.

ophoenix
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Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:27 am

Re: Will dried out roots grow again?

Put the plant into a bucket of water and leave it there. Hydrangeas do not drown like people. I have left some in water for up to several weeks! I tend to get busy and just forget about them. The last one was an oak leaf totally forgot about it for more than two weeks - roots were in bucket and there was a lot of rain. Walked by it and - oops - totally crispy critter - turned into a beautiful plant with new lovely green leaves. Try it - what do you have to lose? I think people are concerned about too much water - but you can root branches in just water and do the same with roots that look and feel dry and dead. The best way to water containers and that includes Hydrangeas is to plunge the pot into a larger pot full of water. When all the bubbling at the top of the bucket stops, then you can take it out of the bucket, tap it on its side and leave it to finish draining. Many times when containers dry out the soil compacts in the pot. When you water it the water runs down the sides of the pot and out the drainage holes, never having a chance to moisten the soil in the pot.

The only way to be sure plants are getting watered properly is to carefully dig (with a finger, weeder, dibble or even screwdriver) down 4 or 5 inches and feel the soil!

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