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New bugbane (cimicifuga) plant not looking too good

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:13 am
by shouixzi
I am new to gardening, and the first plant I bought was a bugbane plant that came in the mail in a plot of soil, not yet sprouted. I planted it in a pot, indoors, next to my window which gets about 4-6 hrs of direct sunlight. It grew fast the first few weeks, but the leaves were drying/browning. I was also overwatering it for a while. I water it now only once a week. I think the direct sunlight is too much for the poor thing, and even the little new sprouted leaves are scorching.
Do I need to keep it in the shade? Would it be okay to let it sit in the sun for an hour at most? I can position the pot so that the sun only hits it for less amount of time. It's stopped growing at the moment. Any tips are helpful.

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:42 am
by Kisal
Welcome to the forum! :)

Bugbane likes direct sunlight. What direction does the window face that your plant is in? East would be good, south and due west might be too hot if the plant is right up close to the glass. Moving it back a few inches would allow air circulation, and that might be enough to resolve the problem.

How long has it been since you changed your watering schedule? Are you sure you're giving it enough water now? Overwatering and underwatering will both result in the same type of damage to the plant.

Is the plant in a pot with plenty of drainage holes? If you keep it in a cache pot or decorative wrapper, do you remove it when you water the plant?

What kind of soil did you use when you repotted it? And what size container did you use? Bugbane likes a slightly acid to neutral soil, kept evenly moist. A potting mix designed for African violets would work well for bugbane, especially if you're prone to overwatering. It has the right pH and drains very rapidly. Also, if you have a tendency to overwater your plants, an unglazed pot can help rid the soil of excess moisture.

Would it be possible for you to post a clear close-up photo of the plant?

[url=]How to Post Pictures & Photos on Forums[/url]

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:26 pm
by rainbowgardener
I have not grown cimicifuga from seed, just from bare root plants and I haven't grown them indoors, just in the ground. So that may make my experience different. But in my experience they are woodland shade plants, that grow well in the shade under trees and don't like full sun. They probably prefer neutral soil but they are one of the woodland natives that tolerates my alkaline soil and does ok. They like moist conditions, but once established are pretty tough and hardy.

New bugbane (cimicifuga) plant not looking too good

Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:22 am
by shouixzi
Thank you for the tips. My window faces southeast. I stopped overwatering it about a week and a half ago. I can't really tell if I'm over or underwatering it. I try to keep the soil moist, but the top of the soil gets dried out quick. Perhaps a mulch would help retain the water. The pot is a standard unglazed terracotta pot with one hole in the bottom. It is about 12" in diameter, and about as tall. When I first planted it, I used seed starting soil. Someone told me it might be too much fertilizer, so I switched to a moisture controlling potting soil just a couple of days ago. Here is the pic from back on Valentine's day. It hasn't changed much since this picture.

As you can see the leaves are dried and browning. Even the littlelist sprout is starting to brown. Sad!