drew_04_07
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2011 6:46 pm
Location: Vidalia, ga

Transplanted hydrangea shriveling in new pot... Why?

Ok I bought my wife a hydrangea on mothers day it isn't very big but had beautiful pink blooms on it. I knew it needed repotted so I bought a 24 inch pot to put it in with jungle growth potting soil I also put about 3 inches of mulch on top to keep the water in. For some reason as soon I put it in the new pot it started shriveling I've been keeping it well hydrated and in the shade I don't know what's wrong please help me this plant was 35$ and I don't want to lose it. Everybody always told me if I can grow orchids I can grow anything but obviously not I have 32 orchid plants doing very well and one hydrangea that looks very dead.

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

It sounds as if they are not absorbing enough moisture. Has the root system been compromised in some way? Does this potting mix contain a lot of nitrogen? Have you added any amendments that could have bruned the roots? Aluminum Sulphate? Garden Sulphur?

Make sure that the shrub was not planted too deeply. Select a light colored potting container that is at least 2-4 inches larger both in depth and diameter than the nursery pot in which it was growing. Place the pot in a location with little air movement so the shrub looses little moisture through the leaves and apply some moisture by misting the leaves during the day until the problem goes away. Do not mist for long periods of time as it eventually can cause leaf fungal problem.

I am unfamiliar with your potting soil mix so I cannot comment on it. I would normally prefer using terra cotta type pots (instead of plastic ones) filled with a humus-rich potting soil, and using a soil-less mix is also an asset as it helps retain water. There are also many potting mixes available out there with slow-release round fertilizer pellets that are just great for container plants.

cynthia_h
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Location: El Cerrito, CA

I went to the Jungle Growth website and, although there was an alluring "Which Jungle Growth product is best for you?" display, not one of the links worked! :x

So I still don't know what the ingredients of any of the planting mixes they offer are. But I will say that a plant which is displaying signs of inadequate watering, despite attentive care, may be sitting in a mix with too much peat moss. Peat is hydrophobic; that is, it resists getting wet.

I know that a 24-inch pot (esp. if it's terra cotta) is going to be very heavy....and it may also be on the big side for an immediate step-up pot for this hydrangea (another possible challenge for the plant; feel free to plant it in a smaller pot if the plant will fit comfortably).

In any case, one way to proceed is to submerge the container in a large sink or bathtub of warm--not hot--water. The water should come just to the soil line but not come over the edge of the pot.

The idea is that the potting medium/soil will absorb water from the bottom up. Leave the container in the water until bubbles stop rising; this may take 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the volume and dryness of the planting medium. Then, when the planting medium is fully wetted, let the water drain out of the sink/tub. Leave the container in the sink/tub for now.

After an hour (approx.) of draining, the container can be returned to its usual location. The peat, now wet, will not be so resistant to watering, and a regular schedule can be observed. *whew*

I have cymbidiums, BTW, and grew 12-foot-tall hollyhocks when we lived in Berkeley. Now we live a whole 6 miles north (wow...) of our previous house, and I haven't been able (in three years of trying) to get hollyhocks higher than 5 feet.

So "If you can grow orchids, you can grow anything"...I wish! :lol:

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

drew_04_07
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2011 6:46 pm
Location: Vidalia, ga

The jungle growth I buy at Lowes because I work there and get a 2 cf bag for 7$ but this plant is about 2 feet tall and has an extremely small root system is this normal for hydrangeas? Today after posting I took the hydrangea up and took a lil dirt out and took some seed starting mix and filled in around roots with this because it retains water very well. I really don't want this plant to die it is very beautiful when it is healthy. I also have it outside I live in south Georgia should I being it inside I have it on the porch put of direct sunlight it only gets 2-3 hours of direct morning sun. And talking about orchids I have oncindiums, cattleyas, and phalaenopsis all inside under fluorescents they all great I started with them about a year ago and fell in love with them. I just think it's pretty bad I work at Lowes in the nursery and can't even take care of a hydrangea. I have not added anything to the soil as far as aluminum or anything I added some urea free 12-30-15 fertilizer about a week ago hoping it would help the roots I was actually thinking about getting some super bloom fertilizer it 12-55-6 and phosphorous works great not only for blooms but for root developement. Please answer back with any advice uay have thank you.

cynthia_h
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Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

A large top structure on a hydrangea with a small root structure may (I say *may*) indicate that the blooms were forced earlier than the plant was ready for them.

If so, stop fertilizing the poor thing and let it catch up to its natural growth cycle. Get the roots well watered, as I suggested above. If the roots are small, definitely move the plant into a smaller pot. Be quick to dead-head blooms that are past their prime; the plant's energy should be diverted into root growth and strong fundamental structure.

The sun vs. shade situation sounds good. I lived in Atlanta and in Tampa for a total of ten years (3 in high school in Tampa and 7 in Atlanta for college, working my way through), so I know the temps and how important shade is!

So the sequence, if you can manage it, would be to repot the hydrangea and then wet it thoroughly in the submerge scenario outlined previously. Do not fertilize. Mulching the pot will help retain moisture, too; those wood chips can be useful! :)

Best wishes...I killed the cattleyas and dendrobiums. Didn't try oncidiums because of the cattleyas etc. and just didn't take to phalaenopses. But my cymbidiums are happy! Let's hope we can bestow some of this happiness on your hydrangea, too! :D

Cynthia

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

Hydrangeas do not have to be fed like roses because they are not heavy feeders. On year one, skip fertilzing completely since your potting soil already has those round fertilizing pellets provided by the nurseries. Next year, you can add 1/2 a cup to 1 cup of compost, composted manure or cottonseed meal in early March and again in late June to early July. During the rest of the growing season, you can sprinkle some coffee grounds, liquid seaweed or liquid fish. Stop all fertilzing in July so the shrub goes dormant in time for winter and new growth does not get zapped by early frosts.

Too much fertilizer or too much aluminum sulphate can burn the roots so do not apply these to a stressed out plant that is going through transplant shock.

A 16' pot might work good for a starter pot but then again, I cannot see the plant. Place the pot in a location that is not windy so the plant will not loose moisture quickly thru the leaves.

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