Sunday, September 02, 2007

Any Emergency Plant Doctors Out There?

Help! Lulu's leaves are weirdly limp and curled, although the soil's still moist. She was fine at lunchtime today!

Don't tell me I killed her in only one day! Aaaaagh!


  1. Susan, I don't think you killed her. She may have gone into shock from relocation or it might be something else. Call the nursery that you bought her at and ask their plant expert. They should be able to give you some advice.

    Praying for your nerves and success.


  2. Replanting, however gently done, puts the plant into a certain amount of "transplant shock." Lulu is probably just reacting to this as she repairs any rootlets torn during the transplant operation, and gets used to her new conditions.

    Another thing you have to be careful with when bringing a plant home with you is letting it gradually get used to its new light conditions. Often, plants sold by big stores are grown in fairly low-light conditions, and so when you bring it home and put it out in the sun, it lacks the right amount of protection in its leaves and can get sunburned. Start it out in a bright spot, but one that doesn't get a lot of direct sun, and over the course of a week or so, move it more and more into the sun. If this is the problem with your plant, it may drop most or all of her leaves and then grow new ones that can handle the higher light conditions. Don't panic! Just wait for the new leaves to grow.

    Rosemary is a mediteranean type plant, and as such will thrive in pretty harsh conditions, but you do have to be nice to it while it's acclimatizing. Interestingly, when a plant is stressed, it tends to make more interesting phytochemicals, and your rosemary will eventually taste and smell more if you stress it out a little bit. As you are caring for it, imagine that you're trying to reproduce a tiny section of the South of France in a pot.

    As for water, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that plant roots (unless your plant likes living in a swamp) must have access to oxygen. So the soil has to be dry enough for air to filter down to the bottom of the pot. This is especially true after transplantation, when too much water can easily lead to rotting roots. That's why the first couple weeks after transplantation are so delicate, because the plants need water, but if you give them too much, they will die.

    The best way to check on a plant, and whether or not it needs watering, is to stick your finger in the soil. If you set up a schedule, think of it as a "checking schedule" not as a watering schedule. Definately feel the soil every 3 days, but if it's still damp DON'T water. For a semi-arid plant like Lulu, let the top inch or so of soil in the pot dry out, but don't let the pot dry out completely. Just stick your finger and inch or two into the pot. If you feel damp, don't water. If you feel dry, then do.

    I hope this helps...

  3. BB --

    Very helpful! I've moved her into a shadier spot. Thanks so much!


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