Why do my 200mm Woolly Bush - Adenanthos sericeus I/N: 3862713 keep dying?
I have brought 3 pots and 2 have died. After 2 months planted they put on 100mm of growth then suddenly loose colour and start dying. Some friends have told me that their a very finicky plant. What can I do to keep these lovely native plants????
Hi @Edwardsp . Thanks for joining us. I know how frustrating it can be to have a plant die on you for no apparent reason. Do you have any photos of yours?
My first instinct is that the problem is to do with water. Adenanthos are drought-resistant once they're well established but they are very thirsty when they're first planted. At the nursery and garden centre where I used to work we would water most things every day, but on days that were very hot or windy, the Adenanthos were among a relatively small number of things we would water twice.
The important thing when watering is to ensure that the water gets all the way down through the root ball of the plant so it can make full use of the roots that it already has, and can keep growing more. If roots stay dry for a long time they start to die off because they're no use to the plant.
If you're more or less evenly spraying a garden bed, the water isn't going to get right down through the roots of the Adenanthos, where the plant really needs it. Make sure that you're watering deeply within, say, a 200mm radius of your Adenanthos. When watering anything I use one of these garden wands because it works like a shower head to deliver a lot of water in a small area, but the water falls softly so it won't blast the soil away from the roots and make things worse. If you have a nice, thick open mulch that will help retain moisture too.
Does your soil drain freely? As with most plants, if an Adenanthos is left in waterlogged soil the roots will start to die and rot, which will eventually kill the plant.
Also, if you're going to use a fertiliser, make sure it's a native-plant mix and use it sparingly. Like a lot of native plants, Adenanthos are used to poor soils and they can really suffer from rich, high-phosphorus fertilisers that other plants love.
If you can post some photos maybe one of our garden gurus will be able to give you a better idea of what's happening.
Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community. It's a pleasure to have you join us, and thank you for sharing your question bout your Adenanthos sericeus.
It's fantastic that you've received excellent advice from @BradN. His recommendation about watering is spot on. Specifically, about deep watering, when the water only goes surface deep, it does not reach the root ball which is what the plant truly needs. Look carefully at your soil mix and see if it is too compact. It needs to be semi-loose and allow water to freely flow through. I suggest using a Saxon Hand Cultivator with Timber Handle to aerate the top of the soil, please note not to go too deep or you may damage the top roots.
Under the Bunnings Perfect Plant Promise all of our plants are guaranteed for 12 months, so if you’re not 100% happy, return your plant (with receipt) and we’ll refund it. This excludes seedlings, which include flower and vegetable seedlings as well as potted colour (bloomers), which are short-lived plants that are not expected to live for more than 3-5 months in the garden. As such the Perfect Plant Promise would not apply to these plants.
If you have any other questions we can help with, please let us know.
The advice Brad has given you is the most important you will receive regarding planting adenanthos! Deep watering very regularly after planting is essential, especially in the first 2-3 months. By their second growing season in the ground they should be able to get by on less frequent watering but will still need some water over summer to ensure their roots do not dry out.
Breaking up the soil to allow moisture to penetrate is good but make sure not to cultivate too close to the root ball for fear of damaging the roots.
Thanks BradN for all that info. Here are some photos of my sick Woollies. Is there any hope foe them? Tks Ed.
Hi @Edwardsp They don't look great and the bottom one might be too far gone, but I wouldn't give up on them yet, especially not the top two.
I would keep giving them a soft, deep watering around the base of the plants daily, making sure the water gets right down through the rootball, but don't wash any soil away from the roots. (That's where those garden wands come in so handy).
For an extra degree of difficulty, while you're giving the Andenanthos extra water try to keep as much water as possible off those Kalanchoe flapjacks next to them. They're a succulent and they won't enjoy the extra water if their leaves are already full of water. If their leaves are a bit bendy they won't mind a drink. But don't worry too much about them. I'd focus on giving the Adenanthos a good, deep drink every day.
Please keep us updated, and good luck!
In addition to Brad's wise words, I'd also be including some seaweed tonic once a fortnight. Not one with added fertiliser or trace elements in it but just the plain seaweed extract, mixed in a watering can as the label recommends.
While mulch is good for conserving moisture and reducing weeds, it can also cause temporary nitrogen deficiency in the soil as the microbes that assist in making nitrogen available in the soil move out of the root zone and into the mulch layer to help break it down (a process known as nitrogen draw-down effect). When adding a mulch like that in your photos, it is good practice to add a suitable native plant fertiliser on to the soil before spreading the mulch to offset this potential issue.
At this stage, one looks to be beyond redemption but the other two have a chance of being revived. Everything you can do to assist them to survive is worth the time and effort.