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Strange unidentified substance on climbing hydrangea base

I planted some climbing hydrangeas about 3 month ago. They appear healthy but when digging a little (to add some fertiliser) I found a strange rice-like substance all around one of the bases. I have two of these plants and the other one doesn't have it. Does anyone know what this might be? Any help much appreciated.


  • It may be worthwhile contacting the supplier. If your plants are only 3 months old they will still have compost attached in which they were growing. Did you buy them from a nursery, Garden Centre or online?
    Wherever they came from, if it's something that may harm your plant the grower needs to be informed so they can check any other stock remaining.
    A gardener's work is never at an end  - (John Evelyn 1620-1706)
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    Looks like the supplier may have used some dampened cereal husks as 'organic' packing around the roots instead of soil and which should probably have been removed when planting.  Did they come in pots or bare-root?
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Thanks for the replies. They were bought from a garden centre. And yes it looks like this is the original compost it came in, albeit a little broken down. They came in pots. I'm pretty sure this substance wasn't there when I planted them as I would have noticed - unless it was inside the compost and not visible on the outside.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    It could be that the GC bought bare-root and potted them on for sale, in which case they may have just packed compost around the outside and left this stuff in the middle.  If you can't get a refund or replacement, i would gently remove as much as you can without damaging any roots and rep;ace with soil/compost.  The trouble with stuff like this is that although it will naturally rot down in time, any dry pockets of it tend to stay dry and that will interfere with root development.  I can't 100% say that's what it is, but I certainly haven't seen any pest or disease produce anything like that.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Well that's good news at least. I shall follow your advice, thanks a lot.
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