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Help! My plants seem to be sad! :(


I am a novice gardener and have recently made a planter. It has several drainage holes in the bottom. I filled this with top soil and multi purpose compost as that was all I was able to source.

I have planted several things in there  lavender, euonymous, nemesia, winter flowering heather and a laburnum. It is in partial sun and sheltered.

The issue I have found is that one of the lavendar has wilted, I realised they like grit like conditions and actually thinking where they originate made sense, however the other lavender seems to be okay. The laburnum seems to have sort of gone brown, the nemesia now looks dry and  brown. 

I am unsure of what the issue is. Is it the soil? The lack of grit/drainage, where they are placed? Have I over watered? It has been really hot and since planting 4 weeks ago, I have watered 4 times.

I wanted a yellow, purple and white container with some evergreen in there. Would anyone be able to recommend any plants that are likely to survive the container? The euonymous and heather seem to be doing fine (fingers crossed)

Sorry for the long post. Thank you for all your help!



  • Buzzy2Buzzy2 Posts: 135
    The soil looks very dry!
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Posts: 3,991
    "It has been really hot and since planting 4 weeks ago, I have watered 4 times."
    @SKW 4 times in 4 weeks? You must be joking! You should have watered every day...

    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • SKWSKW Posts: 9
    It still feels damp when putting my finger in about 3-4 inches which is why I didn't water as much. I didn't want to water log the roots. 
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    When you plant up new plants they are very vulnerable at first; they need to recover from the disturbance and get their roots established. Even sun-lovers find heat and drought testing. You say you have watered four times in four weeks but in hot, breezy weather such as we are having now, you could expect to water almost every day. The key thing is to stick a finger into the soil and see if it is moist and water if it isn't - a good soaking, not a splash. If you have let the soil get very dry, the water may just run off and not penetrate to the roots so extra care is needed with this. It runs out at the bottom and you think it's ok but it has just gone down the edge.
    You may be able to rescue some of the plants, don't rush to throw them out. Good luck!
  • SKWSKW Posts: 9
    Thank you @Posy. I will give it a good water and see how I get on, that seems to be the same as what @Papi Jo and @Buzzy2 have also said.

    I water the plants at the back of the house daily as that seems to dry out very quickly. 

    I am wondering if the soil is holding on to too much water in the container as it seems damp from about 3-4 inch. Hmm.

    Thanks guys!
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,910
    edited June 2020
    In addition to what the others have said re watering, you're not going to be able to leave that laburnum in there.
    They become huge trees and need to be in the ground.
    Compost isn't any good long term either. You'll need a soil based medium for them, and some grit and compost all mixed together,  to make sure the soil drains freely, but still has enough substance. 
    As @Posy says - even sunlovers need a lot of water when establishing, and the roots on those little plants are all near the surface just now, so if the first few inches are dry, that's the problem. 

    Sorry - I've just seen that you used some topsoil as well. That's fine, but it should all be mixed together, and as you've realised, lavenders like quite sharp drainage. At the moment, that laburnum will be using up most of the nutrients too. The whole planter would need copious watering every day in this weather, as @Papi Jo has said. If you do it at night, it will evaporate more slowly too.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • LynLyn Posts: 22,833
    I think you got the wrong plants together in there, the tree needs to be planted in the garden.

    Heathers need damp shade soil, think of Scotland, and Lavender likes dry sun, think of Italy and other hot Mediterranean countries. 

    Perhaps you can get a box of annuals for this year and keep well watered and do some research as to what plants will happily live together. But not a tree. 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • SKWSKW Posts: 9
    @Fairygirl @Lyn thank you very much for your comments.

    Completely makes sense about the top layer being dry and roots. I've given it a good water this morning and will continue.

    Thank you for the tips re plants. I think I got swept away with trying to get all the right colours, colour in each season and the plants I could get my hands on rather than focusing on what works well.

    I will move some of them to the border on the back garden. Regarding the laburnum, I thought it might be okay for a year or so in there and then move to the garden? Or does it grow a lot quicker than that?

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge! :smile:

  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,905
    Whatever else you do, please get the laburnum out ASAP. Apart from anything else, it really needs to be in the ground rather than the planter, and it would be better to get it into its final location as soon as you can.
    Our next door neighbour has one, (around 25 years old), a beautiful tree.

  • SKWSKW Posts: 9
    Thank you @AnniD I shall move it this weekend. I hadn't realised it needed to be planted in it's final position so soon! I've learned a lot this morning :smile:
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