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Plants not looking very happy.

Hi there. I planted a Boston ivy and Honeysuckle a few months ago but looking at them today they don't look very happy. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas what's the matter with them. Many thanks for your kind help.


  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,465
    Can you post a picture of the root areas and soil around them? My best guess is not enough water. The ground near walls and fences is often in rain shadow so they rely on you for water.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • hi there yes I never know if I've over watered them. The honeysuckle is actually in a pot.
  • Ysera27Ysera27 Posts: 41
    edited September 2021
    The Boston Ivy takes a while to get going and the growth will have shut down now as we are into autumn. It's deciduous isn't it? Will be dropping leaves soon. Just keep it watered and wait for spring.

    The honeysuckle will be the same. Looks like that's also a deciduous one. But - they don't do well in pots and if you can then it would be better to put it into the ground. 
  • Hi there. Yes I never know if I've over watered them which is causing it.
  • O ok. Why don't they do well in pots as opposed to in the ground if they have free soil around them. Thanks
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,465
    There isn't room for the root to spread out, the sides of the pot can get heated by the sun, and there's more chance of getting too dry. The one that's in the ground between the two walls also probably doesn't get as much rainfall as you might think, and there might also be wall footings under the ground taking up space and limiting the root run. Hopefully it's just normal autumn leaf fall that's causing the leaves to go brown and they'll grow away in spring, but keep an eye on them when they start growing and make sure they don't go short of water - they won't need much once they're dormant for the winter. It's much easier to underwater than overwater unless you have really bad soil drainage or blocked drainage holes in the pot.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Hello - the ivy looks as it is in a narrow space between two walls. It is highly likely that the rain won't get down there very well, so regular watering will be needed.

    Honeysuckle grows big and so its root system is correspondingly large. In the ground, it can send out roots and find the water it needs. However, it will be restricted in a pot, and so again, will be very dependent on you for watering it. If the pot has drainage holes in the bottom, it is very hard to over-water as the water just drains out.

    If you want to keep it in the pot, then two suggestions: use a soil-based medium (eg John Innes no 3 or top soil, mixed about 50/50 with multi-purpose compost); and put the pot on some feet to help drainage.

    Hope this helps.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,465
    Here's another thought - make sure that the green plastic ties aren't cutting into the stems. They'd be better replaced with soft string.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,905
    Agree with @JennyJ. Boston Ivy wants to become massive, but it needs suitable conditions, and plenty of water.
    @Ysera27 is also right - honeysuckles rarely manage in pots. They just aren't suited to that. 
    Both these plants will cover huge areas of walls and buildings, and honeysuckles will grow through hedges and over sheds/garages etc.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Hi there. Many thanks for your comments. When you say it's hard to overwater plants in a pot with drainage holes I thought you had to wait till pot  dries out first before watering or does it not matter. Will the roots get damaged by too much water? Many thanks from a beginner.
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