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Soil Too Rich?

Hello all,

I'm wondering if anyone can confirm my suspicions. 
I have planting bed put in about two years back (south-ish facing). I'm quite new to proper gardening so when filling I just mixed 50/50 ratio of compost to topsoil.

I put in a purple wisteria, camilia (both flowering on purchase) and rambling rose (bare root).
I'm getting decent growth on all, especially the rose during growing season, but none will flower. Is my soil too rich perhaps?

NB I also have auto irrigation set up to keep things just moist enough consistently.


  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,192
    edited 28 April
    Welcome. What are you planting into? Is it an open garden bed, a raised bed, a planter with a sealed bottom? What were you 'filling'? And how deep is it?

    I doubt that the problem will be "rich soil". Camellias like slightly acid soil, so you might want to plant them separately into ericaceous soil. All the plants you have mentioned will be best in open garden beds and they can get to be big plants that like a deep root run.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,463
    Camellias prefer a moist, cool site, with some shade, and drainage, so it might be too hot and dry for it.
    They need lots of water in late summer/early autumn as that's when the new buds form. If it's otherwise healthy, that's the most common  reason for no flowers. If it's only been in that length of time, it will have been getting established the first year anyway, before getting going properly. Rich soil isn't necessarily a problem for them, they just need neutral to acidic soil, and the aforementioned factors.
    As for the others, a bare root climber of any kind will also take a while to establish, as the roots are formed first before the flowering gets going properly, and wisteria can take years to flower. 
    Your irrigation may be a problem if you're only keeping it just moist. New plants need large amounts of water so that the soil is soaked well into the ground, and that's better done every few days, or even less depending on the soil, rather than light watering every day. That just encourages roots to stay near the surface which isn't what's wanted.  Adding organic matter regularly also helps to keep the soil in good condition , especially after watering  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 11,374
    Highly unlikely that too rich a soil is the problem,
    Have you fed the plants?
    He calls her the chocolate girl
    Cause he thinks she melts when he touches her
    She knows she's the chocolate girl
    Cause she's broken up and swallowed
    And wrapped in bits of silver
  • stu22ukstu22uk Posts: 4
    Thanks to all for responses. 

    Planting into a raised border bed, about 400mm deep, but long and narrow against trellis. Bottom is not sealed and has layer of rubble to assist drainage before onto the original heavy clay soil.

    Here in Glasgow area, and although south facing the "sun" exposure is only for half the day due to buildings. I can't say my soil is too dry either, the top surface never dries out. 
    I have a salvia and a couple of clematis in between and they seem to grow and flower great, as do the annuals I shove in.

    Plants get fed with slow release and liquid fertilizers during the growing season.

    Perhaps a combination of lack of establishment, although flowering when bought despite being young plants (how do they do that?) and watering too regularly, delaying root development.

    All suggestions welcomed.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,463
    Do you mean you have all those plants mentioned in that wee bed?
    If so, you'll need to take at least two of them out. Certainly the Camellia, and  the wisteria. The rose on it's own will cover that if it has enough sustenance. Ramblers are mostly huge. An ordinary rose would cover that.
    If you have 2 clematis in there as well, they're all going to struggle. Even one of the smaller clems would fill that space.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • stu22ukstu22uk Posts: 4
    Thanks Fairlygirl. Told you I was new!

    Can I just ask, why will they 'struggle', lack of space to grow, lack of nutrients etc?

    Do people not sometimes intentionally plant potentially large plants in pots in order to control their size? If so, is this not just what would happen here?  
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,192
    Great that all the plants you have you say are doing well and putting on growth. Do you have space to move some of the plants? We learn as we go. It's part of gardening.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,463
    The problem is that there simply isn't enough room for all the plants you've got in there @stu22uk , so yes - ultimately, nutrients and water will be in short supply and you'll forever be trying to keep on top of that. You won't get the best from any of the plants either. It takes all of those plant a fair while to establish, before starting to grow on well, and that's where they'll struggle.
    They can be flowering as young plants when individually cared for, and with no competition, but once planted, they have to establish below ground first.     :)
    You can certainly keep some plants potted to 'contain' them, but it isn't always that simple, as some simply won't thrive due to lack of root space. It's always worth checking the requirements of any plant, before buying it if possible, and the approx. eventual sizes, so that you can see if you have a suitable site and conditions for it. Saves potential disappointment, and a lot of money, and we have to live up to our stereotype now and again eh?  ;)
    If you know what the varieties are, of the clematis in particular, that will help with advice. The bigger flowered ones need a lot of food and water, whereas some of the small early ones need the opposite, and do well with poorer soil, and drier conditions. The Camellia won't thrive for long, or the Wisteria, in such a tight space though. It might be difficult to remove them easily though, but as they haven't been in long, it's possible to do it.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • stu22ukstu22uk Posts: 4
    Well, I'll be enlarging a bed in the front garden this year. That will free up some space and Ill shift the Camelia. I really wanted the wisteria to do well where it is. I'll be putting a pergola onto the existing structure, the plan was always to try an get that and the rose to become entwined in that. Although, as I'm finding, the plants soon tell you what's what!
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