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Achillea - lower leaves droopy & yellow

KimWKimW Posts: 5

I'm a newbie gardener with a southwest facing roof terrace. I bought an achillea pomegranate 3 weeks ago and repotted it into a larger pot, perhaps unwisely using potting compost. (I've since discovered they prefer less rich soil... Oh dear.) I watered it well after repotting, and for the first week, but then the lower leaves started to droop and turn yellow, so I wondered if I'd been over-watering, especially as the label says 'drought-tolerant'. For the last 2 weeks I've watered very sparingly (it's been hot and dry), but the lower leaves are still drooping and yellow. The soil now feels v dry. At the same time, the top of the plant looks healthy and like it's about to burst into blossom. Am I underwatering or overwatering it, or is it just unhappy in rich soil? Any advice on how to make it happier would be really welcome!

Many thanks in advance.




  • KimWKimW Posts: 5


    Here's a photo of the poor thing. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,030

    I'd say it needs a bigger pot, but also, if it's on a roof terrace, it may need a bit of protection from wind, which is very drying. If you can move it into a bit of shade,  you may find it improves.  When a plant is stressed, it's not uncommon for it to drop some foliage anyway, so I wouldn't worry about that too much.

    If the plant's a bit pot bound, the roots don't really get out into the surrounding soil properly. Make sure the roots aren't tight and solid - tease them out before planting. That's a common reason for a plant struggling a bit  image

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

  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 13,025

    That is suffering from an acute case of dehydration.

    There are ashtrays of emulsion,
    for the fag ends of the aristocracy.
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,973

    I'd say it's pretty normal, I've noticed this happens a lot on newly planted things. Probably a combination of changing growing conditions and the plant diverting it's energy into the top growth and flowers. In the border it's less noticeable than in a pot. Trimming off the yellow bits won't do any harm. 

  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,973

    Maybe trim off the yellowing leaves and plant into a larger pot with something planted around the edge to disguise its bare bottom ;)

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  • KimWKimW Posts: 5

    Oh my goodness, this forum is AMAZING! I have now moved the achillea to a more sheltered spot, watered it a bit, and have trimmed off the yellow. Will see how it goes, and then might also transfer to a larger pot. But it sounds like it's not at death's door, so that's encouraging! Thank you all so much for your advice! 

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,030

    Kim - it'll be fine. The problem with plants that like lots of sun is, that even thought they do, when they're in pots, it's hard for them to get enough moisture up from the soil to sustain a lot of foliage. It makes watering a bit tricky, as the water gets used very quickly, and also evaporates, so giving them a bit of shade during the hottest part of the day will help enormously image

    You can also try watering in the evening , so that the plant can take it up and make better use of it. You can also put some gravel over the soil surface after watering as it will help lessen the evaporation.

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

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,687

    It does look a bit pot bound. But be careful not to water often and in small amounts as a pot plant, esepcially a newly potted plant will not form roots downwards, in fact, you could be encouraging them to grow upwards sometimes, which will weaken the plant and not be able to defend itself if you don't water them often. On a roof terrace, it may be quite windy too, so not only will the leaves get dry but the soil too, so I agree with Fairygirl, it still needs watering even if it's supposed to be drought tolerant. 

    Nothing wrong with snipping bits of dead leaves either, it is very normal to have base leaves drooping. Especially when it's about to be flowering soon. Common with a lot of perennials.

  • KimWKimW Posts: 5

    Ah, thanks so much, Fairygirl & Borderline - that's really helpful to know. I will put some gravel/small stones on top of the soil, and will try to water a decent amount when it looks dry, rather than watering it little and often. I've generally been watering my plants only in the evenings, so I'll continue with that. Thanks again! 


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