Some of my durantas took a frost hit this winter while others weren't touched by it. Guess it depends on what kind of protection, or lack thereof, each one had. The ones that took the hit are driving me crazy because they look like brown sticks in the ground. Can I prune them now? Feb. 1? And what's the best way to do it?
Mine are brown to the ground and I am whacking them back this weekend. I will however dump composted Live Oak leaves on the bases.
I also want to get a very sharp picture of the brutal thorns the variegated one sports.
I am also part time Jacksonville and part time Okeechobee so I will be checking out the nurseries in Fort Lauderdale.
Mine are sprouting new growth and I only see one branch that is not coming back, all the brown branches are actually full of new spouts, so you might wait and see where the new growth is coming out. The new growth on my plants is pretty much the whole plant with the exception of about the top couple inches of the branch tips. I didn't cover mine and they are in full sun.
The "scratch test" may reveal if there is any life in the lower part of the stems. If you want to proceed with pruning the Duranta now:
Start at a top point on each stem and slightly nick the outer bark/skin with the edge of your fingernail or a small pointed knife.
Keep nicking every 6 inches or so as you move down the stem. Brown inner bark (cambium layer) indicates that section of the stem is probably dead. If you happen to find bright green cambium (indicating living tissue), you can prune an inch or two below the line where the bright green tissue first appears. This will ensure you cut off the dead tissue and prevent the spread of fungi, viruses and bacterial infections down toward the root crown.
If you want to be truly fastidious, you can wipe your pruning shears down with alcohol after each stem you prune off to make sure you are not spreading any disease from stem to stem, but I never bother with that.
If you want to whack the Duranta all the way to the ground and mulch with some leaves or pine straw, as others have suggested, that will also work. The stems will regenerate from the root crown.
The compact/dwarf and variegated types of Duranta are slower to recover than the standard D. erecta bush, but they all will generally survive being killed back to ground level.
One of my durantas is covered with new growth. Other 4 are brown. At end of Feb. I'll do scratch test however pruning will be done after last frost or freeze as I have killed some large shrubs in the past from over anxious pruning. Micro climates sure do exist within same garden.
Anyone have any suggestions on how to stop sooty mold on a confederate rose. I have tried so many chemicals and nothing seems to work. Plant lives barely but doesn't flower well any more. Bonnie
The black stuff on your leaves is called sooty mold and it is a by-product of your whiteflies. They secrete a sugary substance called honeydew, and this provides a food source for the whiteflies. The confederate rose is one of the best hosts a whitefly has ever known; it ranks right up there next to gardenias.
Once you get the whiteflies under control the sooty mold will eventually wear off. An application of a horticultural oil spray will help control the whiteflies, and help to loosen the sooty mold. It won't be long before the confederate rose loses its leaves for the winter so both problems will be gone.
If you have confederate rose you will have whiteflies. There are systemic insecticides available that can be applied at ground level which are then absorbed by the plant through its roots. The plant in essence becomes the "poison apple" for the whiteflies when they suck the poison into their crummy little bodies.
Di-Syston is one product that comes to mind. A spray form is called Cygon. There shouldn't be a problem with the plant surviving.
For those of you who don't know what a confederate rose is, meet Hibiscus mutabilis.
Thanks much Kay,
Everything you mentioned I have tried except Cygon. Will get some and try it. They are so beautiful when in bloom. Those little white flies act like I sprayed bottom of leaves with my upholstery adhesive I use in my drapery workrm. One year I even washed ea. leave with alcohol plus pulled off infected leaves to no avail. I'll keep trying another year but I'm sure sick of trying to keep it going. Thanks so much for your efforts.
BTW its in full sun. Could that be the problem? I always research every cultavar I plant before setting it out.
Bonnie, full sun is fine and not the problem. Have you tried Bayer shrub and tree drench? I swear by this product and use it on everything. Read up on it and I think you will find it's the best $18 you will ever spend!
KayJ is correct -- the sooty mold is just a by-product of the sugary poop of white flies, aphids and some other plant pests. The sweet excretions provide a perfect medium (like agar in petri dishes) for the mold to grow. Though it is unsightly, the black mold in itself is not particularly harmful unless it builds up to the degree that it blocks sunlight from entering the leaf cells. Confederate Rose is the ultimate white fly paradise resort. The buggers will seek the shrub whether it is in sun or part shade. The population of white flies will steadily increase until the underside of the leaves are clogged with white flies and their webby eggs, and any slight shaking of the shrub will send up a roiling cloud of white flies that seem to get a big thrill out of flying up my nose.
As suggested above, get rid of the white flies and the mold will disappear on its own within a growing season or two.
The current organic method of keeping white flies off a Confederate Rose is to use worm castings (earthworm poop). There is no scientific confirmation that it works, but those that have tried worm castings around the base of a Confederate Rose have reported good results. I've been using worm castings and "worm tea" (collected and diluted worm urine from my worm bin) on my small Confederate Rose, and so far - no whiteflies. I sent a note to the UF IFAS agriculture professors suggesting that a grad student or one of the professors should test the worm castings theory, but I don't think they took up the study. It may just be one of those weird organic things that work -- like using coffee grounds around a sago palm to prevent and even cure the Asian white scale problem (an organic trick which has been tested and verified as true by UF IFAS).
Certainly will locate the Bayer shrub and tree drench. I have tried organic methods first as I try to shy away from pesticides however with no results.
Jeremy, worm castings and rabbit manure are the best fertilizers on earth.
We used to have New Zealand whites, breeders and meat offsprings and I sure miss their droppings. If I could find a rabbit farm in Fl. I would haul it home. We have black angus so thats our main form of fertilizer plus slow release products.
This is the last season I am going to toil over the confederate rose. It has cost me more than its worth to me plus the aggrevation. From now on its grow or go.
Thanks to all for info. Bonnie
You live in a beautiful area. Love the beaches.
I have 3 YTT plants right next to rose and they don't get it. Who knows.
I think plants are like people - temperamental and sometimes fickle. Found the sprays on line so will try Bayer one. Is the one that says protection and feed the right one?
I also gave up on my large Confederate Rose about 5 years ago. It was so infested with white flies that nothing seemed to help to get rid of them. The white flies seem to have such a preference for the Confederate Rose that they don't spread much to neighboring plants. I tried transplanting the Confederate Rose to an area of my yard where I wouldn't have to deal with a big bang explosion of white flies every time I brushed against the plant, but the Confederate Rose didn't survive the transplant. Good riddance! I am trying again with a Confederate Rose that is still only about 24 inches high. I'm doing everything I can organically to keep away the white flies. If that fails, I will probably switch to the soil drench mentioned above. If that fails, it will be another Confederate Rose for the compost heap!
I have that crazy hibiscus that hangs upside down and it gets white flies. I am trying to cut them back far enough to eradicate them.
I don't even think Confederate roses are all that pretty when down here in "Gardener's Heaven" we have so many other choices,
Confederate Roses die here so never have the problem past that.
I'm not sure where Clermont is, but whereever, if you haven't signed up to freecycle, you should. There are a lot of rabbit owners/farmers out there who would give away their rabbit poop. You'd just have to bring your own bins and probably shovel it up.
No doubt Jeremy has run across some of this in Craigs list free stuff too.
I believe llama and alpaca poop is just as good as rabbit poo and ready to use.
I haven't looked on Freecycle for manures, but I do often see the ads on Craig's List for horse poo, either free if you load it yourself or bagged for a small fee. I haven't seen anyone giving away rabbit poo in our area.
It's been a while since I've gotten rabbit poo from freecycle, however, when 4paws was here in September, she was doing some worm trading with a rabbit farmer. The rabbit farm is over in Archer so I gained a bucket of poo in the deal.
Re: duranta thorns. Got only point of one right through my garden gloves didn't break off and go into finger but wow is it swollen and sore and stiff. How do you treat soreness? None of my other duranta have thorns but I think this one blooms white and purple. Anyhow its going out of the my garden. I have a rule I don't buy any plants with thorns. I love bouganvilla but don't have any. Been soaking it in epson salts and putting ichthammol ointment on it. 2 yrs. ago got a thorn in other finger on right hand. Made swollen hard place and after 8 mos. it finally went down but still has hard lump there 2 yrs. later. Boy these plants must have some strong poison in them. Any suggestions on how to treat this better I would appreciate it. Bonnie