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Native and Wild Plants: Should I continue watering sping ephemerals?

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Forum: Native and Wild PlantsReplies: 6, Views: 70
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Des Plaines, IL
(Zone 5b)

June 28, 2012
6:08 PM

Post #9185433

I have some spring woodlanders that are going brown and, but I don't know if it's because they're ephemeral and going dormant or the heat. They are woodland poppy, jack in the pulpit and woodland phlox, all pictured. I've been watering them, but don't know if that is correct or not. Can someone help?

I also have spring woodlanders that still have nice leaves, such as bleeding heart. I am watering those, too. Is that correct?

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Coon Rapids, MN
(Zone 4b)

June 28, 2012
6:34 PM

Post #9185447

One of the best reasons to landscape with natives is that if they are situated properly, they should not require supplemental watering once they are established. So my answer would be that if they are new plantings, go ahead and give them an occasional deep watering to help them establish a strong root system, but if they are established plants they will actually be just fine on their own. If they are established plants and seem to require watering every year, then your best bet would be to find locations that suit them better, and find other natives that suit the location better.
Des Plaines, IL
(Zone 5b)

June 28, 2012
6:38 PM

Post #9185449

Thanks, 16blue! I would normally not give much of anything supplemental water except my hydrangeas and newly planted plants, but we're in a drought and I just feel like they're thirsty even if they're going dormant. I'll continue to water because my garden still looks good in these hellish conditions - 100 degrees and bone dry!


Lucketts, VA
(Zone 7a)

June 28, 2012
7:33 PM

Post #9185558

Your woodland phlox and wood poppy both go dormant after flowering. Drought may hasten the process but it will proceed despite watering.
Des Plaines, IL
(Zone 5b)

June 30, 2012
6:52 AM

Post #9187254

Thank you, Greenthumb. The weird thing about my wood poppy is that it is still throwing out a bloom here and there! I checked to insure it is not the exotic (oriental?) wood poppy as the two get mixed up in the trade and it is truly the native. I think I'll stop watering. They should all be established by now.


Royal Oak, MI
(Zone 6a)

July 3, 2012
12:47 PM

Post #9191552

I keep watering mine (just the ones I normally water whenever the weather is dry, not the ones on their own in the woodland areas) until I see them begin to turn yellow. Then I know their dormancy is beginning. The bleeding hearts on one half of my yard often last a couple extra months, probably due to more shade. Others like the the trilliums, mayapples, and jack in the pulpits go dormant the same time of season no matter the water.
Des Plaines, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 3, 2012
6:51 PM

Post #9192008

Good info - thanks, Eleven! My bleeding heart is in shade, too, and believe it or not - leaves still look good in several weeks of 90+ and a few 100+ days. And no rain!

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