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Perennials: lithodora problems

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woodspirit1

woodspirit1
Lake Toxaway, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 22, 2009
8:39 PM

Post #6304650

I plant 5 lithodoras 2 years ago. They bloomed beautifully last year. But this year, while the daffodils are out and creeping phlox is about to bloom, my lithodora looks dead. Are they slow to "green up?"
The Plantsfiles shows that they can withstand much colder weather than we got here this year. We got down to 5 degrees.
scicciarella
Mona in Metcalfe, ON
(Zone 5a)

March 23, 2009
2:47 AM

Post #6306231

ok so it is a zone 5 to 7 plant and it like alkaline humus soil also put flat rocks around the plant to keep the moisture or mulch well
it may have gotten wet then cold which would make it go dark but it will come back be patient check your soil or take some to the garden center to have it checked
it is a late spring to early summer bloomer so it will be fine and give it a slow fertilizer granular will help but only a little not to much ok

woodspirit1

woodspirit1
Lake Toxaway, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 23, 2009
3:19 AM

Post #6306371

OK. I have very acid soil, which didn't seem to bother them much last year but I will add lime this year. Thanks for the encouragement.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

March 23, 2009
3:39 AM

Post #6306437

Where did you see about them needing alkaline soil? The Plant Files entries all list them as liking acidic soil. So I'd definitely do a little more checking before you add lime. I have slightly alkaline soil and it didn't seem to bother them though so they're probably not super picky, but it's probably not a good idea to add lime if they'd really rather be a bit on the acidic side.
scicciarella
Mona in Metcalfe, ON
(Zone 5a)

March 23, 2009
1:18 PM

Post #6307374

its called mr. google lol he knows everything
I add the plant name and with comment of ultimate growing conditions and it will give all the info
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

March 23, 2009
2:03 PM

Post #6307540

Mr. Google knows a lot of wrong things as well as right things unfortunately. Plant Files can be mistaken too so I was hoping to see what sites you'd found that info on--some sites are more reliable than others. I googled it myself and found other sites that said acid soil, so it looks like there's some uncertainty over this one. Since the pH that it needs seems a little uncertain, I would recommend leaving the soil pH alone unless the plants were unhappy last year.
scicciarella
Mona in Metcalfe, ON
(Zone 5a)

March 23, 2009
2:08 PM

Post #6307567

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plant_finder/plant_pages/494.shtml
Common Name: Lithodora
Genus: Lithodora
Species: diffusa
Cultivar: 'Heavenly Blue'
Skill Level: Experienced
Exposure: Full sun, Partial shade
Hardiness: Tender
Soil type: Well-drained/light, Chalky/alkaline
Height: 15cm
Spread: 60cm
Time to take cuttings: May to July
Flowering period: June to August


Lithodora, once called lithospermum, has gentian-like flowers during the middle of the summer when few true gentians are blooming. Lithodora is, in any case, easy to grow and flowers well. The evergreen mats of foliage spread slowly to make good ground cover on a rock garden or scree. Unlike many rock plants, lithodora needs a humus-rich soil, rather than a gritty one, so make a special planting pocket for them. Place several rocks close to the plant so the soil underneath remains cool and moist in a hot summer, giving the roots a reliable comfort zone. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Looks good with:
Penstemon heterophyllus 'Heavenly Blue'
Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus'

I use this site since the info is good
hope this helps
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

March 23, 2009
2:26 PM

Post #6307629

Here are some that say acid or acid to neutral soil...Bluestone is definitely reliable--I know less about the other websites but there are lots of others that say acid soil as well.
http://www.bluestoneperennials.com/b/bp/LIGWS.html
http://www.perennials.com/seeplant.html?item=1.325.050
http://www.prideofplaceplants.com/perennials/lithodora_star.html
What this tells me is that there's not 100% certainty out there around what type of soil it likes, so I'll go back to my original thought that if the plant was doing fine last year don't add lime to the soil, no sense in messing with something that was working.
scicciarella
Mona in Metcalfe, ON
(Zone 5a)

March 23, 2009
2:31 PM

Post #6307654

in your shoes I would add compost to make it more humusy and and add some mulch to keep the roots cool and see what happens

maybe it just need a little bit of time and will come back it may just be a little late or maybe something is peeing on it I had some plants die because the dog next door was peeing on some of my plants lol bad doggie
perenniallyme
Jamaica Plain, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 24, 2009
12:04 AM

Post #6310096

I have lost a few lithodoras over past winters (zone 6a), but love them, so tried again. Don't know yet if last years plant will return or not.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

March 24, 2009
1:36 AM

Post #6310540

They're supposed to be hardy to zone 5 so they ought to come back...although since nobody seems to know what kind of soil they like who's to say you can trust what's out there about the hardiness either! LOL But Bluestone sells them and they are in zone 5b or 6a, and I don't think they sell too much that's not hardy there (although you may need to mulch them over the winter to improve their chances)
perenniallyme
Jamaica Plain, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 24, 2009
1:45 AM

Post #6310580

Well I know I mulched my 2 that died, and my current one (dead or alive) too.
scicciarella
Mona in Metcalfe, ON
(Zone 5a)

March 24, 2009
1:53 AM

Post #6310617

I read that it maybe better to use rocks to keep the roots cool
it maybe that mulch may keep it to moist

I would wait to see what happens with them try taking the mulch away from the stem of the plant a few inches look at it maybe something has been eating at the stems down there and if you dont see anything then just be patient and see what happens

woodspirit1

woodspirit1
Lake Toxaway, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 24, 2009
8:28 AM

Post #6311611

I didn't use rocks or anything because they were supposed to make it in my zone. We have a cool climate up here in the mountains so the rocks would be unnecessary. But I wish I had mulched them as it got colder than usual here this winter. Pity. I was hoping to have that greenery all winter.
I was surprised at the information from England calling them tender perennials.
I think I bought them through Bluestone and I will try again if they do not recover because I adored them.
scicciarella
Mona in Metcalfe, ON
(Zone 5a)

March 24, 2009
12:45 PM

Post #6312051

I think most of the tender ones its the windchill and also when it thaws the roots get wet and if it freezes that night it is very hard on the plant
I lost many plants this winter since we had three thaws and then flash freezes down to
-26F overnight which is more like a zone 4 than 5 so my babies that I protected really good since they are zone 6 may all be dead lol I have to wait and see if what I did was enough for them to survive what was an extremely cold winter for us this year
perenniallyme
Jamaica Plain, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 24, 2009
1:03 PM

Post #6312122

We're back to winter again here, after briefly being teased with the approach of spring. If my lithodora survives, I intend to try rooting cuttings this year, to give me more chances of at least one surviving next winter.
scicciarella
Mona in Metcalfe, ON
(Zone 5a)

March 24, 2009
3:04 PM

Post #6312675

with tender perennials its always a good idea to take cutings

woodspirit1

woodspirit1
Lake Toxaway, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 24, 2009
9:35 PM

Post #6314325

when I looked them up before purchasing, I thought they could take it in our zone 6-7. But we had unusually cold weather and some of it came on very suddenly. they really look sad right now.
scicciarella
Mona in Metcalfe, ON
(Zone 5a)

March 24, 2009
11:05 PM

Post #6314637

give them time
when I looked it said up to zone 5 for some kinds and 7 for others
I have a feeling that they may come back with some rain and sunshine
I know that many of my plants look really bad right now but they are
very hardy and will perk right up in a few weeks so by the end of april things
will start to look alive and make me smile again
yotedog
Raleigh, NC

March 25, 2009
1:32 PM

Post #6316839

Are yours in sun or shade? I bought about 10 of them last year, of which one survives. I found they absolutely can't get dry, and full sun, at least in my zone 7-8 garden was way too much. The label when I bought them said "shade" but I've since seen everything from full sun to full shade--very confusing. I suspect they will take much more sun in cooler climes.

Also, the one that survives is in a raised bed with neutral to alkaline soil, not in my local, acidic clay, for what its worth. And it is in the shade. Not sure if it will bloom in the shade, but we will see very soon...
perenniallyme
Jamaica Plain, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 25, 2009
1:41 PM

Post #6316878

Mine seemed happy in about 7 hours of morning to early afternoon sun. I think it was the winter that killed them off.
scicciarella
Mona in Metcalfe, ON
(Zone 5a)

March 25, 2009
5:53 PM

Post #6318027

but it is normal for evergreen plants to look real bad in the spring I was out in the back this morning and many of my gallardia looks dead right now but I know they will green up with some rain and warmer weather be patient

woodspirit1

woodspirit1
Lake Toxaway, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 26, 2009
8:04 PM

Post #6323433

they were in part shade and did well. Also bloomed well. So the winter may have killed them. But it is cooler here than the rest of NC, so maybe they will come out yet. Tick Tock. I am impatient
scicciarella
Mona in Metcalfe, ON
(Zone 5a)

March 26, 2009
10:18 PM

Post #6323990

give them a few weeks do not take them out, my sister has taken out plants time and time again just to give them to me since she said its dead and I plant it and lord and behold two months later they are blooming hahahhaha
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

March 27, 2009
1:22 AM

Post #6324789

I agree--I never give up on anything until at least June. I can't count the number of times I have a plant that I gave up for dead and it surprises me and comes back (fortunately I'm lazy and take forever to get around to cleaning up my dead plants...otherwise I probably would have thrown away some things that still had life in them!)
scicciarella
Mona in Metcalfe, ON
(Zone 5a)

March 27, 2009
2:46 PM

Post #6326888

in my zone I wait till the end of july since rose of sharon, and trumpet vines done show anything till the beginning of july and when they do boy the go fast after that since they bloom by end of july beginning of august till the frost
katie59
Woodinville, WA
(Zone 8b)

March 27, 2009
6:09 PM

Post #6327859

I have lithodora growing well under a small dogwood tree. The soil drains well and is well-amended with compost, but it's acid as is most of our soil in my area. The bed is on the north side of my house, but away from the house and gets sun from late morning to mid-afternoon.

It took a year or two to get established and really take off. Now I don't even water it. My cold temps were in the teens several times this winter and we had a two-week period with 2 ft of snow and subsequent melt. It didn't even seem to phase the Lithodora.

It doesn't bloom as well as I would like here, but that may be because I don't feed it and we don't get as much sun as in other parts of the country.

Kathy
greenthumb_NC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 27, 2009
8:52 PM

Post #6328442

I just happened to be at the neighbors' and noticed the beautiful plants. I have seen them for 2 growing years and was impressed by the beautiful intense blue. I searched around and found that we can buy them here at the Home Depot. His flowers were on the north shaded by his house. I haven't looked this year to see if they are again in bloom!!

Karin ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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