Care of hanging Million Bells-wilting already : (

Discussion in 'Flower Gardening' started by tracydanger, May 17, 2008.

  1. tracydanger

    tracydanger New Seed

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    Hi. New to forum. FYI, I tend to have a black thumb!! I bought two large hanging baskets of million bells on Monday and today the leaves are already looking wilted! Originally, they were in a somewhat shaded area with a lot of ambient light, but I moved them to full sun location and was watering when the top of the soil felt slightly moist. Today they felt pretty dry. I bought these b/c they were supposed to be easy to care for and bloom all season, but I'm already off to a bad start!

    I am planning on getting them some fertizizer today. They will be hanging in a partial shade area if they survive. ANY suggestions for my black thumb would be appreciated. I kill almost everything except succulent plants ; )
     



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  2. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    Hi Tracy, welcome to the Stew. How about posting an intro of yourself in the Welcome To GardenStew forum so we can get to know you.

    Sounds like it could be a combination of full sun too soon and too much water.

    If the plants had been growing in a somewhat shaded area then putting them straight out in full sun probably put them in shock. They prefer full sun but for now you could move them to a partial shade area, morning sun/afternoon shade until they recover then you can start slowly giving them more sun.

    Also, do not overwater, that can also cause the leaves to wilt. Keep them on the dry side but not so dry they start to wilt from thirst. Stick your finger into the soil, if it is dry down to between the first and second knuckle then water but don't keep the soil moist.

    We would love to see pictures of them when you get the chance.
     
  3. Joann

    Joann Seedling

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    Hi Tracy..I buy alot of hanging baskets every year. After searching your plant on the net I believe I may have unknowinly picked up a 'million bells' yesterday. They look like tiny petunias and the basket is gorgeous.

    Since you admit your black thumb and you said you watered and the basket was already dry I thought I'd offer advice on how I water my hanging baskets. I found out the hard way that some people dont know how to water when I had my neighbor water for me while I was away for a week. She sprinkled..and it was July!

    Hanging baskets dry out quickly..especially in the heat or if it's windy. They also dont recieve the rain our other plants might get. A dry basket will feel real light when you gently swing it. That's how I know it's time to water. Water with a gentle slow stream of water..some of the watering wands work well if you keep the water turned down low. If water runs over the top of your basket..it's not watered thoroughly yet, that means you may want to turn your hose down a notch or two. You want to keep watering until water runs (pours) out of your drainage hole in the bottom of the basket. After you do that..give your basket a gentle swing and feel how heavy it feels..that's a well deep watered basket. That should be good for two or three days depending on the temp outside. Do the swing test daily until you get a feel for it and figure out how often you should water.

    I found the following tips for 'million bells' on the net.

    Growing Tips
    Keeping plants too wet can lead to root rot diseases. Allow the top of the soil to dry before watering again. If your plant is wilting even though the soil is still damp you likely have a root rot problem. Self-cleaning, no deadheading necessary.

    It should have at least a half day of full sun, regular watering and routine fertilization to stay in bloom all summer. Unlike petunias which loaded up with seed pods and stop flowering, Calibracoa will continue blooming up to the first hard freeze.

    Hope this helps..Joann
     
  4. Papa2mykids

    Papa2mykids Seedling

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    Hi,

    I work in a nursery/garden center and the plant you refer to is "Calibrachoa" (million bells).

    All hanging baskets dry out rather quick, esp in heat and wind. As the temps warm up and the plant grows requiring more water, you may find yourself watering more than once a day.

    Calibrachoa require full sun (full sun is 6 or more hours a day)

    It sounds like it was dry and maybe a bit of shock. To much sun will show leaf scorch and to much water will show wilt and eventually yellowing and root rot. Not the case for you.

    Sounds like dehydration.

    Swing your plant from sun to shade to harden it off.

    Feed with liquid food 1/2 dose every week or full dose at least once every two weeks. Better option is to use something like Osomacoat or Miracle grow shake and feed. These products feed from 3 to 4 months on a time release system.

    Ron
     
  5. dirt2diamonds

    dirt2diamonds In Flower

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    A lot of the plnaters that you buy filled to the brim with flowering plants have crowded roots which leaves little room for soil and if there is little soiol there is no absorption of water.

    Dit you check your purchase to see if maybe a larger pot was needed? If the planter is full of roots you will never be able to keep up with the water demand of the plant. I have a hard time with hanging bsaskets because the water runs off of the top and I think that I have watered sufficiently. It must run through the bottom.

    The million bells should be a plant that you can handle and you have received some good advice from the above stewers. Hang in there. And if this one does not make it, don't give up on them. Try them in a different way.

    One year I used a million bells as a edger in the garder and it was huge an healthy. People stopped to look at it. I figured that was a fluke and I never tried again. I had one in a planter one year and it showed out and was a show stopper. Last year I had two to die in planters. But when they work, they really work.
     
  6. tracydanger

    tracydanger New Seed

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    Thanks for all of the great tips. It did bounce back nicely within a day with a good watering. I hope I can maintaine them. They are so pretty. Ihave seen a few people gawking as they drove by as they are now hanging on my porch!
     
  7. Papa2mykids

    Papa2mykids Seedling

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    A little tip for some hanging baskets and potted plants.

    If root bound or the soil drys and water runs out, poke several holes all the way down with a pencil and then water.

    The holes help allow water to soak down more effeciantly.

    Ron
     
  8. jo_jo

    jo_jo New Seed

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    I also have a wilting super bell plant. I wondered if I should prune it some or leave it or what??? It was beautiful when my husband gave to me on Mother's Day!!! Help!!