06 December 2015

A Gardening Conundrum

It started a few weeks ago, just after the heatwave in October, a branch of my cape mallow bush started to die, I didn't worry about it too much, things die, that's just the way it is. When the branch died completely I cut it off and put it out of my mind. 

Then one morning I went out to water the pot plants and noticed that the lemon balm was dead and that the parsley in the same pot wasn't looking too good either.

About a week later, another branch of the cape mallow bush started to die, and then I noticed that the tomatoes that I'm growing in pots were starting to look a bit sickly, some more than others, yet the chillies that are growing in the same area were fine. 

If I didn't know better I would think it was wilt.
A chilli plant not affected at all.
A couple of days later I noticed the leaves on the buddleja were a bit droopy, like it needed watering, which I did, it didn't make any difference.
Can you see how droopy the leaves on the left of the photo look?
The Grapevine and lavenders look like they have been affected too, yet the grapes are still growing, and the plant in the pot next to them is flourishing.

The Geraldton Wax bush that is growing between the cape mallow and the buddleja is completely unaffected and is growing well. 

I just don't understand what's going on,  the cape mallow is now completely dead,
the rest of the plants seem to be holding their own at the moment. 

Can anyone offer some advice? It would be very much appreciated.


  1. Trying to garden in pots in Australia is a real problem after October. They should either go into the ground or into a shade clothed nursery to recover. The heat, and general lack of space for their roots makes them sick.

    1. Thank you for that I will keep it in mind.

  2. It might be the pots. I've found that if they dry out (like during a heatwave) the majority of the potting mix becomes hydrophobic.The top centimeter or so still wets nicely, and the water runs down between the sides of the pot and the rest of the potting mix without wetting it. I've fixed it with soaking the pots for a day or two by putting them in a tray/bucket and adding water until the potting mix is saturated, putting an empty tray under to catch the water and let it soak up as needed, and then putting mulch on the top to slow the water evaporation. The only thing is the risk of drowning the plant, but I haven't managed that yet.

    1. I will check the pot plants next time I water them to see how far the water is penetrating, but that doesn't explain what's wrong with the plants in the garden behind them.

    2. It could be something similar, my front garden is terribly hydrophobic. Fine all winter, dies off as soon as the heat starts. Hope you figure it out soon!

    3. I never even thought about the garden becoming hydrophobic, I will have to check that out. Thanks for the advice.