Lilac from WOW to WTH.. Help!

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by plantchick, Apr 26, 2020.

  1. plantchick

    plantchick Member

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    I have a south west, sun drenched Terrace apartment for this beauty and in just 4 days it's gone from perfection to looking like it's going downhill fast.

    I bought it at the Vancouver Tree sale last year. Bought a large pot which it's been in for 11 months. When I purchased it it was half the size.

    10 days ago the blossoms were just about to open, and 4 days ago I was really enjoying the beauty of this plant.
    Over the last 4 days I've notice MAJOR whiling and yellowing of new leaves.

    I've checked for bugs and fungus but can't find anything. The new buds and new tiny leaves are yellow and I have no idea where to go from here. Each day it gets worse!

    About a week ago a noticed tiny suckers coning up, about 5 and cut them off and I gave it a tiny amount of fertilizer ( 10-8-6 ) That the box says for Roto & Azaleas but the plant store person assured me this was also okay for Lilacs. I gave it a bit a more water, (it had been a week since the last water, and it ran though. The soil doesn't feel wet at all, but not super dry either.

    Clearly, it's on a bad path, but I have no idea where to take it from here, but feel something must be done.
    Any advice would be very helpful!

    Thank you in advance!

    IMG 9138 was when it was nice 4 days ago... Other images are from today.
     

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Check soil moisture. Lilacs renew themselves from the base so suckers would not be removed unless this happened to be a grafted specimen, where the roots were a different lilac variety than the top.
     
  3. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    To me your plant looks under watered.
    Does the container have drainage holes? When watering make sure you water thoroughly until the water shows in the saucer underneath and stays there for an hour or so.
    If the container doesn't have drainage holes at the bottom make them, or move the plant immediately into one that has. In general it is the worst time for transplanting, so just move the whole root ball intact to the new pot.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Never leave potted plants sitting in water for extended periods, once a saucer fills dump it out.
     
  5. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    It is a big, bushy plant in a small pot. It has to replenish its water reserves with every watering and it will not do it in an instant. I would not recommend keeping water in the saucer underneath for longer then half an hour in the case of a small plant with a few leaves. Here is just a different story.
     
  6. plantchick

    plantchick Member

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    Thanks everyone.

    I've read a lot about once you over water a Lilac you can't go back, so I have been conservative, but under the impression I had been giving it enough water.

    Yes, the pot does have drain holes, and usually a saucer but I have taken it out, just so it could run through and not sit in water.

    This evening it looks even worse. So I removed all the mulching from last year (I hear you should keep it from some people, other say toss it, who knows whats right) and I gave it a full indoor (standard size) watering can of water. It came through a bit into the saucer, but barely... So now we wait and see... I will give you and update tomorrow on how it's doing.

    Thanks!
     
  7. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    I agree that your lilac has the look of a plant that needs water. Assuming that is the case, another way to make sure it is watered thoroughly without leaving it sitting in a saucer of water is to submerge the entire pot in another, larger, pot of water and leave it there until bubbles stop coming to the top of the soil . . . shouldn't take more than a few minutes . . . then remove and allow to drain. I know this could be difficult with the sizes of the pots involved.

    Also, I would remove the blossoms so the plant can throw all its resources into reviving the leaves. Once it is healthy again, I think it needs to be moved into a larger pot. I am skeptical that a tree such as a lilac can be kept in a container for more than a few years.
     
  8. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    A plant that size can suck a lot of water out of the soil on a sunny day; and, once the soil is completely dried out, it will usually not absorb water very easily. Without a saucer under the pot, the water could mostly be running between the soil and the inside edge of the pot, leaving most of the soil dry. You should be able to judge if the water is being absorbed by noting how long it takes for the added water to reach the base. If it is just a few seconds, you should either use a saucer to hold the water until it is no longer being absorbed or dunk the whole pot in a large volume of water, as suggested by Margot.
     
  9. plantchick

    plantchick Member

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    Hi Everyone, I've just remember I didn't follow up with this. If anyone was wondering, it was water. I gave it a large full can and it came back! Although the small new leaves are still dying, it did perk back up! Thanks for your advice!
     
    wcutler likes this.

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