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Old 06-20-2000, 12:33 PM
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Default Flannel Bush Help

Help! I am new to natives. I have a Flannel Bush that's been in the ground for about 7 months. It's been growing like gangbustersfrom 8 inches to about 3 feet so far. It's been watered regularly at first, now every so often. I gave it a drink 2 weeks ago during a hot spellnow all the leavs are yellowing and falling off, and the whole plant has a wilted look. There are still green leaves, but it seems like it's fading fast. I live 3 miles from ocean in Topangaplant is in full sun, well drainedthe soil is currently bone dry. Another FlannelBush in partial shade is growing slower, but is perfectly healthy I didn't water this one.

Whats happening? Did I kill it, or will it make a rebound? More water? No more water?

I had 2 tree lupines show the same symptoms,and the're dead now.

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Old 06-22-2000, 06:49 AM
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Default Re: Flannel Bush Help

Following the wise advice of my ancestors, I rarely use the words 'always' or 'never'. I have often said, however, that I would never water my Fremontia Flannel bush when it is hot and sunny. Many California natives that are adapted to hot fast draining slopes as well as other plants react to hot weather by clamping closed their stomata breathing pores to stop transpiration and conserve moisture. When this happens, the roots stop taking up moisture and the water just sits at the roots, resulting in rot. The sequence of events you describe is a classic example of how natives react to summer watering. Often plants will wilt when the hot weather hits but they will perk up once the transpiration adjusts if you don't rush to water them. I hope your plant will survive. With non-natives I would suggest a light cultivating to aid in the drying of the soil; perhaps this would help with the Fremontia but I am not sure. In general, if you are trying to get a native established and need to give it some summer water, try to wait for a summer thundershower and supplement the rain with a little irrigation. This is especially true with Fremontia and other water sensitive plants such as Woolly Blue Curls or Bush Poppy.</p>
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Old 06-28-2000, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: Flannel Bush Help

Amen to everything Patt McDaniel said about Fremontodendron and other drought-loving natives!

It is especially important to plant native dryland shrubs in the fall in Southern California. In San Mateo County, we used to plant Fremontiass, water them in, and then never water them again.

In SoCal, you might not get away with this, but if you plant in fall, then any supplemental watering you do will take place in winter, and only as a substitute for the rain that should be happening but isn't. Where you live, you might have to water Fremontia, bush lupines and other such native during their first summer. Some say every two weeks, but that seems excessive to me. I'd say err on the side of caution, and water once a month. Many of these plants should be able to do without watering by their second summer in the ground.

Also, you should avoid using overhead watering on flannel bush! If you mulch the plant, use gravel, not organic material. It is possible to have a really varied, colorful, rich looking, and even lush garden using drought-tolerant natives. However, you must treat them not like lush garden plants, but like the wild things they really are.

I hope someone with more gardening experience in SoCal will weigh in on this. Anyway, don't get discouraged! If you have done in that flannel bush, wait til November, and plant another. After all, most of us have war stories about matilleja poppies - how many we killed before one finally lived.


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