Thursday, January 22, 2015

What is eating my Bouvardia?

I wonder if you would help me with a problem affecting my bouvardia?
It is planted in a south-facing bed in company with camellias and other plants that are doing well, and benefits from some morning and afternoon sunshine, although not for long periods.  The plant has grown well since I planted it three years ago and has considerable new growth since I trimmed it back mid-year.  There is lots of foliage, but I am concerned that the leaves this season have frilly edges.  There is no sign of flowers yet, but it might be a bit early.  The bed is linked to the grey water system, but also receives tank water and never seems to dry out completely.  The soil is well-composted. As the plant seems firmly embedded in the soil, I don’t think the problem can be root rot.  Do you have any clues please?
I would be most grateful for your advice.
Kind regards,

At first I followed Elaine's lead and suggested that south facing is less than ideal, I do actually think they like what I'll call a protected North facing position. We have Gardenia growing by a north facing wall that gets shade from a big Moreton Bay Fig and they love it. Bouvardia is a native of Mexico and our experience at Scotsburn is they appreciate similarly warm but not scorching conditions.  They certainly need the solid cut back over winter.

Just to be sure I asked Elaine for a photo....

Oh dear!  I don't think the position will make any difference, slugs or grubs have moved in. My tip is grubs. Solution: Multiguard pellets for slugs or Dipel for grubs. Both are safe and Dipel is registered for Organic growing.

Elaine filled in the story of her Bouvardia:
Bouvardia was the first plant my parents put in the garden of their newly built home in 1942, in an east-facing bed with full sun until the middle of the day.  Dad maintained it was tough and required no special attention, but he later planted standard roses in the same bed, so the bouvardia would have benefitted from the care he lavished on them.  When the house was sold in 2000, my sister dug out a section of the bush to replant in her garden, where it has flourished ever since. 

Just for fun I'm calling this Bouvardia humboldtii Minh's Variegated. Minh is our Bouvardia grower extraordinaire and he selected and multiplied this dusty foliage form.


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