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Tuesday - September 29, 2009

From: Weatherford, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Transplants, Shrubs
Title: Problems with transplanting cenizo in Weatherford TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I tried to transplant a Silverado Sage into a large pot but within 1 day it started wilting. Could it be the soil? I used potting soil not soil from the ground which is a sandy soil.

ANSWER:

That's an easy one. Your Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush), sometimes sold by the trade name 'Silverado Sage,' has transplant shock. What we don't know is how it happened. About the best we can do is tell you what might have happened, so you can avoid doing it again the next time you transplant. 

The first possibility is, if you just purchased it and brought it home, it may have been in a stressed condition from the way it was being cared for at the nursery. It could have been in the pot for so long that its roots were wrapped around in the shape of the pot, and are possibly strangling the plant. When you purchase a commercially potted plant, always lift it out of the pot to see if it is rootbound. 

Another thing is that the cenizo has a taproot. It is always more difficult to transplant a woody plant with a taproot; damage to that root could cause death to the plant. In its natural habitat, the cenizo is a desert shrub. It has low water needs, does best in sun or part shade, and should not be fertilized. You should never fertilize a plant that is stressed, and most native plants don't need fertilizer because they are already adapted to the climate, soils and rainfall where they are growing. It is very important that this plant have good drainage; it will suffer it if has water standing on its roots. 

No matter what caused the transplant shock, here is what to try to see if you can help it recover. Trim off from 1/4 to 1/3 of the upper branches. Keep the pot in sun or part shade, water infrequently and do not fertilize.  Even though the cenizo is evergreen and can bloom 12 months of the year, depending on rainfall, it will be in a semi-dormant state during the fall and winter, which should give it an opportunity to regroup and come back with new growth in the spring. 

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