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Hyacinth Plant

Q.How to revive drooping green shiso/perilla plant?

Zone Seattle, WA | sandblasta added on July 31, 2014 | Answered

I bought a green shiso plant about 2 weeks ago, and it’s not very happy. We’ve had a lot of days with highs in the mid 80s here, and that may be the cause. I also saw some small holes chewed into the leaves but checked for caterpillars and other bugs and saw nothing. I sprayed soapy water on and put diatomaceous earth all around the plant, but it seems not to be responding. I am watering it every other day. It’s on an east-facing balcony, so it gets sun most of the day.

I need some tips as to what I can do to jump start this plant and give it a chance so it doesn’t die. I’d like to do it without pesticides or chemicals. The leaves are not brown yet, but some are turning brown and the rest are very droopy. 

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Answered on August 3, 2014

Dear Ficus Wrangler,

Thank you so much for your amazing advice! You must have been spot-on about potting the new plant in an overly large pot, and not opening up the root ball before placing it into the soil.

I looked into how to open up the root ball, and decided to take some garden shears and make four clean cuts into the root ball, because yes, it was still shaped like the little square container it came in! And inside the root ball, it was VERY dry. I soaked the root ball and re-planted it, heading the roots out into the soil. I then planted it again into the same container, but created a little "moat" of dirt around the plant so the water wouldn't run off.

Well, the results were pretty darn astounding-- I actually didn't know that plants could move that fast. Within 15 minutes, the plant (which had been drooping for 2-3 weeks) was already perked up halfway!!! And within three hours, it was as good as new! I will now open up the root ball much more before I plant. Thanks to you, my thumb is beginning to take on a greener hue!

I would like to attach the "After" photo to show you what it looked like three hours after opening up the root ball. Let's see if I can do it.

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Answered on July 31, 2014

In your picture it looks like the leaves in back aren't wilted -- could one or more of the main structural roots have been broken when you replanted? Also, have you tested the soil in the bottom of the pot for moisture? If you're watering every day, it's possible that there's too much moisture in the soil, allowing some rot to set in, although that's not so likely to happen in the space of 2 weeks. However, if you potted your new plant into an overly large pot, especially if you didn't open up the root ball before placing it into the soil, water could be washing around the outside and not penetrating into the root ball in the center. If you think this is the problem, you can depot the plant and repot into a smaller pot, and make sure the roots are headed out into the soil. Also, you might want to move it to a less sunny spot until it rights itself. The good news is that these are extremely hardy and durable plants, considered an invasive weed in some areas, so if it's not killed with too much water, it should grow, even if it loses all those wilted leaves. Here's an article on perilla growing: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/mint/growing-perilla-shiso-mint.htm

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