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Q.Shop-bought plants wilting severely and dying when planting in bed (Penstemon, Verbena).

Zone London, UK Zone 9 | 5p added on June 9, 2019 | Answered

Hiya. I’m in UK zone 9 and it’s above 10C at night now.

I bought a slightly sad-looking Penstemon from the bargain shop and when I planted it in my raised bed it wilted severely and died.

I removed the dead plant and surrounding soil in case there was some contamination.

A verbena plant from the same shop had been thriving in its original pot nearby. I planted this in the same position, filling the hole with some premium compost and it too has started to wilt.

The plants are going into raised beds in a sheltered spot.
Soil is free-draining and the plants were watered-in well.
My soil is generally neutral ph (but not tested this exact spot).
Surrounding plants are fine, including recently plated eryngium.
I wasn’t heavy-handed when planting but it was a sunny day.
It’s near a concrete wall (as are other nearby happy plants).

I’m anxious there may be some kind of ‘wilt’ lurking in the soil.
If so, would some dilute fungicide have any effect?

I’ll up some pics of the sorry sausage.

A.Answers to this queston: Add Answer
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on June 9, 2019

Because of the number and variety of the plants that I see nearby, I would have to say that this is a case of, either, plant incompatibility or too much competition with surrounding plants.

They can compete at the root level, chemically. What I would do from here is to take inventory of what you have nearby, what its compatibility/incompatibility is with your plants that you intend to plant, and each root depth. This will help you to map out what you can plant where, and if there is any available root space in a particular area.

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