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Bottle Brush Trees

Q.Unhealthy looking plants

Zone Las Vegas, Nevada, Zone 9 | verdin added on December 31, 2016 | Answered

I have a bottle brush tree and two little john shrubs (Las Vegas, Zone 9, Nevada). I’ve been trying to get them green again (watering, compost, fertilizer), but nothing seems to be working. There has been some new growth this year, but nothing significant. I’ve pruned them also earlier this year. Is there any advice you can give me on reviving these sickly looking plants? Many thanks in advance, and Happy New Year!

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on December 31, 2016

The pale leaves and slow growth occurring in two different plant species suggests a nutrient deficiency is responsible. Since you are providing compost and fertilizer, the most likely cause of a nutrient deficiency would be a pH imbalance. If the pH is too far from neutral or from the plant's preference, it can have trouble absorbing nutrients. Please see these articles:


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