Why are my vincas dying? This is the second replant - I've never had a vinca plant die on me. Also what is causing the leaves to discolor on my crape myrtle? And my last question - is it too late to plant a crape myrtle? We need to replace one.
- Patti R.
The issue with the vincas appears to be root rot. Vincas are sensitive to the soil staying too moist. It may be all the rain we have been getting. But, be sure not to water the bed unless the soil is dry and it is needed. Plants can only drink water with their roots. Once the roots die, the plants can no longer obtain water, wilt and die. You can suspect root rot when plants look wilted and the soil is moist.
Once they collapse, plants rarely recover. If you continue to have problems with vincas in this bed, use other summer bedding plants - like pentas, blue daze, lantana, angelonia and coleus.
The issue with the crape myrtle foliage is also related to all the rain - particularly back in May. This is Cercospora leaf spot. Click here for more information.
Planting trees in the hottest, most stressful time of the year in mid to late summer makes establishment less reliable. The ideal time to plant the crape myrtle is November or early December.
If you like, you could purchase a crape myrtle this summer when they are blooming at the nursery and there is a good supply. Keep the tree in its pot in a sunny spot, water as needed and plant in the fall.
Consumer Horticulture Specialist
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture