Fouquieria formosa transplanting and leaf drop

Use this forum to discuss matters relating to the xeric genus Fouquieria. This is where one posts unknown plant photos for ID help.
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Desert Dawdler
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Fouquieria formosa transplanting and leaf drop

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Post by Desert Dawdler »

About two weeks ago I caved and brought home an F. formosa I’d been eyeballing at a local nursery. After planting it dropped all the leaves, the canes are still green but every last leaf slowly turned brown and fell off. I’m assuming/hoping that this is just transplant shock and it’s going to re-leaf, but all of my experience has been on bare-rooted F. splendens.

I know it was in full sun at the nursery for at least two weeks (probably longer, but that was when I first spotted it mixed in with a bunch of F. macdougalii) so I don’t think a change in exposure is to blame. In retrospect I should have cut it out of the pot instead of lifting it out, but I think the root disturbance was still pretty minor. Should I treat this the same way I do bare-rooted F. splendens, ie. drench with a high K fertilizer then mist the canes 3x a day until it leafs out? Is there something specific/different that I should do since it already has roots/is a different species?

Thanks!
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Re: Fouquieria formosa transplanting and leaf drop

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Post by mcvansoest »

Could be transplantation shock, but my other guess would be your water frequency and/or amount is very different from what the nursery had been doing and that will make those things drop leaf very quickly as well.

I have only limited experience with Fouquierias, I currently only grow the Boojum Tree and have been told that those can take a lot more water than you'd think, but to be careful with watering when it gets really hot. My sense is go ask the local nursery how often they were watering it.

I hope someone with more experience with these plants chimes in as well...
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Re: Fouquieria formosa transplanting and leaf drop

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Post by Stan »

Thats what it sounds like ..not enough water and you are well into summer temps already. Remember the roots are 100% in the pot pattern..meaning that the ground wicks away that water if not spread and done deep until it roots in.
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Minime8484
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Re: Fouquieria formosa transplanting and leaf drop

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Post by Minime8484 »

It's almost impossible to transplant Fouquieria without them going through root shock and having them lose their leaves.

Luckily, that's normal and completely fine. However, most new transplants are thus killed by new owners thinking that watering them A LOT will bring them back in leaf and keep them alive!

The truth is, the plants in this genus are hard-wired to go through multiple leaf-drops throughout the year at the slightest change in moisture. So, don't worry, just don't water much during the summer, and wait for monsoons....I'd bet good money it will leaf out then!

Good luck - Fouquieria are the best!

Cheers,
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Desert Dawdler
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Re: Fouquieria formosa transplanting and leaf drop

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Post by Desert Dawdler »

Thanks everyone, I checked at the nursery and they’re watering 2-3x a week! I suppose that’s fine when they’re in black plastic pots in the sun, but it seems like a very effective killing method in the ground.

I suppose since all I’ve ever had have been bare rooted F. splendens the drop took me by surprise, but it’s a relief to know that it’s normal behavior. I’ll just treat it like a splendens then and wait it out, I’m 4 for 4 on those so far so I can’t be screwing up too badly.

I have to say though, it’s far more stressful watching a plant that you know was fine go naked than getting one that’s already bare and hoping it takes! ::roll::
Stan
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Re: Fouquieria formosa transplanting and leaf drop

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Post by Stan »

That might be true when you dig one up. But planting out of the container does nothing to the roots. The shock is lack of water. I've never had trouble planting anything that has even the worst reputation- like Bismarckia palms out of a pot.
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Re: Fouquieria formosa transplanting and leaf drop

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Post by Stan »

I do remember leaving to visit Los Angeles for four days 10 years ago. A bamboo I had just planted,the striped golden one? ...my cousin forgot to water at all the four days and it was leafless and dead in a fluke 80f March heatwave up and down the state when I came home.
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Re: Fouquieria formosa transplanting and leaf drop

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Post by Gee.S »

Desert Dawdler wrote: Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:34 am Thanks everyone, I checked at the nursery and they’re watering 2-3x a week! I suppose that’s fine when they’re in black plastic pots in the sun, but it seems like a very effective killing method in the ground.

I suppose since all I’ve ever had have been bare rooted F. splendens the drop took me by surprise, but it’s a relief to know that it’s normal behavior. I’ll just treat it like a splendens then and wait it out, I’m 4 for 4 on those so far so I can’t be screwing up too badly.

I have to say though, it’s far more stressful watching a plant that you know was fine go naked than getting one that’s already bare and hoping it takes! ::roll::
So how did this end??
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