Many of the stems on my plants (coneflower, daisy, delphinium, hostas, clematis) are drying up, turning black, and then the whole flower and stem seem to just die. I'm wondering if this is partly due to the strange weather we had this last winter, or the heat we had this summer? I'm in Michigan, zone 5. Has anyone else had these problems? Should I dig out the entire plant and discard, or cut off the bad and hope for the best next Spring? I'm really disappointed this year.
Blackness in the leaves usually suggests they've received too much water. Possibly the drainage of the plants might be a cause.
For so many plants to be affected in the same way does suggest a common cause and overwatering is easy to come by with rains that Michigan lately has received.
Hosta, a shade lover, should be protected from the hot sun--especially during the hottest part of the day. The others are sun lovers and if they've been allowed to dry out surely could cause what you see.
Clematis is not so unusual to have its leaves go brown, dry out but is usually confined to a small portion of the vine. It should bounce back with care.
All perennials do have a lifespan but good care gives the plant their best chance of return next season.
Its not unusual though for plants to be in good health one season and not appear the next.
I'd say though that clematis, hosta is not in that category. Coneflowers and delphinium don't last foreverr. Coneflowers readily drop seeds and after a winter do return in late spring.
I have had similar problems with zinnias, celosia and some daisies that love sun. I know that the watering is fine since the other plants in the pots, portulaca, cannas, hibiscus and others are doing fine. It's been a challenge this summer to keep things properly watered since until now we didn't have much rain. The weather has been very strange and the heat and extreme sun have definitely impacted some of the plants.
Is it possible that you have some kind of a borer getting into the stems? I had that a couple of years ago on a few flowers and they dried up & died too....but came back the next year.
"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
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