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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Water Needs of Gopher Plant Different in Small Containers

Gopher plant of readers growing in container
Q. My wife and I are fairly new to the Vegas area.  She is the gardener and we are trying to grow gopher plants in containers. The containers are about 12 inches in diameter and the plants are not doing well. They are watered once every week or two and we added a plant tonic two weeks ago. 

A. Gopher plant does very well in our climate planted directly in the soil or in containers. Remember that the stems die after flowering. Flowering is normally in the spring and sometimes again in the fall.
Cut stems back to the ground after flowering. There will be some small stems growing from the base. You must let these grow and not cut them back. Fertilize lightly after cutting back.
The two basic problems with gopher plants are either related to the soil that is used or irrigation practices.
If this plant is watered too often you will kill it. If you do not water it often enough you will damage it. If the soil used does not drain easily, you will kill it. The usual reason for failure is watering too often and poor water drainage.
I have had good reports from people using cactus juice fertilizer
on cacti and succulents. Let me know how it works for you.
When planting this in a container make sure that you use a soil mix made for this type of plant. A cactus and succulent soil mix would be preferred. It will struggle if you planted directly into our desert soils without improving them.
The plant is easier to maintain if planted directly into the ground. Make sure you amend the soil so that it has good drainage. It will do well in a soil that contains compost.

It will handle low winter temperatures but could be damaged if winter temperatures get extremely low, into the teens for instance. Fertilize it with a cactus fertilizer such as Cactus Juice every 2 to 3 months when you water.

I have two or three postings about gopher plants on my blog. Type in gopher plant in the search engine and see if that information helps.

Posts on my blog that you can click on which are related:

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