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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Fairy Duster Doesn't Need Water Often

Q. I put a Baja fairy duster plant in the ground about two months ago in a spot that gets full sun. It's not on a drip system but I deep water by hand every week. The leaves are turning light green. Is this normal for growth or am I watering too often?

A. Baja fairy duster is a beautiful little desert plant native to the Baja area of California and Mexico. It grows receiving water infrequently. It grows bigger if it is given a little extra water and fertilizer. But not too often or there can be problems.
I see from the picture you sent that this plant has wood chip mulch surrounding it on the soil surface. Wood chips are good idea but they help preserve water in the soil. This can result in too much water.
Don't let the wood mulch come in contact with the stems of this plant or it could cause the stems to rot. Keep it away from the stems by at least 6 inches.
Back off a bit on how often you water. It originates from Baja and gets very infrequent water so it will do well if watered every couple of weeks deeply. Fertilize it once or twice a year during late winter and just before flowering.

The other reason for yellowing can be lack of nitrogen so fertilize it lightly with a "flower fertilizer".

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