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Daphne dilemma

CAN you please tell me what the trouble is with my two-year-old daphne? I have been giving it the right fertiliser, along with tea leaves, and I've been told that it may be the tea that's caused the problem. The plant came right for a while, but is yellowing again from the top.


THIS peculiar kind of growth is called fasciation and it can occur on quite a wide range of plants. The symptoms are usually broadly flattened stems, like with your daphne, and sometimes peculiarly shaped flowers. The cause is thought to be damage to the growing tips of the plant, perhaps by insects, slugs or frost, but other factors like disease or virus infection or genetic malfunction may also be responsible. It's almost certainly not tea!

The good news is that if you prune out the affected parts there's every chance the plant will recover and grow normally.

The problem of leaf yellowing can be caused by poor drainage, but it may also be iron deficiency. If drainage is good, apply aluminium sulphate or flowers of sulphur to the soil to lower pH, which will make more iron available to the plant. You can also feed it with iron chelate fertiliser or iron sulphate according to the packet recommendations.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 171, 2005, Page 24

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: October 25, 2005