Lithodora: Potted Plant Perennial
How to Sow and Plant
Planting Potted Plants:
- Choose a location in full sun to part shade with acidic, well-drained soil. A rock garden is ideal.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 6-12 inches removing any debris, and lightly raking as level as possible.
- The addition of organic matter (leaf mold, compost, well-rotted manure) benefits all gardens and is essential in recently constructed neighborhoods.
- Plant on a cloudy day or in late afternoon to reduce transplant shock.
- Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
- Unpot the plant and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root growth.
- Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand.
- Use the plant tag as a location marker.
- Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil (1-2 inches) to conserve water and reduce weeds.
How to Grow
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their germination.
- Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For perennials, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
- Careful watering is essential in getting perennials off to a good start. Water thoroughly at least once a week to help new roots grow down deeply. Soil should be damp at about 1 inch below the soil surface. You can check this by sticking your finger in the soil. Water early in the morning to give all leaves enough time to dry. One inch of rain or watering per week is recommended for most perennial plants. You can check to see if you need to add water by using a rain gauge.
- Until plants become established, some protection from extreme winds and direct, hot sunlight may be necessary. Good air movement is also important.
- After new growth appears, a light fertilizer may be applied. Keep granular fertilizers away from the plant crown and foliage to avoid burn injury. Use low rates of a slow release fertilizer such as Garden-tone, as higher rates may encourage root rots.
- Cut back to refresh plants after blooming.
- Divide as needed in spring or fall.
- Plants benefit from winter protection in zone 5. Mulch after the ground freezes. Remove mulch in spring before new growth appears.
- Lithodora is a great spreading plant for rock gardens, beds and borders, as a ground cover.
- Lithodora blooms profusely in spring, and less frequently through the summer.
- Plants are evergreen.
Common Disease Problems
Bacterial Leaf Spot: First signs are small translucent spots with a broad yellowish edge that slowly enlarge and become angular or irregularly circular with a reddish center. It thrives in cooler temperatures. The disease may also affect and disfigure flower heads. Burpee Recommends: Remove infected plants. Avoid overhead watering. Do not work around plants when they are wet.
Black Root Rot: This fungus attacks plant roots causing yellowing foliage and stunted plants. Scattered branches may die back. Portions of roots killed by the pathogen are brown and turn black. Burpee Recommends: Make sure the soil is acidic as the disease is less of a problem in soils with a pH of 5.5 or less. Remove and dispose of affected plants.
Root Knot Nematodes: Microscopic worm-like pests that cause swellings (galls) to form on roots. Plants may wilt or appear stunted. Burpee Recommends: Remove and discard infested plants. Consult your Cooperative Extension Service.
Common Pest and Cultural Problems
Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps who feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.
Overwatering: Overwatering can cause roots to rot and die out in the middle of the plant. Burpee Recommends: Be sure to plant in a well-drained location and water as needed.
Spider Mites: These tiny spider-like pests are about the size of a grain of pepper. They may be red, black, brown or yellow. They suck on the plant juices removing chlorophyll and injecting toxins which cause white dots on the foliage. There is often webbing visible on the plant. They cause the foliage to turn yellow and become dry and stippled. They multiply quickly and thrive in dry conditions. Burpee Recommends: Spider mites may be controlled with a forceful spray every other day. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for miticide recommendations.
Whitefly: These are small white flying insects that often rise up in a cloud when plants are disturbed or brushed against. Burpee Recommends: They are difficult to control without chemicals. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for pesticide recommendations.
Can I grow lithodora in a container? Yes, you can grow it in containers.
Is lithodora deer resistant? Yes, in general it is deer resistant.
Is lithodora a good pollinator plant? Yes, it attracts butterflies.
Can you suggest companion plants? Yes, try heuchera, hakonechloa, hosta or fern.
Does lithodora self sow? Yes, if it is happy lithodora can self sow.