Killed any shrubs lately?


For me the newest in the too-sickly-to-be-allowed-to-live category is Pieris japonica, a victim of global warming (I'm told) and my history of killing shrubs is summarized here.

Got any formerly no-fail shrubs you're getting rid of?
Photo credit.


  1. My pieris is fine. It’s in partial shade in zone 7, if that’s any help to you.

    What has real trouble in our neighborhood are hydrangeas. My poor neighbor across the street tried to paint a hydrangea hedge along the street and after three attempts, gave up. The hydrangeas in my yard quickly became deer food.

    I have a Clethra alnifolia that bloomed after I purchased it, almost died off over the winter but came back this spring with foliage, but no flowers, alas. Perhaps the shade is too deep or perhaps it was so stressed from last year.

  2. I seem to have caught a case of SDDS (Sudden Daphne Death Syndrome). My Daphne genkwa just up and died in a matter of days. It may be contagious, my nearby Hypericum is showing signs.

  3. Daphne? Never ever again! My mother always had several LARGE daphnes, and when she died I tried a number of times to grow one in her memory. They all turned up their toes in a matter of months, despite my following all the rules I could find.

    For me, besides daphne, skimmia is the latest victim. Two very large male skimmia and one middle-sized female, have all left the building this past year. And the pieris has never been happy although it survives here in zone 7, near DC.

  4. Can you explain the global warming/ pieris link? I’ve used a few different varieties over the last few years, and they’re all going gangbusters- as far as I can tell- just west of DC, in NoVA.

  5. I’ve had a variety of experiences with some of those creatures–here’s my take on what they like:

    Hydrangeas–they tell you in their name H-Y-D-R, that they like water, especially to get started. If your house is on high ground, you will have to be vigilant about watering to get them rolling.

    Daphne odora–The happiest ones I’ve seen were at Middleton Plantation, growing in sandy soil in the shade of pine trees. They can take sun or shade and in between in my experience but they will succomb to root rot in ground that doesn’t dry out quickly. I now only plant them in mounds or raised beds mostly composed of grit. They seem to love the excellent drainage.

    Pieris–like the same conditions as azaleas–sandy and/or rich soil in pine tree shade or dapple-y hardwood shade. Both can get lacebug when stressed. But they can be beat with a couple/three sprayings of an organic pesticide like Sunspray–the thin coating of oil chokes them and even suffocates their eggs. Just gotta keep at it and improve soil and sun conditions for the plant.

    Don’t know nothin’ ’bout no skimmia or mugo pines tho. 🙂

  6. Alas, i killed my Irish Yew. i wonder if i loved it too much since my english yew which i ignored is doing great.

  7. For some reason we have problems with scotch brooms. We bought two scotch broom plants a few years ago. The first two years they grew beautifully. Then they both died. Since that time, we have lost at least three other scotch broom plants in various areas of the yard. It is the only plant we have consistently killed.

  8. My theory on sudden daphne death- girdling roots. They look amazing just before suddenly dying. Have had this happen several times, dug up the plants and found a girdling root around the main stem, leading me to believe the plant simply grew itself to death. Tragic.

    When we plant daphnes now, we plant in winter, wash the roots, and prune any that look like they might girdle. So far, so good, but we plant far fewer these days…

  9. My Pieris is struggling, some azaleas are dying (I did not plant those, they were here before I was), and my last remaining Japanese hollies–plants often seen growing at gas stations–are on their last legs.

    My climbing roses are pretty much defoliated after the wet spring/early summer.

    Also, my enkianthus suddenly expired last year, and I have never been able to grow daphne.


  10. I’m with Rosella – I can’t win with Skimmia. They did so well for me in south Jersey (currently zone 6B) but not here in Wilmington, DE (zone 7a). When I attempted to replace them (purchased from a local grower) I was told sorry, they’re not on our “guarantee replacement” list. What?

  11. I have several Euphorbia leucocephala that have been going gangbusters for the last 5 years or so. This year, all of a sudden, one of them started dying back. Pretty soon, the whole plant was gone. Now I’m seeing signs of it on others. I talked to the nursery where I bought them, and they said it’s probably too much water-we had some landscaping done in November of last year, and sprinklers were installed. We immediately turned off the sprinklers and are hoping we won’t lose any more. =(

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