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I have two Metrosideros bushes (different species) that are both dying. In the last few days, some of the flowers that were blooming and the leaves, which are now yellow and totally lost their color, have started to dry out and curl inward, and some have fallen off. I have been watering regularly because the symptoms felt like drought. In the morning, the bushes are in direct sunlight until about 2 pm. Where I live, in a coastal area very close to the sea, it has been moderately warm (temperatures between 22°C and 26°C). I am worried, what should I do?

(Sorry in advance if my English is not the best)

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  • Any idea which varieties they are? And how long have they been in the same pots?
    – Bamboo
    Jun 23 at 14:11
  • I'm not sure about the varieties... The first 5 photos are from a shrub that has been in the same pot for 2 years. The other photos are from a shrub that has been in the same pot for a 4 months.
    – maria
    Jun 23 at 14:14
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They both resemble varieties of Metrosideros collina - some of these varieties get to 15 feet or more, but hopefully, you bought smaller varieties, which may only reach about 4 feet. Keeping larger growing shrubs in pots healthy isn't easy because they run out of root room, but yours are not really old enough for that to be the problem.

Looking back at the photos in your Acer question and now these two plants, I would suggest you simply are not watering sufficiently well, especially for plants in sun during the afternoon. I cannot see the size of the pots the Metrosideros are in, but if they are relatively small, they will dry out rapidly.

An adjustment in your watering routine is probably necessary, as follows. Touch the top of the soil in the pot - if it feels dry to the touch, water thoroughly with at least two litres of water, three for larger pots, and repeat the next time the soil feels dry to the touch. That may be every day or even twice a day - you will learn over time how often you need to water. The other thing to consider is, if the soil in the pot has dried out completely, then any water you put in will just run straight out the bottom, without being taken up by the soil. In that case, it's necessary to water well, keeping a tray our outer pot with no holes in it underneath the pot, until all the water that's run through has been absorbed. You may need to do that more than once, if the soil is completely dry. Another way to tell if it's completely dry is to pick the pot up - it will be much lighter than if it's nice and damp, when it will be noticeably heavier.

If there is nothing green left on either plant, they may be dead - you can check by scraping back a bit of the bark or skin low down on the main stems - if they are brownish and dry inside, they're dead, if they look a little moist and slightly greenish, they're not, and new growth should occur IF you water properly.

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  • Thank you! I have watered them in the morning and I just checked: the soil is still moist. The main stems are still green. So what you suggest is that I keep checking and when the soil feels dry, I water them again, right?
    – maria
    Jun 23 at 16:24
  • Yes, exactly - when the top feels dry, water and let the excess drain away freely.
    – Bamboo
    Jun 23 at 16:34

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