Yesterday we accidentally put too much fertilizer into our pots. Today the leaves start to turn brown. Is there any way to save them?

Some details:

  • We have two pots - one with basil, one with Aloysia.
  • The fertilizer contains: 12% Nitrogen, 6.1% Nitrati, 5% Amonicali, 0.9% Urea, 8% P2O5, 21% K2O, 8% Sulfur, 3.5% MgO.
  • The label on the fertilizer says: 30 gram per square meter. We put 200 gram in a flowerpot whose dimensions are 1x0.25 meters.
  • I assume this is dry fertilizer since its in grams and not mL... can you still see granules you could pick out or remove with the top 1cm of soil?
    – WebChemist
    Sep 20 '13 at 2:06
  • Yes, we picked most of the granules. Unfortunately, before doing that we watered the pot, so some of the granules already got into the soil.. Sep 20 '13 at 5:26

Water the pots thoroughly with distilled water. Most distillation processes remove the dissolved elements in water. As this water flows through the soil that is saturated with fertilizer ions it will attract and remove them.

Of course you are still left with a stressed plant with leaf burn. Success is not guaranteed....

  • 1
    I did this, and also removed all the burned leaves, and now the Aloysia shows tiny new green buds! The basil is still dry, though. Sep 28 '13 at 19:27

You might consider taking cuttings of the basil to try to stop the progression of the fertilizer burn and save something to start over with. Not familiar with the aloysia, or whether it can be propagated in that manner.

  • 1
    You mean like this? gardentherapy.ca/growing-basil-from-cuttings Sep 22 '13 at 10:13
  • 1
    Sure! That's one way. Basils do not always grow roots when you take cuttings, but it often works and if nothing else would be a good way to have backup in case the original plants don't make it.
    – TeresaMcgH
    Sep 25 '13 at 14:58
  • This sounds like a good advice, as the basil doesn't yet show any signs of regrowth. Sep 28 '13 at 19:28

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