Tickseed is a beautiful and low-maintenance plant that can make any garden pop with color. But sometimes, you might notice that your tickseed looks droopy and sad. So why is your tickseed drooping?
Your tickseed can droop for several reasons such as poor soil conditions, overwatering, underwatering, lack of enough sunlight, pests, disease, nutrient deficiency, and overfertilization. Environmental stress and transplant shock can also make a tickseed droop.
In this article, I’ll discuss the different factors that can make your tickseed droop while also offering advice for preventing or treating it. By the end of this read, you’ll have all the information to keep your tickseed healthy and looking its best.
1. Poor Soil Conditions
Tickseed prefers well-draining soil, which allows water to move away from the plant roots. When the soil is too compact or doesn’t drain well, the roots can become waterlogged, leading to drooping or wilting.
The ideal soil pH should be slightly acidic, between 5.5 and 6.5 (source). A high soil pH makes it difficult for the plant to absorb nutrients and minerals from the soil.
Solution: Amend the soil with organic matter such as compost, peat moss, or well-rotted manure (source). This will improve the soil structure and drainage. If the soil is too alkaline, add soil sulfur or aluminum sulfate to lower the soil pH.
Conduct a soil test to accurately determine the soil’s pH level and nutrient content.
See our guide to identifying and managing alkaline soil.
Too much watering can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases, causing the plant to droop. The roots cannot absorb oxygen when the soil is constantly saturated, leading to plant stress.
Further, overwatering can lead to nutrient deficiencies because the excess water leaches nutrients from the soil (source).
Solution: Water the plant deeply but infrequently, slightly allowing the soil to dry out between watering sessions. It’s best to water the plant at the base, avoiding the leaves and stems. Ensure that the pot or container has adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
See our guide to identifying the signs of overwatering plants.
Underwatering is another common reason why a tickseed may droop. Excessively dry soil can stress the plant and lead to wilting and drooping. Leaves turn brown or yellow, indicating a lack of water.
Solution: Water the plant thoroughly to ensure the soil is moist to a depth of at least 6 inches. Use a moisture meter or check the soil with your finger to determine if the plant needs watering.
If the soil is dry, water the plant immediately, avoiding overhead watering, which can lead to fungal diseases.
4. Lack of Sunlight
Tickseed requires full sun, meaning at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. The plant can become spindly and weak when it doesn’t receive enough sunlight.
Solution: Choose a sunny location for your tickseed plant where it can get at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. If the plant is grown indoors, place it near a window, or use grow lights to provide adequate light.
If the plant is grown outdoors, prune nearby trees or shrubs that may be blocking sunlight.
Note: If you are needing alternative plants for those shady areas, see our list of 19 Shade-Tolerant or Shade-Loving Evergreens.
Pests such as leafhoppers, aphids, and beetles can cause tickseed to droop. These pests live off the plant sap, causing wilting, yellowing, and stunted growth. They can also transmit diseases to the plant.
Solution: Identify the pest and choose an appropriate treatment. You can use insecticidal soap, neem oil, or horticultural oil to control pests. Additionally, you can introduce beneficial insects such as ladybugs or lacewings to feed on the problems.
Consider using Neem Oil (link to Amazon), a multi-purpose pest control solution that acts as a three-in-one fungicide, miticide, and insecticide.
Tickseeds can be susceptible to different diseases, leading to drooping and wilting. One common disease that can affect tickseeds is fungal leaf spots. This disease leads to the formation of small brown spots on the leaves and can eventually cause the leaves to die and fall off.
Another disease that can affect tickseeds is powdery mildew. This disease causes a white, powdery substance to appear on the leaves, inhibiting photosynthesis and leading to drooping.
Solution: To prevent diseases in tickseeds, it is essential to maintain good garden hygiene. This means removing any infected plant debris, dead leaves, or weeds that can harbor fungal spores. Regularly inspecting your tickseed for signs of disease can also help catch and treat any issues early.
Using a fungicide spray can also help prevent fungal diseases from developing in the first place. It is essential to follow the instructions carefully and apply the spray during the recommended time of day and season to ensure it is effective.
7. Nutrient Deficiency
Tickseeds require specific nutrients to thrive, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. A lack of essential nutrients can lead to drooping and stunted growth (source).
Nitrogen deficiency, for example, can cause yellowing of the leaves, slow growth, and reduced flower production. A lack of phosphorus can result in dark green leaves and small flowers, while potassium deficiency can lead to weak stems, wilting, and leaf curling.
Solution: Identify which nutrient is lacking. This can be done by observing the plant’s symptoms and conducting a soil test. Once you have identified the missing nutrient, you can add a specifically designed fertilizer to address that deficiency.
Although fertilizers are necessary for the growth and health of the plant, excessive amounts can be bad for your tickseed. Over-fertilization can result in salt accumulating in the soil, leading to water stress and subsequent drooping of the plant.
In addition, it can lead to a buildup of nitrogen, which encourages the growth of foliage at the expense of flowers.
Solution: If over-fertilization is the cause of tickseed drooping, the first step is to flush the soil with water to remove excess salts. Also, watering the plant immediately after applying the fertilizer is recommended to prevent it from burning the roots.
9. Transplant Shock
When tickseed plants are transplanted, they often go through a period of shock as they adjust to their new surroundings. This can cause the plant to droop as it struggles to establish new roots in the new soil.
Solution: To minimize transplant shock, the plant must be handled carefully during the transplanting process. Make sure to transplant the plant during the cooler part of the day, and water it thoroughly before and after transplanting to help it establish new roots (source).
You should also avoid fertilizing the plant immediately after transplanting to prevent causing further stress.
10. Environmental Stress
Exposure to extreme temperatures, drought, wind, and other environmental stressors can also cause stress and drooping to your plant (source).
Solution: Identifying how the environment stresses your plant and taking the proper steps to address it is important. This may involve providing shade during extreme heat or wind, watering the plant more frequently during droughts, or protecting it from strong winds.
Providing a layer of mulch around the base of the plant can also help to retain moisture in the soil and protect the plant from temperature fluctuations.
To summarize, tickseed drooping can be caused by various factors, including poor soil conditions, over- or underwatering, lack of sunlight, pests, diseases, nutrient deficiency, over-fertilization, transplant shock, and environmental stress.
It’s essential to identify the reasons that cause drooping to take the appropriate steps to fix the problem.
By following the solutions I mentioned above, you can help your tickseed plants thrive and produce beautiful flowers year after year. You can look forward to a healthy, vibrant garden when you’re always observant and responsive to your plant’s needs.