Henna Culture
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Patrick Liuzzi
Posted on: October 13, 2001

In the recent past, I have ordered a shipment of henna plants from your greenhouse. The plants arrived healthy, and did well for several days. But as the soil dried out, the plants naturally began to droop. I watered them well, and let the excess water drain completely away. However, shortly after being watered, all of the plants lost all of their leaves and half died shortly thereafter. Within a few days, the remaining plants developed small green buds on them, but those dried up, and that group of plants also died in the days that followed.

I am well versed in the traditional care of henna plants (allow the soil to dry between waterings, full sun, etc) and this is not my first experience with a henna plant. That is why I am completely lost as to why these particular plants just didn’t survive the first initial week in my home.

The only reason for this which I can think of is that perhaps my plants go into some sort of shock when taken from their greenhouse and tended by a different routine. I am thinking of ordering another shipment of plants, but only after I learn enough about the conditions in which they live in at your greenhouse.

The things I must know about are:

Watering: How much, how often?

Air temperature: How warm is the air where they are raised in the greenhouse?

Humidity: How damp or dry is the air in the greenhouse?

Light: How much light do plants in the greenhouse get? What kind of light is this? How long are the plants exposed to the light?

Soil: Should henna have a well drained, peaty soil?

We find henna plants do not like root disturbance, cold temperatures or low humidity conditions. They do best in hot, humid environments with lots of sun, well draining soil, but they do not like to dry out completely. Drying out completely will make them drop their leaves and if it is combined with cold temperatures they may die. Our plants did best in the middle of summer, when we had an unprecedented heat wave and with the heavy watering and quick drying this resulted in, the henna plants thrived – while most other herbs sulked and our workers wilted!

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