Houseplants forum: Help With Sentimental Unknown Houseplant

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Oct 13, 2015 9:34 PM CST
Hi everyone, I'm Andrew. I'm a bit desperate for help with my Mum's houseplants she left me so I'm hoping someone can help. I've read through some articles like Ohio State's literature but nothing quite matches the symptoms. OR (and probably more likely), I don't know enough about houseplants to recognize what I'm looking at.

This plant:
* I'm not sure of its species
* Its leaves have been browning so I've been cutting them off
* The images below show what the leaves went through before being cut off
* It's always been 'potted' in water for as long as I can remember (YEARS); I changed it out with distilled, room-temp water yesterday so I guess it's too soon to see if that has any effect. But I did NOT change its vase

Possible environmental factors:
* It was really drafty this past week
* I guess it got direct sunlight this past week; I'm not sure if that's normal for it

Observations about roots:
* It seems that most of the roots (as you can see below) are dark. Some are white. Some are greenish

Thumb of 2015-10-14/treky215/11d1f3

Thumb of 2015-10-14/treky215/7611ae

Thumb of 2015-10-14/treky215/d52883

Thumb of 2015-10-14/treky215/3f9286

Thumb of 2015-10-14/treky215/758ca2

Thumb of 2015-10-14/treky215/e39632

Thumb of 2015-10-14/treky215/54b522

Thank you again for any help you can provide.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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Oct 14, 2015 4:55 AM CST
Hi & welcome! Your plant is a Pothos:
Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

It's been too long (decades) since I had a piece in water for an extended time to remember much about it. Did it recently dry up completely?
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Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
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Oct 14, 2015 6:09 AM CST
Welcome! I would take it out of the water and gently remove any mushy roots. Direct sun could be the cause of the leaves starting to die off also, it might be time to get a larger vase. Other members will give you more advice. Smiling
Name: DND
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
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Oct 14, 2015 6:30 AM CST
Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!

I wish I could help you. The most I can offer is a compliment on the plant and your efforts to save it. I am interested, though, because I believe pothos plants are among the better contributors to air purification within the home. Good luck with it! If you can figure out what it wants, it should be a breath of fresh air. Rolling my eyes.
Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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Oct 14, 2015 7:51 AM CST
Welcome! Andrew!
I agree that it is a Golden Pothos, and I'm surprised that it's been growing/maintaining for so long in just water. I've never had luck with that, except for just rooting a cutting, and then directly back into soil. Click the link that Tiffany added, and you can see the best growing conditions for this plant. In my experience they prefer to 'dry out' a bit between thorough waterings. Excellent drainage is necessary for them to thrive, and grow. A draft in my opinion, wouldn't be as harmful as strong sunshine. A dappling of sun is fine, but the bright indirect light is best.

Good luck with it, and Happy Gardening!

edited to add that the darker roots are most likely the ones that are mushy, and dead. The lighter/white/green roots would be your good ones.
[Last edited by terrafirma - Oct 14, 2015 7:54 AM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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Oct 14, 2015 11:57 AM CST
Hi Andrew Welcome! to All Things Plants from me too!

In nature, E. aureum ("Devil's Ivy", "Pothos") grows in bright, filtered light beneath the canopy of trees, using the tree for support, it climbs the tree to reach higher light. The leaves get really huge as the plant gets higher in the canopy. Direct sun will burn the leaves so it's best to keep the plant in bright light but without any direct sun hitting the leaves. When grown in water, you should change the water every week or so to keep it from becoming stagnant. The whitish, greenish roots are probably newer growth roots. The brown roots could possibly be rotted; are they soft, and kinda mushy? If so, they should be removed. I used to grow Pothos in vases of water but only have it potted in soil now. These are older photos:

2009 ......................................................... 2011
Thumb of 2015-10-14/plantladylin/d93719 Thumb of 2015-10-14/plantladylin/7cf703

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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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Oct 14, 2015 1:06 PM CST
Hello treky215 Smiling

I also grow pothos in water, in glass vases. But I modified it a bit using water gel beads or sometimes I combine clay rocks withe the gel beads. Roots needs to be moist and get good air below. So having the gel beads works great, there is always something for the roots to absorb moisture from, water does not get stinky too. When the gel beads shrink in size, I just add some water again so it will inflate again. I just use ordinary tap water.

Looking at your plant, try to position them away from direct sun, it is a low light plant. Sometimes I just have to make quarter turns of the vase, just to even out the growth as the leaves reach out for some light. I also trim away old leaves as they go, and sometimes, I may have been bad forgetting to check the vase, so the roots tend to dry up, but once moistened again, the plant recovers. They slowdown a bit in growth during winter, and resumes active growth again in Spring.

Here is mine:

Thumb of 2015-10-14/tarev/34ac88 Thumb of 2015-10-14/tarev/5cd2db Thumb of 2015-10-14/tarev/d2c4f0
[Last edited by tarev - Oct 14, 2015 1:07 PM (+)]
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Oct 14, 2015 2:42 PM CST
Holy smokes! Thanks everyone for the warm welcome. I really appreciate having it identified. Anonymous no more!

So I removed it from its vase and some of the dark roots are definitely mushy compared to the greener/whiter ones.

@Purpleinopp thank you for the link! I don't think it dried up completely.
@Christine thank you for the welcome! It's about to get a bigger home in a few mins.
@DogsnDayLillies that's really neat to know! I should get more then.
@Terrafirma thank you. I've changed its location from the window. As soon as I moved it there the leaves started going so sunlight is probably the cause.
@PlantLadyLin yeah some are mushy so I'll be removing them after this post. Beautiful photos, too!
@Tarev Thanks for the tips! Beautiful photos, too. The water gel beads sound like a neat product. I'll have to check 'em out

Name: Deborah Pryor
Orangeburg, SC Zone 8a (Zone 8a)
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Oct 14, 2015 5:58 PM CST
Welcome! Andrew, you're in good company with lots of helpful advice. Your replies sound like you're on the right track. Wishing your plant a speedy recovery. Smiling
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
Oct 15, 2015 12:59 PM CST
Sorry if the question sounded cryptic above. I was thinking, (like Tara said about the color of the roots,) that I thought I remembered the roots all being white when I had some in water. If all of the water had dried up, I think that could kill the roots and cause them to turn dark like that... hence the question. :+)

Glad others with more recent anecdotes came by to help out! Good luck & good vibes to your plant!
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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
Nov 28, 2015 8:46 AM CST
How is your plant doing now?
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