Houseplants forum: Never-Never Plant Help

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(Zone 10b)
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OfficeFairy
Sep 16, 2016 12:30 PM CST
Hi all! I'm super excited to find this forum. I love gardening but I move a lot for my job, so I'm turning mostly to indoor gardening.
I recently adopted(rescued from a slow and painful death) a ctenanthe burle marxii from another department. The poor thing was completely neglected. It perked up pretty quickly, and has even put out a few new leaves. But I'm worried about some yellow splotches. I thought it was just an effect of bouts of extreme thirst and then the occasional overcompensating drown it had experienced, but the new leaves look like they're getting little yellow spots on them as well. I can't take a picture of the plant itself but here is a good example of one of the afflicted leaves. Many but not all of them look like this.
Thanks in advance for the help!
Thumb of 2016-09-16/OfficeFairy/a2f921
Thumb of 2016-09-16/OfficeFairy/49f3a4

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Sep 17, 2016 6:41 AM CST
When new leaf growth develops spots or other discolorations, it is a good indication of damaged roots, most likely due to improper repotting or improper watering. If you, like most people, repotted your plant, you probably inadvertently damaged some roots in the process. If you moved it into a larger pot, then it is very easy to inadvertently over water and keep the soil too moist because the added soil retains moisture much longer. Allowing the soil to become too dry between waterings usually affects older leaves first. Keeping the soil too moist typically affects new leaf growth and is potentially much more damaging.

Finally, make sure your Ctenanthe is close to a window where it gets lots of mostly very bright but indirect sunlight all day long.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]
Name: Laurie Basler
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids
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lauriebasler
Sep 17, 2016 9:32 PM CST
@officeFairy, Welcome. You are going to like this place. It is full of great people, who really love plants, and want to help and to share their wisdom. There is not a cranky one in the whole bunch. I hope you enjoy it.

I am dealing with the exact same problem. Oh it's so frustrating. I got a sick plant, and it was only getting worse. My brain went on vacation and the mother in me went into overdrive, hovering and fussing too much.

Seeing a plant suffering because of root damage is sort of like dealing with the flu. Patience is best. There is not much you can do but let it run it's course, and resist the urge to nurse it back to health too aggressively. It is easier said than done, but it is the best plan of action.

Welcome. Let us know how it goes.
(Zone 10b)
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OfficeFairy
Sep 18, 2016 1:06 AM CST
Thank you guys!
Will, I haven't repotted it. I don't have access to a new pot or soil, so it's not really an option. Also, unfortunately, there are no windows in my office. It's not in the dark completely though- the regular lights are on all the time as we have a night shift that comes in. I'm honestly proud of it for surviving at all. What you're saying about the leaf growth makes sense. When I took it, there was hardly any moisture in the pot at all, but now my well-meaning coworkers seem to water it every chance they get. I've moved it to my desk where I can shield it from too much love.
I'll definitely let you know how it progresses.
Thanks again!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Sep 24, 2016 8:04 AM CST
It's good that you did not repot it. I assume the overhead office lights are fluorescents. They provide adequate light for low light plants, but may not be bright enough for Ctenanthe. If the lights are incandescent or halogen, then the light will not be in the part of the spectrum that is usable by plants.

It is important that you insist (nicely, of course!) that your colleagues leave the watering to you. Good intentions often lead to over nurtured (and dead) plants. Sighing!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]
(Zone 10b)
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OfficeFairy
Sep 27, 2016 9:04 AM CST
I have a sticky note attached to one of its leaves asking to leave it alone. Smiling It seems to be doing the trick as the soil is slowly drying out.
I put some gravel in its dish as well to keep some air circulation around it.
You're correct, the lights are fluorescent. It seems to be doing okay, still putting out a leaf or two. Does anyone think setting it outside for a few hours in the morning would do it some good, or would that shock it?
Thanks again! Hurray!
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
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purpleinopp
Sep 30, 2016 7:39 AM CST
HI & welcome! I think going outside would burn your plant, if it is beyond the first or last hour of the day, as far south as you are.

Not a plant I know well, outside of killing a few. I chuckle at/with the name you're calling it because I may never-never end up with a happy one since they don't seem to like the conditions I have to offer. Thanks for the fun & best luck with your plant.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
🍀👒☀🍄🍍🌱🌿🌴🎄👣🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻🌽🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌺🌸🌼🌹🌳🌲
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Oct 1, 2016 10:05 AM CST
It is not generally understood how much more intense outdoor light is relative to indoor light. If you have access to a good light meter, you will be surprised to see that outdoor light is hundreds of times more intense. We don't realize the difference because our eyes adjust automatically to light intensity. It is unwise to move plant that have been indoors outside except to a constantly shaded area.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]
(Zone 10b)
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OfficeFairy
Oct 2, 2016 1:05 PM CST
Purple, I bet you could get one going! This poor little guy is honestly astounding me with its resilience.
Will, that is a super good point. I honestly never thought about it before. It now has 4 new leaves unfurling already, so I guess it's happy where it's at. Hurray! Thanks for all the good advice! Thank You!

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