The leaves on my plant are drying up and falling off. - Knowledgebase Question

New York
Question by Planturion
August 24, 2017
I have a gold dust plant (aucuba japonica) and it was doing completely fine. But now the leaves are all drying up and falling off and the stems are starting to dry up. They aren't turning brown and there are no bugs. Google says to keep the plant moist but I have been letting it dry out before watering it again, and when I do I don't put a lot in the pot. Am I watering it too much or not enough, or is this something else? I cleaned the leaves off because they were falling off anyway.
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Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Answer from WillC
August 24, 2017


The last photo shows what appears to be the soil shrinking away from the inside of the pot. That only happens when the soil is allowed to get very much too dry. It is the lack of water that has caused the leaf wilting.

Press the soil in tight into that space. Then water it slowly from the top with warm water and let the pot sit in an inch of water for an hour. Then discard the excess water. This will re-saturated the rootball. For the future, water thoroughly (until water comes through the drain holes) as soon as the surface of the soil feels barely dry.

If the roots are still healthy, then you should see new growth come in. The older leaves that have wilted may not recover, however.

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