split-leaf philodendron and Christmas cactus - Knowledgebase Question

Kennesaw, Ge
Question by greenekj
October 31, 2009
We are getting black spots on several leaves and new shoots are turning black quickly. How can we fix this? Also, how can I get my Christmas cactus to look alive? It is green and has a few new shoots but it didn't bloom last year and hasn't gotten any bigger. It does look a little faded on a couple leaves.

Answer from NGA
October 31, 2009


When the foliage turns black on philodendrons it usually means the plant is suffering from root rot. This can happen when the soil is kept too moist. There's not much you can do to save a plant that is fully involved, which I suspect yours is, based upon your description of the new growth turning black. You might try unpotting it, cutting away the dead roots and repotting in fresh potting soil. With any luck the remaining roots will be able to support the plant. If you need to replace your dying plant with a new philodendron, be sure to water thoroughly and then allow the top half inch of soil to dry out between waterings.

Christmas cactus grows best in bright light indoors or bright shade outdoors. Sounds like yours could use a light application of fertilizer. These plants flower according to the daylength. In the fall, when the days are shorter, they should develop flower buds. Good luck with your plants.

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