My philodendron selloum is dying - Knowledgebase Question

san francisco, Ca
Question by jacque_hende
January 8, 2010
My philodendrom selloum leaves are turning brown, curling up and then they die. all the leaves on the plan are doing this. I moved the plant from a living room on the stairway under the skylight next to my calathea. The calathea did the same thing. please help

Answer from NGA
January 8, 2010


Foliage browning can be caused by a number of things. If the air is too dry the plants can suffer in that low humidity. Grouping the plants together and using a humidifier or a pebble tray with water in it to raise the immediate area humidity level can help. Both winter heating and summer air conditioning limit humidity; drafts of any kind are also bad. Another common cause is build up of salts in the potting soil. To counter this, make sure you are not overfertilizing and remember to leach the soil periodically. This means watering the plant until water pours out the bottom holes, allowing it to drain for a bit and then repeating. This flushes out any salt build up in the soil. If your plants have been in the same pots for several years they may need repotting with fresh soil. The old soil could be very compacted and this can cause foliage problems. Plants in pots that are too small may wilt often and eventually show some foliage damage as a result. Your plants may need repotting into larger pots. If you repot, try to match the soil type and texture to the old kind. Spring to early summer is usually the best time to repot. Under watering can also cause tip burn; most plants like an evenly moist soil but not a sopping wet one. Plants that are large in relation to their pot will need more water than newly repotted plants. Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucer so the plant roots are sitting in saturated soil. Overfertilizing can cause problems as well. Make sure you are not exceeding the label rates and decrease fertilizing in winter when plant growth naturally slows due to reduced light levels. Salts from a home water softener will damage some plants, so do not use softened water. Inspect both the growing tips and the undersides of the leaves and the stems for signs of insect activity. I hope this helps you troubleshoot.

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