Indoor Houseplants in bad shape - Knowledgebase Question

Las Cruces, Ne
Question by ceoverhiser
February 25, 2010
I listened to a customer who talked like an expert when I purchased two large pots of Calathea Hybrid Plants and two large pots of Varigated Ficus Bushes at my local Home Depot. She said to let these plants


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Answer from NGA
February 25, 2010

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I'm sure the customer you listened to was just trying to be helpful. Most houseplants keel over from root rot due to overwatering than from any other cause. However, Calathea prefers moist soils. Water your calathea frequently enough to keep most of the potting mix moist but not soggy wet. When the top of potting mix is dry but there's moisture several inches into the soil (gauge by sticking your finger down into the potting mix), it is time to water. The water should be room temperature, so let the water sit in your watering can for 15 minutes before watering.

High humidity is essential to a calathea and unfortunately, most homes have low humidity. Increase the humidity by placing the plant on a tray of pebbles, placing it around other plants and misting it with soft water daily. Running a humidifier near the plant is a drastic but more successful method of keep the humidity high.

Ficus doesn't mind soil on the dry side but they should be watered before the soil completely dries out. I water thoroughly and then wait until the top half inch of soil dries out before watering again. You can probably nurse your plants back to health by watering more frequently. When you see new growth, you can prune away any dead or damaged foliage.

Best wishes with your plants!

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