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Avatar for VallieGal
Mar 29, 2020 9:58 AM CST

Hi everyone! I'm desperate to save this poor little plant. I'm plant sitting for a friend and I think I overwatered it, because it went from bright green to crispy dark green leaves. I dried the roots out as best I could and repotted it in part of it's own soil and some new soil I had.

I have no idea what to do next and I'm beside myself if I've killed this poor plant.

Any and all help identifying and solutions will be greatly appreciated.
Thank You!


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Mar 29, 2020 10:25 AM CST
Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Region: Ukraine Region: Florida Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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I'm not certain of it's identity but it reminds me of some type of Ardisia. Here are our database listings for comparison to a couple that I think are commonly sold as houseplants:
Shoebutton Ardisia (Ardisia elliptica)
Coralberry (Ardisia humilis)
Coral Ardisia (Ardisia crenata)

Repotting can cause additional stress to an already stressed plant. Since it's just been repotted, make sure it isn't receiving full, direct sun and heat from that window and whenever you water, pour water atop the soil until it exits the drainage holes; empty all excess water from the outer metal cache pot and don't add additional water until the top inch or two of soil feels dry when you stick a finger down into the soil. It's still alive and in time, it may recuperate.
~ I'm an old gal who still loves playing in the dirt!
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot!


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Mar 29, 2020 11:09 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Why did the soil need drying out? Did you remove much of the original soil when you repotted?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Avatar for VallieGal
Mar 29, 2020 12:05 PM CST

@Plantladylin - Thank you! I believe it to be a small coffee plant, now that I've done a bit more digging. Could that make sense? Thank you for the assurance that there still may be hope. Crossing Fingers! I'll heed your advice. Thank you!
Avatar for VallieGal
Mar 29, 2020 12:08 PM CST

@WillC - I over-watered it and the soil had been very wet for days, that's when the leaves started wilting and turning "crispy". I had read that it's a good idea to gently remove the plant from it's planter to get air to the roots to help speed up the drying and make sure there is no root rot (which I didn't seem to notice any). Also to return as much original soil to the pot as you can, but I had to add a bit of new dry soil. I would say it's still 85% of the original soil in it's container.
Do you think there is hope? What should my next steps be?

Thank you!
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Mar 29, 2020 12:37 PM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
It is very badly dehydrated most likely because many, if not most, of the roots are damaged. That damage may have occurred when it was overwatered. Additional damage may have also occurred when some of the soil was removed around the roots. Unpotting overwatered plants and repotting them is commonly recommended because it seems intuitively appropriate, but it is not a good practice because it usually does more harm than good.

I am less optimistic than Lin about its recovery. Let the top inch of soil dry before watering it lightly. Try to keep the soil around the roots damp, but not wet. It is a delicate balance. Look for signs of new shoots emerging at the tip ends of the stems as a sign of recovery.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Avatar for VallieGal
Mar 29, 2020 1:53 PM CST

Will thank you again. It is very badly damaged. I believe it had been dehydrated before I over watered it as I had another friend take care of it while I was away. Just a series of bad events. I will just monitor it now and take your advice. Thank you both! Sighing!
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Mar 29, 2020 2:50 PM CST
Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Region: Ukraine Region: Florida Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener Houseplants
VallieGal said:@Plantladylin - Thank you! I believe it to be a small coffee plant, now that I've done a bit more digging. Could that make sense?

Yes, it could be Coffee (Coffea arabica) which are sometimes sold as houseplants!
~ I'm an old gal who still loves playing in the dirt!
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot!


Avatar for VallieGal
Apr 5, 2020 3:37 PM CST

Hi again. So unfortunately I wasn't able to save this poor guy. I'm heartbroken. The roots still seem OK - is there any chance of new sprouts coming up? Is there anything I should be doing? Can I put the roots in water and grow it hydroponically? (I've done it before with some ivy plants). Sorry if these are stupid questions I'm just desperate since this is a friends plant that was a gift. Crying

THANK YOU!!!
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Apr 5, 2020 4:08 PM CST
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 38 years
Aroids Region: Florida Tropicals
It doesn;t look like Ardisia crenata thankfully. That one has pleated leaves. I have it all over my property unfortunately because a neighbor planted some that he dug up somewhere else. And its is a Cat 1 invasive in FL now, banned for sale and purchase, and prohibited from being planted. It is slowly but surely taking over the woods here where I live
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Apr 6, 2020 9:22 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
We have all had our heartbreaks with plants. It is best to learn from it so we don't repeat our disappointments.

I doubt that the roots are still viable. Cut back the stems to an inch or so above the soil. Maybe some new growth will emerge, but don't expect it.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
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