Ask a Question forum→Peperomia pepperspot help needed - entire stem broken from root system

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Name: Regan
Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5b)
regan_h
May 10, 2020 8:17 PM CST
My pepperspot suffered a serious injury about 48 hours ago: a falling object swiped it and the entire stem was broken from the root system.
After picking up the container, the above-soil part of the plant remained one piece with the break was to the "trunk-most" base of the stem.

The plant is young, still in a 2x2" planter. The longest stem is maybe 6-8" and there were (are?) several healthy stems growing.

I'm new to indoor gardening and I'm learning; I knew I needed to move fast and couldn't run to the internet for help. Please go easy on me regarding the action taken immediately following the injury -
I quickly dipped it in rooting powder and shoved it back into the soil as close to the top of the root system as I could find, without digging up the roots and harming them. An open (not pinching) ladies hairpin is keeping the plant pinned into the soil, under very little pressure.
I don't have material to support the "mend," I thought since the break was so near the roots, that perhaps the stem would be quick to spout off new roots or turn into a root itself. Again, I'm new, and I'm not educated in botany. I'm embarrassed and bashful about the situation and my level of experience in general. Go easy on me.

Sadly, today I'm noticing the plant is giving off a strong, foul odor as I imagine the roots are rotting?
Edit: Upon 2nd (more like 6th, 7th, 8th...) inspection, I don't think the smell is coming from the pep, rather, a shrub branch I'm propagating.
Nevertheless...

Can anything be done to save it?
I don't have much experience propagating, but I have many in the works, at about 2 weeks stuck into soil.
There are several young stems still in good (visual) shape; there are many lush leaves, some leaves still with perky stems, others wilty and sad looking.
I have lots of soils on hand, worm castings.

Any insight is appreciated, even if it's what I did wrong immediately after the incident.
Be kind, my heart hurts from this already.

Please and thank you.
[Last edited by regan_h - May 10, 2020 9:38 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2234699 (1)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 11, 2020 9:51 AM CST
Welcome! Please post a photo so we can see what is happening.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Regan
Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5b)
regan_h
May 11, 2020 11:28 AM CST
Hi Will, and thank you 🙂 Apologies for the panic, I just mean so well and try to do things properly for them. Sadly, I've lost count of the number of plants I've gone through. I love them so much and give them more attention than they require... 😞

I've finally seen a positive response to repotting, although the casualties to date way outweigh the survivors/thrivers. Hoping I can say that I've "figured it out" now though.

Attached photos for you here. Middle one is the injured's current state.
It's a beautiful little group up and coming, all things considered. One pepperspot is doing wonderfully.

The stinky plant was Not the injured, as you probably suspected. 👌🏼

Thoughts?

Thank you 🙏

Thumb of 2020-05-11/regan_h/54c9b3
Thumb of 2020-05-11/regan_h/6b57c3
Thumb of 2020-05-11/regan_h/c10b33

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 11, 2020 2:45 PM CST
Recovery will depend on how much damage was done to the tiny root hairs and on how well you can manage the balance between water and oxygen that the roots require to recover.

The soil looks pretty dense, so I suggest that you let the top half-inch of soil get dry to the touch before you water lightly. Be patient.

If you are struggling with your plants, not repotting them will provide better success for you. In many instances, benign neglect works better than over-nurturing.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Regan
Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5b)
regan_h
May 11, 2020 4:15 PM CST
Well put, Will, absolutely spot on with "benign neglect works better than over-nurturing." I am definitely getting better about it. They all did just get a watering last night, and I'm practicing restraint by simply spraying their soil rather than pouring water into them. Is that a reasonable compromise? Still letting them get dry, though, I can tell they like that. When "dry" you can really feel it in the weight of the container, if visually isn't enough.

Okay, I'll sit tight and wait for them to respond. How long does propagation usually take to set in with success or not? I feel like I've had stems just hanging out in soil for at least a month... Should I expect all cuttings or breaks to spout new growth?

I shouldn't "check" on new growth either, correct? Leave it in the soil; if it's going to make it, I'll know?

I'm still learning what a sad plant *looks* like and when to call it gone... I've got a firecracker who hasn't bounced back from repotting - but it was ready to be... maybe 1/2" of roots were growing out of all the holes in the bottom.


Thanks again Will!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 12, 2020 7:43 AM CST
Keep in mind that the plants you have selected are not among the easiest and hardiest of indoor plants. That means they have a smaller margin for error in watering and light.

Misting is harmless unless it causes you to misread how dry the soil is and keeps you from watering on a timely basis. It is not a substitute for watering.

Every plant has its own unique time table and it is always slower than you want! Patience is an important part of successful gardening. Folks who are chronic"fixers" or "fussers" often create more problems for themselves.

If your plants are establishing new roots just look for stability. Sometimes that means no new visible growth, but also no additional deterioration. That's okay. Patience.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Regan
Milwaukee, WI (Zone 5b)
regan_h
May 13, 2020 6:57 AM CST
Fantastic, this is precisely what I need to hear! I tend to be a fusser, fixer, picker, fidgeter, and tinker-er, etc, in other aspects. *Blush* This'll be good exercise of patience and restraint for me. The rate at which the String of Hearts is growing is hugely satisfying. Lovey dubby It should keep me content!

My hardier plants are actually hanging above where I stood while taking the previous pictures. There are 6, who get prime spots hanging in the easterly 9'h x 11'w sliding glass door/window... I feel like not using the window in this way is a gross misuse of the indirect natural light and of the space in general!

Okay, so I really dove headfirst into this indoor gardening Grin I read-up on everyone I have and am getting a feel for their likes/dislikes... Is there a tool you recommend that might help with watering, fertilizing, light sensitivity, etc? Any tricks, hacks, cheats? I read a blog where someone recommended using a popsicle stick in the soil to see if 1"-2" into the soil is dry.
Or, are there any apps you think would be good for me? There are several apps available but all the ones I've found require a monthly fee. Not sure if it's worth it...

Thumb of 2020-05-13/regan_h/a77101

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 13, 2020 7:50 AM CST
Personally, I don't think that plant care lends itself to apps and devices and other shortcuts. Developing your sense of touch for soil moisture and porosity and being very observant of a plant's tendencies to both grow and decline are your most important tools. It is a process of never-ending learning that includes experimenting and making mistakes and trying not to repeat them. There is no end-point and that explains why it can be a lifelong hobby.

Much of the joy in plant care comes from the hands-on quality required and the satisfaction derived from accomplishing something by our own hands and without artifice. It can also be a communal experience as we share with others our successes and failures and our questions and answers.

Try to enjoy the process and not make a priority of getting a finished product as quickly and easily as possible.
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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