Philodendrons, Elephant Ears, and Other Aroids forum→Second opinion please on root rot case with Thai con seller

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Name: Pearl
Boston (Zone 7a)
Image
pearlplants
Jun 11, 2020 7:59 AM CST
Hello all!

I am new here but have been lurking the forums for the past month or so. Excited to join everyone here and learn from the resident experts (shoutout to Gina and Will!) that have been so helpful with others before me.

I currently have with me a Monstera Thai constellation that I received on May 8, watered once on May 15 after I noticed two leaves yellowed (thinking it was underwatered), and discovered it had severe root rot on May 19. I had to trim 90% of the rootball off because it was mush, and I was left with so little roots that I decided to re-root it in damp sphagnum moss, instead of planting it back in soil like the seller recommended. It has been sitting in moss since May 25. Over the course of the past week, I reached out to the customers who had left reviews for a Thai on his page, of which there were 7, and out of us 8, 4 of us encountered problems with wet soil and root rot soon after arrival, so I believe there may be a pattern--not just user error. I think the Miracle-gro like soil our plants were shipped with is the culprit. I bought a chunky aroid mix called Husky mix for my Thai, but wanted to let my shipped plant acclimate for a month before I transferred it and now I regret waiting so long to repot it.

My plant was shipped in pot, and I regrettably did not unpot and check the roots upon arrival because I didn't want to further stress the plant after shipping shock so I don't have a "before" photo of the root system. When I unpotted to check the plant on May 19, there was a large chunk of styrofoam at the bottom of the 6" grow pot, presumably to improve drainage, but the "perched water table effect" is still an issue in setups like these.

It's now been a month after I've received the plant--long past the 7 day return window, but after learning that other customers were also affected like me, I am wondering if we are entitled to a partial refund. If possible, I would like to TreeMail or email someone the full exchange that I and the seller have to provide an unbiased opinion on whether the root rot was completely caused by user error.

In addition, I have not mentioned this possibility to the seller, but I think I may have received an import, even though my plant was supposedly propagated from a 3 year old mother plant last summer, because I do not see a blunt end where the cut would be, and my plant had 2 young unfenestrated leaves. Plus, I learned that most Thais are tissue-cultured and it's tricky to take cuttings since the stems grow so close to together, so cuttings aren't common. I could be wrong.

May 19 - long mushy roots
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May 19- roots after removing the mushy parts, large bunch of sphagnum moss that it was buried with
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May 19- roots after washing and dusting with cinnamon
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June 3 - the rot returned and I had to trim more off
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Current setup, with sphagnum moss in the pot
Thumb of 2020-06-11/plantedparenthood/7c60af

[Last edited by plantedparenthood - Jun 11, 2020 8:41 AM (+)]
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Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
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Gina1960
Jun 11, 2020 12:00 PM CST
Well, none of us can really say what your seller did or did not do to help this situation along because we were not the ones receiving the plant. But, with root rot THAT severe in only 7 days, I have to agree, the soil mix was likely a contributing factor.

I do not see evidence of this being a stem cutting either from what I can see in the photos, but, it could be a side shoot propagation. I do not take stem top cuttings off of any of my variegated Monsteras. I only propagate side shoots that come off the parent plants, root themselves into the ground and start growing. But then the leaves on my parents are over 2 feet across and over 2 ft long and the stems are the diameter of the average flashlight handle.

I agree that I would have unpotted the plant pretty much immediately to check things out. And I would have repotted it into my own aroid mix that I make myself, unless I was planting it into the ground.

I would show the seller the photos and not be shy about asking about a partial refund, and would cite the other negative reviews. All they can do is say NO after all.

Meanwhile what I would do with the 'cutting' is remove that yellowed leaf. It is toast and will not recover. The plant will have a hard enough time trying to support the other leaves now that it has no root system.

I would treat the entire lower portion where the nodes and roots start with a good fungicide, a real fungicide, not cinnamon, and I would dip it into rooting hormone and place it back in the sphagnum. Unless it is really cool or cold where you are I would lose the plastic bag. Room temperature is fine. Just keep the moss damp, not wet, with a spray bottle and mist the leaves occasionally. Don;t be surprised if you lose more leaves. Keep it in a bright light position.

Part of what contributed to the failure of the root system from what I can see in your photos is that they planted the rooted cutting still in the spaghnum moss into a soil that was too water retentive. All the water is going to gravitate to that moss ball, which looks sizable, and just sit there. Its okay to place a plant with its moss ball into a medium that is porous light and fast draining, but it should be demossed first down to the minimum that can be removed without actually touching the roots with your fingers or pulling at them to get the moss off.

I have propagated Monsteras many times, its not hard to do. I never try to root in water, I usually just put them straight into my soil mix or plant them in the ground. I have never lost one yet. But then I really am a grower, I don't propagate just to sell stuff. And I do not import anything for resale. That takes a special addition to a nursery license, and most of the people selling stuff on etsy, eBay and Facebook don;t even have a nursery license, much less the import stamp
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Name: Pearl
Boston (Zone 7a)
Image
pearlplants
Jun 11, 2020 2:32 PM CST
Hi Gina,

Thank you for chiming in with your expertise. You're right, I should've unpotted it immediately to check and documented everything, not just the leaves. I didn't even think about the sphagnum moss attached to the roots as a potential problem.

I bought Southern AG's liquid copper fungicide ~2 weeks ago and have Bonide's rooting powder, so I will use that. Should I dilute the fungicide? The instructions for use on the bottle only specify dilution instructions for using as a spray.

It could indeed be a side shoot propagation, though the seller's sold 8 other from the same description--"the mother plant is 3 years old" (new photos each time) after I ordered on May 24 and a couple before me. How prolific in growing offshoots are your mature monsteras?
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
Image
Gina1960
Jun 11, 2020 2:55 PM CST
Not very. It takes a while for a mature Monstera to produce a side shoot. My plants are OLD
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Name: Pearl
Boston (Zone 7a)
Image
pearlplants
Jun 15, 2020 1:58 PM CST
I checked on the monstera today and part of the base rotted. I cut it with a clean knife and am going let it air dry

Should I dilute the fungicide when I dip it? I have Southern AG liquid copper fungicide.
Thumb of 2020-06-15/pearlplants/b7778e
Thumb of 2020-06-15/pearlplants/05a629
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
Image
Gina1960
Jun 15, 2020 2:02 PM CST
I have never actually used copper fungicide. I cannot steer you with that. I use a product called Captan. Its a powder that you dilute into a slurry and soak the rhizome in for a bit before potting then use as a drench.
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