Ask a Question forum: What's wrong with my plant

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floom
Jul 15, 2015 3:26 PM CST
Hello,
I have never owned a plant. Crazy, but true. Last week, my husband surprised me with a plant that he picked up in the supermarket. It's a pelonium (sp?) that from what I have read is a geranium. When he brought it home, it had one bloomed purple flower on it. A few days later the leaves fell off. I have no idea if that is supposed to happen. So we've been watering it and I put a stick if Miracle Gro in it two weeks ago and we noticed that around the edges of some of the leaves, is a brownish rim.

About 4 days ago, we noticed a bunch of little bulbs and were so happy to think that maybe more flowers were coming. Well, the buds opened up and little pink or purple leaves began to emerge but before they were all the way out and flowery, they shriveled up and are looking sickly now. Below is a picture of my poor little plant.

I read online that they need a good 6 hours a day of sun and it definitely gets that. It is on a plant holder on our balcony railing.

Does anyone have any ideas on what I can do? Thank you very much.

Thumb of 2015-07-15/floom/ef0edc

Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jul 15, 2015 3:44 PM CST
Welcome! floom. I don't grow geraniums but I will take a stab at your problem.

Picture in your mind how this plant was grown from seed, commercially. It was most probably grown in completely controlled conditions, in a huge greenhouse, and in bright light but not sun. When the plant was ready to sell, it was jammed into trays/flats, transported from who-knows-where to who-knows-where. They it was probably shelved in a warehouse/distribution center until it was shipped out again by truck to your grocery store. It then sat in your grocery store for a period. All this time, from the greenhouse to the grocery store, it had no light and probably no water.

It is now a highly stressed plant. Perhaps when you got it and read about its care, you began to water it, fertilize it, and let it get some sun..........six hours of sun. Because the roots were stressed along with the plant, those roots couldn't do much about taking up that water and certainly couldn't utilize that fertilizer. The leaves have had absolutely no sun their entire life and now the sun is beaming down on them.

My guess is that the plant needs shade, not sun, needs no fertilizer until you see active and healthy growth (and even then, I would use a water-soluble fertilizer at 1/2 recommended strength), and only needs watering when the soil is dry at least an inch deep. Misting those traumatized leaves twice a day will not only raise the humidity but also help to hydrate those desiccated leaves. As with fertilizing, you can gradually introduce the plant to sun when you see that healthy, sustained growth.

That's the best I can do. I have over 1000 tropical plants and this is what I do when I get plants in from commercial growers. I am sure there are lots of folks that grow these plants and can tell you more than I have.

Good luck.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

floom
Jul 15, 2015 4:21 PM CST
Thank you SO much for answering me. I will put it on the table in the shade and see how she does. I've grown attached so I hope I can save her.

I immediately thought that a supermarket is probably the worst place to buy a plant, but it was a sweet gesture and now that she's here, I wanna keep her!

Thanks again for your advice. It's very helpful!
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Jul 15, 2015 4:43 PM CST
Whether it is an orchid from Lowe's or a geranium from Kroger, one simply needs to understand how these plants were grown and how they have been handled. That will go a long way to knowing how to care for them during that critical first month.

Again, good luck.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 15, 2015 6:27 PM CST
Oh yeah, plus if it came from the supermarket, it's been in the air conditioning for days or weeks as well, so the shock of being outside in much warmer temperatures is going to be a little bit tough on it as well. Where are you located? Has the weather been hot? Windy weather will dessicate the plant even faster, so protect it from the wind if you can, too.

I agree with Ken to put it in the shade for a week or two until you see new leaves (flower buds are not leaves) but not too dark. Dappled shade under a tree would be good. You could cut off the spent flower stems as well.

Btw, it's a pelargonium actually.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Jul 15, 2015 8:09 PM CST
Welcome to All Things Plants, @floom !

I totally agree with the advice to put your plant in a semi-shady, protected area... that will help acclimate it to the outdoor conditions.

I know how frustrating it can be to have a plant doing poorly... but geraniums (Pelargoniums) are quite a hardy bunch, I've actually had some that I thought were done for that I threw onto the compost pile, only to find them growing better than they ever had (and subsequently re-potting them) Hilarious! .

I really hope yours will bounce back for you, especially since it's your first plant! But, if not, give another one a try... soon you will be as addicted to growing plants as most of the members here are Green Grin!
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