Ask a Question forum: Please help! Congo Cockatoo - deteriorating rapidly

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Nov 14, 2016 3:12 PM CST
I'm desperately looking for some help to save my little congo cockatoo.

I got it a couple of months ago from a nursery and since then, it's been plagued by bad luck. My mother had one when I was younger and I just don't remember it being at all difficult or having to go through as many trials as this has.

First I think it got aphids, which I treated and it appeared to come back to life with some, albeit slow, growth. The leaves however were a little discoloured, almost slightly mottled and not as lush green as I would have expected. But, it seemed okay for a few weeks.

In the last few days however it has gone from bad to worse. The leaves have wilted completely - turning a yellowish brown, shrivelling and almost looking like they were moulding.

My boyfriend, thought it could have been it may have been getting too much light by the window and a cold draught, so I moved it, but that seems to have seen it deteriorate even more.I've kept it indoors, in reasonably levels of light and warm. It hasn't been over watered, but it may have dried out a little the other day.

I've just repotted it, as a sort of last ditch attempt incase the soil was too wet. Does any one have any ideas? I genuinely can't seem to do anything right and I really want this little guy to flourish.

Does any one have any experience with Impatiens niamniamensis and think they could help?

Thanks so much in advance,

Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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Nov 14, 2016 3:39 PM CST
Hi Ellie and welcome. Is this the plant you're talking about? What a pretty thing! A picture of yours would be very helpful - yes, we need to see what is going on no matter how bad it looks.

If it is, well impatiens have had onging problems with disease in the last few years, and it may have come to you already infected. If that's the case, I would try a douse with a mild hydrogen peroxide solution - 1oz of drugstore H2O2 to a quart of water. But don't hold out much hope if it is already in trouble.

You could try taking some cuttings if there are any green stems with leaves still healthy. Impatiens start very easily from cuttings so you may be able to get a new plant started. Hard to say whether a cutting will still carry the infection though. If it does, it probably will die instead of rooting. Again, try a few drops of H2O2 in the cutting water.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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Nov 14, 2016 5:03 PM CST
Welcome! I agree with Elaine, a picture would be very helpful. Has it always been kept indoors or did it spend some time outside? Just wondering if it was outdoors at some point since it got aphids. With what did you treat the aphids - could it have damaged the leaves? Aphids could also directly cause discoloured leaves though.

I've never grown this familliar impatiens and references I checked say it is a short-lived perennial. Elaine, I'm guessing you're thinking of the downy mildew that has plagued Impatiens walleriana? I tried to find info on that for I. niamniamensis and what little I found suggested it isn't, or at least not much, affected by that disease.

Nov 15, 2016 12:10 PM CST
Thanks so much for your help. I've tried to upload an image here, sadly there's not an awful lot left to see. There's also a photo of the recently dropped leaves, they almost look a bit sticky. Like a saps on them?? Does this help at all?

Thumb of 2016-11-15/elliemay8919/7e6280

Thumb of 2016-11-15/elliemay8919/4cb741

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Nov 15, 2016 12:16 PM CST
Sticky leaves could be from the aphids, it's called honeydew. What kind of potting mix is it in?
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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Nov 15, 2016 12:27 PM CST
Hi Elliemay. Welcome to NGA!

I don't know anything about your particular plant, or what the original problem might have been. Disease sounds plausible.

When you re-potted, was it root bound, or maybe had very few, thin, sickly-looking roots suggesting root rot? Anything like grubs? If a potting mix retains too much water, it doesn't help enough to under-water it, the root hairs still go through periods of not-enough-oxygen, alternating with not-enough-water.

But I seem to see baby leaves just starting to emerge, towards thee bottom of the first photo. If so, it's far from dead.

Hopefully they will at least grow out enough for you to take new softwood cuttings.

I don't know whether the top few inches of that semi-woody stem would make a good cutting. I'm guessing not, becuase it looks pretty unhappy and has no new leaves yet.

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