Houseplants forum: Help a peperomia serpens?

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rplant
Jan 3, 2017 9:59 AM CST
Hi everyone,

I don't know much about plant care. I have an ivy, the tag says it's a peperomia serpens. I hope I can save it, as it doesn't look very healthy. I bought it about 2.5 years ago and it's been in the same pot w/ same soil the whole time. The leaves are yellow and it's growing thin & sparse (it's been like this for a while now though, but seems to be getting slowly worse). The leaves near the tips seem to be healthier than the ones near the base of the plant. Does anyone know what's wrong and what I can do to improve its health? Also, any general care tips would be greatly appreciated as well!

Thumb of 2017-01-03/rplant/1a1067
Thumb of 2017-01-03/rplant/bbedf4
Thumb of 2017-01-03/rplant/2fcf96

Thank you! I hope someone out there can help!
Name: Gita Veskimets
Baltimore or Nottingham MD-212 (Zone 7a)
Life is "mind over matter". If I d
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gitagal
Jan 3, 2017 12:08 PM CST
From the looks of your round ceramic pot--I think it may not have any drainage holes in the bottom.
Does it??? This may be the reason your Peperonia is declining.

Do you have any more info on this situation? Gita

rplant
Jan 3, 2017 5:39 PM CST
Hi! Thank you for your reply!

The ceramic pot does not have any holes to drain water. However, the plant is inside a plastic pot that fits into the ceramic one. When I water the plant, I take out the plastic pot, water it, and then put it over the kitchen sink to allow the water to drain out. When it stops dripping, I put it back in the ceramic pot. I'm not sure what you'd call it... but the inner plastic pot has a cloth strip attached to it that retains some moisture too, this fits in between the inner & outer pot and (I think) allows the plant to draw some extra moisture from it.

Other information: I have to say I water it pretty irregularly. I'd say about once every 1.5 or 2 weeks. The leaves don't seem dry though, just yellow. But the soil dries out much faster than when I first bought the plant. It seems like there's less soil in the pot (I think a small amount drains out every time I water it) than when I first bought it, so I was wondering if that might be adding to the problem. I keep it by a west-facing window.

Thank you again. If there are any other questions I can answer to help diagnose the problem, please let me know!
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Jan 6, 2017 8:50 AM CST
Your watering method is great..
After 2+years, it needs new soil. The soil decays and gets mucky. It blocks air from the roots and may not let water penetrate evenly.

..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)

rplant
Jan 8, 2017 11:25 PM CST
Thank you, sallyg!

I'll buy some soil today and see if that helps!

rplant
Apr 8, 2017 9:33 AM CST
Hi,

I replaced the soil about 3 months ago, but it doesn't seem to have helped. Actually, when I went to replace the soil I realized that the plant's roots were wrapped around the existing soil. I didn't want to kill any of the roots so I just replaced the soil that wasn't attached to the roots.

The plant still looks like the images in my first post, but more leaves have fallen from the shaft of the vines. New growth continues at the tips and the plant is trying to grow longer.

Has it become too big for its pot? I would prefer not to re-pot the plant. Would it be possible to prune the plant's vines to encourage it to grow it's smaller vines and grow more densely?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
Image
sallyg
Apr 8, 2017 2:37 PM CST
I think you should cut off the vines, keep several good looking growing ends, leave a couple leaves and a couple bare 'joints' on them, throw away to old rootball, use all new soil in the same plastic pot, plant so each has 1-2 bare joints in the dirt. Water in, and wait. They are succulent sort of plant and should root fine without wilting.

I think something is wrong down in the rootball, so you have to get rid of that.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Apr 8, 2017 2:46 PM CST
Your watering routine seems appropriate as long as your Peperomia is close to a moderately bright window. The soil should feel very dry on the surface before you add any water.

I am wondering if you have a water quality issue. If your tap water is on the hard side with high mineral content, it may have altered the soil pH enough that vital nutrients are not being absorbed. You may want to check your water quality and the pH of the soil before you do something as drastic as replacing the soil.

The existing pale leaves will never re-green, so I suggest you prune back all of the stems to a length of 2-3 inches. That is the only way to eliminate the unhealthy leaves. If you are able to correct the problem, the the new growth that emerges from the ends of the cut back stems will be a healthy green color.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

rplant
Apr 10, 2017 4:26 AM CST
Thank you sallyg and WillC!

Since you mentioned that pruning back the vines is the less drastic option, I'm trying that first. I pruned back the stems to about 2 or 3 inches, like you recommended. I hope it works!

I didn't know that I could just replant the vines into the ground and they would root themselves! If I plant some vines outside is there any risk of the peperomia becoming an invasive species or something? I just thought I should double-check.

I found online that the pH level of the water in my city is 7.6 (6.8 to 8.1), but the information was from about 8 years ago. Does that sound alright? The soil is just what the plant came with when I bought it about 3 years ago.

Thanks again for all your help.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
Image
sallyg
Apr 11, 2017 7:12 AM CST
Rainwater has no minerals. I think cheap spring water is low in minerals too.
Re planting them outside, becoming invasive-
We don't know where you live. It will die if there is a freeze, but could be a summer plant at least. Offhand, no idea about that in far southern zones.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Apr 15, 2017 11:38 AM CST
The water pH is okay, but it is the mineral content of the water and the pH of the soil that matter most. Is your tap water on the hard side requiring a water softener?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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