Ask a Question forum: Can you help me save my aspidistra?

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ShortyKoala
Mar 21, 2017 9:07 AM CST
Hello. I'm wondering if there are any green fingered gardeners out there who can help me?

I have an aspidistra (sp?) plant that I inherited and it is not doing so well in my care. I was under the impression they were fairly easy to maintain but I must be doing something terribly wrong! Since I've been looking after the plant, the leaves have withered and turned yellowy brown and are no longer the lush dark green they used to be. It has flowered but that too has now started to wilt. I have also noticed some sort of mould forming on top of the soil. I'm attaching an a photo (from 16th March) to show what has happened.

I initially put it in my kitchen but then moved it to another room away from a radiator. I have also tried to keep it in the dark away from sunlight. Unfortunately, I have no outside space because I live in a flat. I'm not sure about watering so I have only watered it once (since February) but the soil is still moist(wish).

Any suggestions about how I can save it? It's originally from a cutting from my great grandmother's plant so I really don't want it to die.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Thumb of 2017-03-21/ShortyKoala/46fa72
Name: greene
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greene
Mar 21, 2017 9:20 AM CST
Your plant does not appear to be an aspidistra. Here is a link with photos of aspiditstra and its flowers.
http://www.ourhouseplants.com/...

Someone will be along soon to help ID your plant and suggest proper care. Keeping it away from the radiator was a good move. Thumbs up
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Mar 21, 2017 9:25 AM CST
Not an aspiditra, but it looks more like a clivia. I would just cut off the bloomstalk, since blooming time is done, and trim down the yellowed leaves.

Clivia prefers to be on the dry side and is quite a low light plant. I still see hope for your plant, seeing there are new leaves from the center where it forms, and have seen some in much worst condition. Older leaves on the outside naturally die off first.

If soil is still moist then delay watering, or you can add more pumice to the media to make it more well draining and open. This plant really hates overwatering, and is killed faster by frequent watering. It has quite thick noodle like roots that ably endures being on the dry side.
Don't apply fertilizer either for now, it is in some stress, just let it recover slowly for now. Once you have removed the bloomstalk, it should redirect energy to the rest of the plant.

ShortyKoala
Mar 21, 2017 9:37 AM CST
Thank you Tarev and Greene for your advice.

I think this must be the aspidistra which seems to be faring much better...

Thumb of 2017-03-21/ShortyKoala/4af3c3

I will certainly cut off the bloomstalk and trim the yellowed leaves.

Sorry to ask another question but do you mean put pumice at the bottom of the pot?

Name: Jean
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Moonhowl
Mar 21, 2017 9:40 AM CST
Hi @ShortyKoala .Welcome to NGA.


I do not think what you have is an Aspidrista. From what I can make out in your picture, your plant looks rather more like one of the Crinum lilies to me . Give these links a look.

http://www.pacificbulbsociety....

http://www.gardeningsolutions....

https://www.plantdelights.com/...
[Last edited by Moonhowl - Mar 21, 2017 9:42 AM (+)]
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Name: greene
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greene
Mar 21, 2017 9:47 AM CST
If you cannot find pumice you could get some Perlite and mix that into the soil.
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Name: tarev
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tarev
Mar 21, 2017 9:49 AM CST
ShortyKoala said:Thank you Tarev and Greene for your advice.

I think this must be the aspidistra which seems to be faring much better...

Thumb of 2017-03-21/ShortyKoala/4af3c3

I will certainly cut off the bloomstalk and trim the yellowed leaves.

Sorry to ask another question but do you mean put pumice at the bottom of the pot?



Yes, this other plant looks more like aspidistra.

By adding pumice, like mix it into the soil. You can try and gently pull out the distressed plant, to also check the condition of the roots. Then if you can, change the media to a more porous one, by mixing in more pumice to it.
Name: tarev
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tarev
Mar 21, 2017 9:58 AM CST
Yes, as suggested by Greene, if you don't have access to pumice, you can use perlite.

My clivias grow by my north facing window, always indoors here. Much as I like them to be outdoors during the warm months, can't do it, due to our voracious grasshoppers here and gets really intensely hot, it cannot take direct sun and our dry heat. It blooms here during late winter, which is what it is doing now actually, after receiving a cool treatment for a few week in Fall.

You are actually lucky that your plant managed to bloom! Some growers are having such a hard time to make them bloom. Smiling So there is still great hope for your plant there, ShortyKoala. You did not mention where you are located, so I do not know if you have the option to bring them out in a safe, shady area. But put them in shade or deepest shade, those leaves really burn easily in direct sun.

ShortyKoala
Mar 21, 2017 11:28 AM CST


Thumb of 2017-03-21/ShortyKoala/79244a

Okay, I have cut off the bloomstalk and taken off the yellowing leaves and I think it looks much better now! My next mission will be to buy some pumice.

I'm really pleased that it managed to bloom. I'm actually located in the UK Tarev - I just googled plant forums and signed up Smiling

No grasshoppers here but it's only 9 degrees celsius (and quite windy) so I think it's best the plant stays indoors.

Thanks again for the advice.
Name: tarev
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tarev
Mar 21, 2017 11:38 AM CST
Looks good! I think you can even consider separating them into 4. The plant is a slow grower but grows quite big. Perfect timing to repot since it is just done with its blooming.

This is what one of mine looks like:
Thumb of 2017-03-21/tarev/731087

[Last edited by tarev - Mar 21, 2017 11:39 AM (+)]
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ShortyKoala
Mar 21, 2017 12:08 PM CST
Wow. It looks great!

Thanks for the idea about repotting. Is it simple? Sorry to ask so many questions. I really am a novice gardener. Maybe I'll Google it.
Name: tarev
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tarev
Mar 21, 2017 12:24 PM CST
It is simple enough, just make sure your media mix is really well draining. Cannot overemphasize that. So I mix in very well my pumice or if you have perlite with the soil, really making it gritty.

This is how fat the roots look like:
Thumb of 2017-03-21/tarev/93f17b


ShortyKoala
Sep 10, 2017 1:16 PM CST

Thumb of 2017-09-10/ShortyKoala/37023b

Hello,

Can anyone give me some advice? My previously thriving aspidistra is looking decidedly unhealthy. I have done very little since I last posted on here in March but I thought they were fairly self sufficient... perhaps not! The leaves have only discoloured over the last couple of weeks but the leaves used to be strong and vertical and are now horizontal. This has happened more gradually. I watered in a week or so ago which I don't think helped but other than that, it hasn't been watered for a few months. I keep it in my kitchen away from natural light (although we've just had summer so it's been quite light) and although it's by the radiator, I haven't had the heating on since April!

Does anyone have any advice? I fear my plant does not have long left!

Many thanks in advance.

Shorty
Thumb of 2017-09-10/ShortyKoala/f1248a

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Sep 10, 2017 3:47 PM CST
Hello ShortyKoala, I think you made your plant too dry by not watering for a few months. As drought tolerant this plant is, it is not a desert succulent.

Try to water again, maybe try to dip the container root zone area in a tub, so it can get as much water as it can, and ideally I would bring it out in to the shadiest area of the garden, so it can get some good air flow as it gradually dries out. You can also spray mist the leaves.

Don't do any trimming of leaves for now, just wait and observe if the rest of the leaves perks up. I think there is still hope for it, just got to give it time to drink up more water. My variegated Aspidistra stayed outdoors this summer and I have been watering daily and spray misting the leaves daily every morning. It stayed on the shadiest side of our garden. So far it actually did well, growing new leaves, made some flowers at soil level and really endured well our nasty heat wave that hit 100F to 112F for about two weeks at a time last June and late August to early Sept.

ShortyKoala
Sep 12, 2017 1:49 PM CST
Thank you Tarev. Unfortunately, I live in a flat so I can't put the plant outside. We are hoping to move in the next few months though so should the plant survive, I'll find it a nice shady spot!

Thank you for your advice. I have sprayed the leaves with a mister and tried to soak the roots. Fingers crossed.

Glad your aspidistra is doing well. :)
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Sep 12, 2017 5:02 PM CST
Hope it goes well! Keep us posted how it goes. It is okay if it is indoors, it truly loves shade, just don't omit watering, allow to dry out the soil, but not for a very long period. Use a bamboo skewer if in doubt if media is still wet. Stick it into the soil, if it comes out wet, delay watering maybe for another day or so. It takes just a little longer for media to dry indoors.

I remember the roots of this plant, it is like the thickness of spaghetti noodles, so it will also not appreciate sitting in too wet media for a long time either.
[Last edited by tarev - Sep 13, 2017 9:39 AM (+)]
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ShortyKoala
Sep 13, 2017 10:58 AM CST
Thank you Tarev. Unfortunately, I live in a flat so I can't put the plant outside. We are hoping to move in the next few months though so should the plant survive, I'll find it a nice shady spot!

Thank you for your advice. I have sprayed the leaves with a mister and tried to soak the roots. Fingers crossed.

Glad your aspidistra is doing well. :)

ShortyKoala
Oct 15, 2017 11:21 AM CST



Thumb of 2017-10-15/ShortyKoala/238168

Hi Tarev,

Here is my aspidistra a few weeks on. As you can see, a few of the stems seem to have brightened and straightened up which is really pleasing but a number of leaves don't seem to have perked up at all... Should I remove these leaves? Also, one leaf is discolouring and turning quite yellow, what does this mean?

Is there any hope left? Fortunately, we will be moving in January (winter and freezing in the UK) so next year I will have a garden of my own and when summer comes I can find a nice shady spot outside. I'm just afraid it won't survive that long!

Thanks in advance for your help

Shorty
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Oct 16, 2017 9:10 AM CST
Hello ShortyKoala, I still see hope for it. Yellowing leaves can either be over or underwatering. How were you watering this plant these past few weeks? Good luck on your move! Winter move is always stressful for plants.
Name: Sue Taylor
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kniphofia
Oct 16, 2017 9:33 AM CST
The first thing you need to do is get the aspidistra away from that radiator. They are tough plants but being that close to a heat source is a death sentence. They like cooler conditions. Water thoroughly then leave until the top inch or so of compost feels dry. They do occasionally lose leaves which will yellow then brown and these can just be cut off.
A brightish spot will do but not in direct sunlight. The Victorians thought they thrived on neglect but no plant will do well in the dark.
I'm in the UK as well and have aspidistras and Clivias.

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