Houseplants forum: Dying Purple Waffle plant

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Aug 2, 2017 1:32 PM CST
Hey everyone! This is my very first post on this forum and it's very much a cry of help! I've had a purple waffle plant for a little over six months that was doing well up until two months ago. The first thing I noticed was that the leaves tips were beginning to curl and turn dark. I've done as much research as I could on the PW and I can't find the issue. At first I thought I wasn't watering enough, so I started to every 3 days and I'd spray the leaves. Then I stopped watering completely because I thought maybe I was overwatering! Anyway, a friend had come over and saw it. He asked if I ever changed the soil and I never had (I didn't realize, I'm new to this). So the following day I changed the soil. The roots were white, they looked good. I trimmed them some like recommended and I replanted the PW in new soil. Watered it well. The very next day, what was left of my sad plant was limp. I added even more water, trimmed more of the dead leaves and after two started standing up again.
Now, on the remainder of my plant there are probably 5 leaves. 2 are healthy, maybe on their way out. I don't know if I cut the stems right. How do I know if my plant is going to grow leaves back? It looks absolutely horrible and I feel like a murderer. It's so pitiful, just a month ago it was a full plant. I'm not sure if there is any saving it now. What do you all think?

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Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
Aug 4, 2017 11:10 PM CST
I wish I could help you. I have no experience with this plant. Since you are patiently waiting to know you are not invisible, I will give you my most similar experience with your problem. I have a plectranthus, or swedish ivy, plain solid green leaves. It was dirt cheap in a small pot, and I thought It would be a nicel small hanging plant in my bathroom.

This little plant and I quickly had a disagreement on watering, as I felt it wanted to be constantly moist, and it felt it wanted to be much dryer. There stems got weak and translucent, falling on their own. There was no rot in roots, so I cut it way back, and watered much much less, and it's fine now. It's a straggly grower, needing a lot of pruning, and without it, longer stems become ugly, and easily drop off. So, as long as the soil does not smell like mold or rot, I would just experiment with changing it's care. I bet it rejuvenates nicely.

I searched out data base to see if anyone else here grows your plant, and it seems no one here does.
Best of luck.
Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Aug 5, 2017 8:21 AM CST
Your Hemigraphis alternate has undergone quite a bit of trauma, so it will require some patience on your part if it is to recover. I think the initial problem was irregular watering as you were trying to determine what it required. Unfortunately, you were given poor advice about repotting and root pruning, which was unnecessary and damaging.

Move your plant to a location where it gets lots of very bright, but mostly indirect sunlight - no more than a couple of hours of direct sun falling on it. A north or east windowsill would be best. The repotting has complicated the watering. My suggestion is that you water it lightly as soon as the surface soil turns light brown and dry. Adjust the amount of water so that it reaches that level of dryness again in about a week.

Don't do anything else to it. Fertilizer, for example, will not help nor will disturbing the roots. It will take quite a while for the damaged roots to recover. Slowly, you should see some healthy new growth. But be patient!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

Apr 5, 2018 8:27 AM CST
hello! i am far from a plant caretaker they all tend to die on me instantly. although ive wanted growing/live plants for a long time . 3 yrs ago i bought my house and for the last 2 years ive successfully grown and kept alive 3 hostas that are planted outside along side my fence. this past winter i decided to try my hand at indoor plants. i currently have one indoor plant- a purple/white waffle plant. i bought it on clearance at my local superstore. i took it home and watered it as it was bone dry. i added 2 jobes houseplant fertilizer sticks and let it sit a few days. that was 3 weeks ago. however i think its dying now. one side of it seems to be completely dying off while the other seems to be fine . its not just dropping a few leaves every now and then but like the whole side is falling off/over dead. it gets light from a window for a few hours usually from 7-9 am and usually sits on my kitchen table most of the rest of the day. its watered once a week with tap water and sprayed every 2 days. i thought it was an over watering problem but it always feels and looks dry. it does have new growth on the "living" side but none on the dead side. any suggestions? should i trim the dead side back? i wouldnt know the 1st thing about repotting and frankly im afraid to do that as i dont want to kill it ( and i very may well do that knowing me). it doesnt show any of signs of a fungus infection/root issue and it doesnt have the bumps ive read about that it would get if it was over watered. is this a complete loss? if this fails is it possible to grow a hosta inside? << yes thats a real question as im clueless. TIA!
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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Apr 5, 2018 9:47 AM CST
I would remove the fertilizer spikes. Does this pot have an attached drain saucer? It so, it should pull off. Removing that will allow excess water to drain properly when watered. You're right about this plant getting very upset if the soil gets dry. There would be no harm in removing any dead leaves or stems, especially if they are blocking the light from other parts of the plant.
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The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
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Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
Apr 5, 2018 10:36 AM CST
I hope you will pick up a few plants to grow indoors that are easy to build your confidence and find you can grow plants as well as anyone. The most important thing to do first is evaluate the windows you have, and buy only plants that thrive in the light you can give them. South is for sun loving plants, east and west for most houseplants. Northern windows can grow low light plants as long as the plants are close to the window, and it's light is not negated by trees or buildings blocking the light. Jade, Dracaena, Asparagus Sprengeri are all inexpensive and easy. Jade, give southern light, Asparagus West or east, and Dracaena, can go close to a northern window, or enjoys West or east facing windows too. You have some of the best teachers to be found right here to help you. Good luck.

Apr 5, 2018 12:45 PM CST
purpleinopp- believe it or not it does have a drain saucer that i had no clue about i always assumed that some plants came with the drip plate and some didnt need it. thanks for this tip. after manhandling the planter a bit it did come off and was dry inside. ill water it in the morning ( as it gets watered on fridays) and start gauging its intake more closely. ive also removed the sticks. hopefully i can keep the rest from dying.

lauriebasler- the tag on this plant says medium light. hence why i only keep it in the window a few hours. ive read up only a little on which direction is best, thanks for keeping it simple for me. the window faces west. mainly i put it there in morning because of the chaos that morning brings and i dont want my L.O. spilling it over during breakfast. i may just have to find others. the outdoor hostas were planted by the previous owners to "curb" appeal my little house that could, mainly because the rest of the house needed alot more work than most were willingly to give it and the hostas were supposed to make an impression. i figured if i could keep them alive and remember not to mow them over i'd be houseplant ready. i cant say i knew anything going into this plant other than it was $2. and it wasnt fuzzy, i cant stand plants that grow fuzz, they always have looked creepy to me.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
Apr 5, 2018 9:11 PM CST
Plants often have little fits if they are moved from one location to another. It's best to find the spot they like and let them live there day in and day out.

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