Ask a Question forum: Help Me Be A Better Plant Dad

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Texas
J_Bowen
Aug 20, 2017 9:38 AM CST
So, I'm a neophyte to the houseplant world and it turns out I'm a terrible plant dad. This is my first apartment and I love having flora about the place but need help with proper care. Bear with me, because I need help with 4 different species...

1) Majesty palm. I bought Drew from Walmart. He was roughly 5.5 ft. tall and very lush. Since then, he has lost upwards of 70% of his fronds. I had to remove several because they turned completely orange and dried up. He's down to one fully developed branch and two new shoots now. The fully developed branch bent in half from its weight, so it's being propped up currently, but is beginning to sport browning fronds. I also noticed that even the base of the shoots, as they attach to the trunk, are turning brown. I think I was over-watering him to begin with and the soil didn't have proper drainage. I repotted him with a different potting soil as well as palm food and have cut back his watering but he doesn't seem to be responding. I think he's on his way out but would love to save him if possible.

2) Cat Palm. I bought Donna from a great green house near my apartment. She's roughly 6 ft. tall and 4 feet wide. Still fairly health, next to my west-facing window. However, the majority of the fronds on one of the branches are turning yellow, starting from the tip. I wasn't sure if I should be concerned with that. I haven't had the money/time to get a legitimate pot for Donna, so she's still in her little plastic container but it has great drainage.

3) Yucca Cane. Dorris was a house-warming gift, picked out at the same aforementioned greenhouse. She was a very resilient plant, hardly needed any water. I left her out on my balcony (I live in Texas) and watered her every 8-10 days. Lately, however, the leaves have curled inward, many are drooping, and several have large white spots. I keep reading different things on what those symptoms indicate.

4) English Ivy. Dre has lost the majority of his leaves closest to the soil and the leaves that still exists are showing signs of browning. I was under the impression that english ivies like low lighting and damp soil, but that doesn't seem to be making Dre very happy.

I have another plant, an aglaonema named Dorothy, who is the only happy one of the bunch. I desperately want to be a good plant dad but can't seem to help these things flourish. I would appreciate any advice you all can give! I can provide photos if needed.
[Last edited by J_Bowen - Aug 20, 2017 9:48 AM (+)]
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Aug 20, 2017 12:03 PM CST
J - were any of these plants IN the greenhouse when you bought them? Maybe the transition for some to outdoor sunlight a bit rough? Indoor low light (much lower) is very different from outdoor low light for your ivy. Maybe a bit more sunlight. Are you feeding any of these plants? If so, what are you using.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Aug 20, 2017 5:23 PM CST
You have too many plants to give you detailed info on each of them in this forum. Here are some highlights.

1. Majesty Palms never do well indoors for more than about a year. They require a lot of water and nutrients and good air circulation. They are also very mite prone. This plant will never be more than a disappointment. Return it if you can.

2.Cat Palms (if that's what it is) do not like direct sun; only bright indirect sun. A north window would be a better option. There is no reason to repot it. Keep the soil slightly damp at all times. Watch for spider mites.

3. Your Yucca cane was not intended for use outside except in shade. Locate it indoors in front of a sunny window. Outside sun is too intense and too hot.

4. Hedera Ivies are NOT low light plants. They need very bright indirect sun and a few hours of direct sun. Close to a north or east window is best. The roots are sensitive to repotting and inconsistent watering. When properly potted in their nursery pots, allow the top half-inch of soil to dry before watering. When they struggle, they lose leaves from the bottom up. It too is prone to spider mites.

Fertilizer is not medicine nor is it intended for plants that are not healthy and growing vigorously.

Hope this helps get you on track.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Texas
J_Bowen
Aug 20, 2017 8:53 PM CST
WillC: Very informative, thank you. Yes, too many plants for in-depth discussions of each. Good to know about the yucca and the ivy; I brought the yucca in yesterday and it already seems happier. I'll have to find the ivy a better spot. It gets decent ambient light but nothing direct. Unless there were a mix-up with name tags, I believe it is indeed a cat palm. It seems to be doing okay thus far, I just wanted to make sure. I'll keep trying to coax the majesty palm but by the sound of it it's a lost cause either way.

Shadegardener: The yucca and the ivy were inside when I bought them, yes. As you say, the transition into full sunlight for the yucca was too much. Perhaps the ivy got more light in the greenhouse than its current location. I'm only feeding the majesty palm with palm food (don't have the specifics in front of me at the moment). I picked it up as a possible option for resuscitating the majesty palm, Drew.

Thank you both for your input. Hopefully I will be able to save the ivy and the yucca. Not holding my breath on the majesty, however.

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