Ask a Question forum: Why is it unhappy?

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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Astrid6987
Jan 6, 2018 7:43 PM CST
It has water and indirect sun but the lower leaves are wilting - what am I doing wrong?

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Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
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Australis
Jan 6, 2018 7:51 PM CST

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Welcome! to the site!

May I ask how often you are watering it?
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Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Jan 6, 2018 9:10 PM CST
It may need watering more often if the soil is drying out quickly.
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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Astrid6987
Jan 6, 2018 9:22 PM CST
My watering is sporadic, probably about twice a week at the moment though previously less. I'm watering it more and it seems to be getting worse though, so I am worried it's being overwatered.

It is summer here now though so quite warm somedays.

I've just moved it - it was previously in line with the air-conditioner airstream, so I wonder if the 'breeze' was not helping it...
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Jan 6, 2018 9:28 PM CST
Air conditioning blasts and heat blasts can dry out a plant rather quickly so that was a good idea to move it away from the airstream.
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jan 7, 2018 10:21 AM CST
It is the norm for nurseries to plant several Corn Plant canes in a single pot so that there is tiered foliage and a fuller plant. However, it is not uncommon for the shorter canes to have weak root systems that do not tolerate watering lapses of any kind. In addition, the shorter canes are often shaded by the tall canes, further weakening them.

I see you have already lost the two shortest canes. You may also lose the one that has now started to wilt. The cause and remedy in each situation is one I have struggled with many times and there is no single good explanation or remedy. One thing I do NOT recommend is separating the individual plants. There is no disease involved and nothing that is contagious.

I have observed, that sometimes the soil around a weaker cane gets dried out more than around others. When that happens, that very dry soil gets hard and water repellent. Poke your fingers in along the canes and break up any hard dry clumps of potting mix so they will accept water when it is added.

Try to keep the soil slightly damp by watering a small amount weekly. Unfortunately, the symptoms of over and under watering are nearly identical so you will have to rely on your own tactile sense to keep the soil properly damp.

Sorry for the lengthy explanation, but this is not a simple problem with an easy remedy.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Astrid6987
Jan 7, 2018 3:51 PM CST
Great answers and make perfect sense, thankyou!

I suspect I was underwatering, so I'll try to keep it consistent and see if the smaller one can recover now, also away from the aircon in a new location that gets probably even more light - though still not direct sun - is that better?

Thanks so much for your help!

Astrid
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jan 7, 2018 4:16 PM CST
I notice that there is a pot within a pot. Have you lifted the inner pot to see if water has accumulated in the larger pot? Maybe the plant has wet feet.
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jan 7, 2018 5:17 PM CST
Yes, the AC is not a problem, but lots of mostly bright but indirect light is best.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Astrid6987
Jan 7, 2018 5:41 PM CST
The lower pot has a hole and a tray underneath so the water flows right through.. usually if I give it a lot of water the tray overflows onto the floor :-/

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