Houseplants forum: Dying cinnamon tree

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kasiaw99
Jan 30, 2018 7:39 PM CST
Hello!

I bought a beautiful cinnamon tree a few weeks ago, and unfortunately it is slowly dying. I have a few questions and would be grateful for any insights/tips you might have.

1) Can the tree still be revived? If so, what should I do?
- I have attached photos of the tree as it looks now
- The leaves on the tree have not yet fallen (with the exception of one), but are browning and drooping

2) What could have gone wrong?
- I kept the tree at room temperature (18-23 degrees C)
- I watered the tree twice after noticing that the top layer of the soil was dry. I was instructed to water ever 1-2 weeks.
- Last night I spritzed the leaves with water at the suggestion of the woman who was running the plant shop where I bought the tree. She suggested doing so every 3 days
- I've kept the tree by a window facing northwest. I live in the PNW, where days are rather short and the sun is often behind clouds

Thank you very much in advance for your help! Crossing Fingers! Confused Thank You!

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Jan 30, 2018 8:09 PM CST
Yes, it can probably be perked up. I can't see the pot in the photos so it is hard to say what the watering should be. However, my educated guess is that you are underwatering.

If it is potted correctly, it should be watered thoroughly as soon as the surface of the soil feels almost dry. Misting is not a substitute for watering and really doesn't do very much. Provide as much indoor light as possible.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

kasiaw99
Feb 1, 2018 8:08 PM CST
Hi Will,
Thank you very much for your help!
I was told that the roots of the tree rot easily because of overwatering.
I've attached photos of the soil and bits of the roots. Thank you!
Kate
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Feb 1, 2018 8:42 PM CST
Thanks for the photos, Kate.

"I was told that the roots of the tree rot easily because of overwatering." That advice could be applied to virtually any plant. The problem is that everyone has a different idea as to what "overwatering" means. I suspect that in your case you may have overreacted a bit and not watered quite enough.

It looks like some of the soil has started to pull away from the inside of the pot. If so, that is a good indication that the soil has gotten too dry.

First, pull up the inner pot to make sure that it is not sitting in water at the bottom of the outer pot. If there is no water there, then water the tree thoroughly as soon as the top inch of soil feels dry. Add enough water so that a small amount trickles through the drain hole of the inner pot. It should absorb a fair amount of water. If it doesn't, it may be because the soil is so dry the water runs straight through without being absorbed. If that is the case, then let the inner pot sit in an inch or two of water for a couple of hours to re-wet the soil.

Once the soil has been rewetted and is thoroughly saturated, then don't water again until the top inch of soil is dry. After each watering, make sure that only a small amount of water has trickled through the drain holes. Letting the inner pot sit in water for more than overnight would be considered overwatering. Likewise watering it before the top inch of soil gets dry would also be overwatering.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

kasiaw99
Feb 2, 2018 3:50 PM CST
Thank you very much for the information Will! The guidelines and tips on what to look out for were easy to follow!
I gave it a generous (but not too generous) water last night. I think it even looked a bit perkier this morning (is that possible?)

Since the tree is so dried out, is it likely that the soil will dry faster than it would otherwise?

One more question - should all of the roots be under soil, or can a few bit be sticking out?

Thanks again :)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Feb 2, 2018 6:18 PM CST
If your tree was very dry, then you can expect some small but immediate perking up. The tree may use a bit more water initially, but once it has been well hydrated it should use a consistent amount of water, The dryness of the soil is your best guide as to when to water.

Some surface root exposure is normal and does not require adding any soil or repotting.

Thumbs up
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

kasiaw99
Feb 3, 2018 1:18 PM CST
The tree now definitely has perked up :)

As I was looking more closely I noticed that some of the leaves looked like they had been 'eaten up' a bit. Also, the top leaves had strange spots on the bottom-side of the leaves.
Is this all normal?
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Feb 4, 2018 1:41 PM CST
What you are seeing are symptoms caused by the excessive dryness that your tree experienced. That includes the rough leaf edges and brown patches. It is also behind what appears to be scale insects that you are seeing on the undersides of the new leaves. Insect pests thrive on plants that are under stress for reasons such as improper light or watering.

Unfortunately, it will not be easy for you to treat the scale insects because your tree is large a has a lot of leaves. To be effective, you have to spray all leaf and stem surfaces with a solution of 5 parts water and 1 part of alcohol and a squirt of liquid dish soap. This is a very messy task because it means all the leaves will be dripping wet. If you are in a warm climate, best to do it outside. Indoors you will have to protect the floor and surrounding furnishings.

If you are not eager to take this on, you might consider just wiping away the visibly raised bumps that are the mealybugs. If you are lucky, you may have caught the infestation early enough that wiping or spot spraying will be sufficient. But don't count on it and be watchful for new ones that may emerge.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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