Ask a Question forum: Ice Plant cutting dying

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Western Australia
Kawaiian17
Apr 11, 2018 2:07 AM CST
How should I save this ice plant (Hardy White variety)? The bottom leaves have died from fertiliser burn about 3 weeks ago. However the stem has become wrinkled and some of the top leaves and new growth are starting to die. It's a cutting that is about 5 weeks old. I used to water twice a week, I am currently watering only once a week.
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Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
Apr 11, 2018 9:33 AM CST
Hi and welcome to NGA!

I'd cut off the top part and stick it in water for a few days to flush the excess fertilizer than root it again with new soil. This may or may not work considering how much cellular damage there is from the fertilizer burn.

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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Apr 11, 2018 9:59 AM CST
Is there an exit (holes) for the water at the bottom of the container? What is the story behind the fertilizer burn? Is there a lot of fertilizer in the soil? Depending on the answers to those questions, you might just leave it where it is and wait for a recovery.

Welcome!
Western Australia
Kawaiian17
Apr 12, 2018 12:59 AM CST
Thank you for the replies. Anne, I may do that if I am sure that all of the damage is caused by the fertiliser burn.

Baja, there are holes at the bottom of the container but they seem to be ineffective because water does not drain. I have made sure the soil is not tightly packed around the holes but water still does not drain.

The fertiliser burn was caused when I poured some almost undiluted Powerfeed into the pot. The leaves that had drops of fertiliser on it died. A few days later, it was watered with dilute Powerfeed, I don't know if this caused any more damage.
It has not been fertilised at all since this happened about 3-4 weeks ago.
The other leaves started to die about 2 weeks ago.

Ingredients of Powerfeed can be seen below:
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Apr 12, 2018 9:21 AM CST
What happens if you water well, wait an hour, and then water well again? Does the water come out then? Sometimes when the soil gets dry and hard you have to give it time to rehydrate before it can properly drain. If your drainage holes do not work, it would be good to figure out why (for the next plant if nothing else) to avoid that in the future.

It sounds like the drainage issue may be a problem in combination with the fertilizer. The high-strength fertilizer that caused the burn is still in the soil and probably not doing the cutting any favors when it tries to root. Basically it could be burning the roots the minute they come out. Any additional fertilizer you have used is also adding to the total. I think your best move may be to take the cutting out of the soil, rinse it well under the tap, and put it in a new pot with new soil. You may choose to cut the dead-looking stem from the bottom, just give it a couple of days to heal in a bright, dry place with good air flow before you pot it up again.

Next time around I would recommend holding off on the fertilizer until a cutting is well rooted. It's not going to be helpful until that point. New soil is generally plenty rich in nutrients, at least enough to give a cutting a running start, well before fertilizer is necessary.

It would be wonderful if you could follow up with pictures when your cutting eventually takes root. Ice plants like yours are generally pretty tough and they should root relatively fast (within weeks) under the right conditions.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Apr 12, 2018 1:20 PM (+)]
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Western Australia
Kawaiian17
Apr 12, 2018 5:34 PM CST
Thank you Baja, I will take your suggestion.
Western Australia
Kawaiian17
Apr 13, 2018 4:48 AM CST
Quick question. I've repotted, how often should I water?
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
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Baja_Costero
Apr 13, 2018 9:21 AM CST
Depends on the pot and the mix and the environmental conditions. Water well when the soil is dry at depth. Maybe water every 1-2 weeks until you see new growth.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Apr 13, 2018 9:41 AM (+)]
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