Ask a Question forum: Mysterious Aglaonema problems. Help please?

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KariContrary
Nov 20, 2018 5:26 PM CST
Help me fellow plant lovers! I got Molly, a red Aglaonema, a few months ago. She lost a few leaves after repotting, which was expected, but this is different. This is the third leaf that has melted like this. I've been watching her like a hawk because it happens so fast. I thought maybe it's leaf blight but those pictures look different than this. Someone else suggested anthracnose, but that didn't look like this either. Nor did I notice any bad odors, but then I didn't actively sniff the leaf.
Any ideas of what this could be? Or what I should do? The offending leaves start with a soggy wet spot that rapidly spreads across the leaf. She's steadily growing like a champ otherwise.
Ps. Anyone else name their plants? Molly got her name because she's Pretty in Pink. 💕
Pss. She's been quarantined.

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Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Nov 20, 2018 7:40 PM CST
I don't know the answer. But I have a different red Ag, looks like Dud Unyamanee with persistent and similar symptoms. I've had it for at least 3-4 years and it is so prone to odd yellowing leaves and bad spots, which I have not had on green Ags or on the Siam Red looking red one I have. I keep propagating the Dud and the symptoms keep reappearing.It lives and grows but never seems fully healthy no matter the pot or situation. So I wonder if some are weak.
Hope someone has an idea and that my comments are not too distracting. Yours' looks something like Georgi's or Two Tone here
http://www.costafarms.com/plan...
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
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KariContrary
Nov 20, 2018 8:14 PM CST
I'm sure it's a red emerald. It's growing much faster than its dying, for now. I hope to find a solution before it gets worse.
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Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
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Gina1960
Nov 21, 2018 6:46 AM CST
This may or may not provoke controversy, but, it is what it is. Many (not all) of the plants that are sold at garden centers now are produced not the way you or I would produce them....by collecting seed from them and planting said seed, or taking a cutting and rooting a new plant, or by dividing a plant into more than one.

They are produced by tissue culture. Kind of like cloned if you will for lack of a better way of thinking about it. This is a process where small parts of the plant are actually grown in a medium like an agar medium and then transferred into small 'plugs' of soil. You can take one plant and chop it up and culture it and get many many plants. Growers like the one at the link you posted can then purchase flats of the same plant, I think the minimum purchase used to be 72 plugs of a plant no mixing no matching, which they grow up to whatever size they want before selling. Its a shortcut propagation method for these huge commercial enterprises.

I am sure that TC has gotten better over the last 10-15 years. But sometimes I think there are problems still. Not all plants can be TC'd. Some just don't cooperate, for whatever reason. Some do very well, and their progeny are stable and strong and reliable. Others have problems.

TC was looked upon at one time as a 'saving grace' for some plants that were rare and becoming endangered. Those guys who used to actually go out into the jungles like Julian Boos and other real adventurers and collect unknown species and bring them back were able to get some small numbers of new plants into TC and introduce them into the plant trade markets.

But now its become a money making staple for large commercial growers. About 12-13 years ago a plant was discovered in Thailand that was an instant success overnight. It was in the Musa family, I am not going to say more about it than that. But it was gorgeous and all of a sudden everyone wanted one. Someone brought one back and put it into tissue culture and soon there was enough for everyone to get one of they wanted one. But problems arose with some of these plants, weak growers, prone to disease, failure to thrive. The plant is still sold, but its not as popular as it was because it gained a reputation for being hard weak. Not everyone had problems with it, but a lot of people did.

Some of the most often TC'd plants are alocasias and colorful foliage plants.

I am not saying that is what is wrong with your plants. But it makes me wonder.
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
Nov 21, 2018 7:57 AM CST
KariC- that is gorgeous, despite its problems. the pot size looks great. It is directly in the ceramic? Watch those for proper drainage- my plants don't seem to like them because on some the drainage clogs easily. I prefer to find a nicely fitting cheap nursery pot that goes inside ceramics.
But not saying you should repot. Just pay attention to the water and give it decent light. Anything more than a couple feet from a window is very low light and plants may not be able to sustain all their leaves. Maybe it is a simple as that- not enough light.

Gina, I've suspected based on my problem Ag that some strains just aren't as hardy. Mine was bought at least 4 years ago and I really don't know the cultivar. But it persists in being problem-prone after a number of cuttings, repottings, and different seasons and sites.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
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KariContrary
Nov 21, 2018 10:50 AM CST
Gina, I had no idea about the tissue culture thing. That is very interesting, especially considering I got this baby from Lowe's. You've peaked my interest, I'll have to read more about the subject.
Sallyg, it is in a ceramic pot. I'll keep an eye on the drainage holes. I've got it on a makeshift hydro mat right now and it seems to like that a lot. It's living in my south facing living room, away from the window, but it gets direct evening light. I was wondering if it's getting too much light?
Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
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Gina1960
Nov 21, 2018 1:38 PM CST
Its just a thought....tissue culture of plants is sort of like factory farming of animals for food. Its a way to mass produce. In every herd/batch of plants, there will be strong specimens and weak specimens. There is also always a chance (although they say it is low) of contamination of the TC, and of problems with a batch post-production. This is what I think happened with the particular banana several years ago....many people who bought this particular plant from the same vendor had the same problems with it over a wide range of growing conditions.
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Name: Karen
New Mexico (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Nov 21, 2018 1:45 PM CST
Here are a few diseases known to this plant.
https://extension.psu.edu/agla...
I was wondering if it could be virus. I have cannas I bought with a virus that makes it look very much like your plant.
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Butterflies Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland
Composter Region: Mid-Atlantic Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Dog Lover
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sallyg
Nov 21, 2018 2:26 PM CST
A virus or disease is possible. Explains why my plant continues to be sick after dividing etc.

Almost positive that is not too much light. I have a south facing window and have things growing on a table right there.

Amending my previous comments: My sick Ag, I did some cutting this summer. I do have a healthy looking one Crossing Fingers! and a mixed pot with a piece of it Crossing Fingers! and then a sick one. Today I took the sick one out of its pot. The roots are very fleshy, almost like Phalaenopsis roots. My new theory is I have not respected the aeration needs of these roots. I repotted into fine chip bark and moved it to my lighted plant shelf. We'll see. But it will be weeks+ before I can say this helped.

So I would say, more light and very careful with watering.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
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KariContrary
Nov 21, 2018 2:29 PM CST
I think you're probably right about it being issues from tissue culture. I've read as much as I could find about bacteria/ diseases etc and it just doesn't quite fit anything I find. Or maybe it is a virus I just can't pinpoint.
Poor Molly, she's just so beautiful. Until I can figure it out I'll just have to keep it separated and take good care.
For update, I caught another one forming today. It's only been a few days since the last one. It was from a different stalk than the previous, so the whole plant is effected. The top leaf pictured is a lower leaf that has been turning for a couple weeks I cut for comparison. As you can see the lower leaf has a soggy spot forming just since yesterday it was fine. Could root rot cause spots like this?
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Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropical plant collector 35 years
Region: Florida Tropicals Aroids
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Gina1960
Nov 21, 2018 8:16 PM CST
If you have access to it, try spraying it with Physan20. They used to sell it at Home Depot and Lowes. I am not sure if they still do. They might have it at a good independent nursery as well. It is a bacteriocide and virucide. It is used for bacterial and viral diseases on orchids and other plants, and also can be used (at a higher strength) as an algaecide on hard surfaces. The dilution to use on most plants (including orchids) is 1-2 tsp/gallon. It is also used in propagation as a dip to prevent damping off of seedlings.

It cures botyritis and crown rot in orchids, so I would trust it on other plants...I use it to stop algal and mold growth on broadleaf tropicals in my greenhouse and as a greenhouse disinfectant.
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KariContrary
Nov 22, 2018 1:47 AM CST
Thank you Gina I'll try that!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Nov 23, 2018 9:09 AM CST
Overall your Aglaonema looks healthy. The loss of some older, lower leaves is normal as the plant adjusts to a new environment. Repotting certainly adds to the stress. As long as the new growth that emerges remains symptom-free, I don't think you have a problem. The symptoms you see are generic and not likely to be caused by any disease. Diseases and viruses can only be properly identified in a lab.

The location of your plant seems to be fine. The red Aglos need more light than the green varieties. You have it tightly potted so the risk of overwatering is minimal. Water it thoroughly as soon as the surface of the soil is dry. Trim off older leaves as soon as they start to discolor. Don't do anything drastic because you suspect a disease.

I don't think that tissue culture is so much of an issue as hybridizing. Hybrids are often cultivated because of the desirability of specific characteristics, such as flower production, leaf color, size, etc. However, the promotion of one characteristic often comes at the expense of others. Hence hybrids can often be weaker overall and susceptible to a variety of problems. That said, I don't think that is a problem here.
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Horticultural Help, NYC
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