Yellow veining?

lexie1397February 4, 2014

I have a plant that has been yellowing, starting in the veins then working out. Bottom leaves are being affected first and moving up the plant. It went through a bit of a dry spell right after Christmas, then got over-watered when my mother in law was visiting last week (such a help!). I have only had it for a couple months, never fertilized. The water here is extremely hard, not sure if that would affect it. None of my other plants seem to be having the same problem, but they're all pretty durable. I think this one might be a bit more sensitive.

Any thoughts on the cause, and especially on solutions??

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Lexie, do you know the name of your plant?

Most likely, 'not definitely,' it's a nutrient deficiency. Could be iron or magnesium. A pic would help.

Never allow friend or relative to care for plants. :)


    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 5:21PM
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lexie1397, hopefulauthor may be right. Here is a Link which I have found helpful.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 6:35PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Lexie, when did you last fertilize the plant?


    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 7:27PM
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Attempting to upload the photo I took earlier today...
I have always known these as umbrella plants but not sure of the scientific name

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 7:30PM
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It has not been fertilized since I bought it but its possible the soil I used to repot had those ubiqitous little green pellets

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 7:32PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

If you are sure that it hasn't been overwatered, then I'm fairly confident saying that it needs to be fertilized. The leaves lowest on the plant are yellowing, which is a classic symptom of depleted nutrients - Nitrogen being the nutrient that plants use most.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 9:02PM
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Josh, as mentioned in the original post, it WAS over-watered recently. I am still letting it dry out to normal.

I will say that the problem existed prior to the excess water but seemed to happen much faster since

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 9:23PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Plants have no intelligence, but they're pretty good at using chemical messengers to identify parts that are net USERS of energy, instead of producers. When some plant parts are using more energy to maintain viability than they are producing, they are shed. It's not uncommon for smaller leaves low on the plant to be shed when they are shaded by larger leaves above them - happens all the time. In the process of being shed, the plant will cannibalize any nutrients and biocompounds that might be in the leaf as a part of the process, which causes the yellowing. Your plant has been growing under low light conditions for some time, so the short days in Dec and Jan would significantly contribute to the effects of the shading of lower leaves.

I think what I just described is the primary cause of what you're seeing, but nutritional deficiencies could also either singularly cause the symptoms seen, or contribute to them. If any of the nutrients that are mobile in the plant are deficient in the soil solution, the plant will steal those nutrients from older or weaker growth and move them to growing points (meristematic regions) where they are used to provide the building blocks used for new growth.

If it was my plant, I would flush the soil thoroughly and repeatedly to rid it of anything that has accumulated in the soil in excess. I would fertilize with an appropriate synthetic fertilizer immediately after the flushing or the first time the plant needs watering after fertilizing. I would put the plant in a warm spot in bright light, and learn how to manage watering. None of what I suggested is difficult, and if you need specific instructions, I'll help - your call.

Next summer, I would repot (different than potting up) and get the plant into a soil that allows you to water correctly at will w/o having to be concerned about root rot or suppressed root function.

I'll also leave a link to a thread you might find useful.


Here is a link that might be useful: An overview

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 9:34PM
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Thanks Al.

Is it safe to flush with the same tap water I have been using to water or do I need to buy filtered water?

Under normal circumstances I tend to chronically under-water. Its my assumption that the only plants that do well for me are the ones that can adapt to it. Even though I tried to water more frequently the couple weeks leading up to our holiday travels, everything was pretty parched when I returned. I am sure they were already stressed when they got the sudden soak since they hadnt completely bounced back yet.

Looking at it through the camera lense, it does loom rather dark right there despite the plant almost touching the window. Will have to try to stabilize it and find a brighter spot to live

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 9:49PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

This is just my opinion:

- Too much water - still seeing the effects.
- I would not throw more water at it.
- Do not fertilize until your growing season starts (March? April? May? Not sure where you are located.)
- More heat and light - if you have it. If you are like me, you are already providing your plants what you can.
- Put it outside as soon as the threat of frost and freeze has passed. Tropicals do much better outdoors.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 10:07PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Just to be clear, if the level of dissolved solids (salt) in the soil or soil solution is too high, or the ratio of nutrients in the soil badly skewed, the only way to correct is to repot (change the soil) or to flush the soil. Now's a bad time to repot, so flushing the soil is a very good idea. Think of flushing the soil like pressing the fertilizer 'reset' button. It washes out your fertilizer problems and allows you to restart with a clean slate.

Many growers THINK it's a poor idea to fertilize in the winter. The fact is, plants need nutrients in the winter, just as much as in the summer, just not in the same volume; and the advice you read regularly suggesting you shouldn't fertilize is based on something someone heard somewhere, and that advice was based on several assumptions. The grower should be invested in making sure the plant gets proper nutrition all year long.

If the grower doesn't understand HOW to manage nutrition, it might be better in many cases if there were no fertilizer given. Still, that's a guaranteed limiting strategy and the lesser of 2 evils. Managing fertility isn't too difficult when using poor soils, and monkey easy when using good soils, so every grower that is interested in getting the most from their plants should know how to deal with winter fertilizing, a regular part of which is regular flushing of the soil and restocking the nutrient supply in the right ratio.

Also, I wouldn't put houseplants outdoors until nights are reliably above 55*. Nighttime chill inhibits the ability of most plants to efficiently carry on photosynthesis long after temps return to more favorable levels. Moving them in and out is fine, as temps allow, but leaving them out in the cold (32-55*) isn't a good strategy.

Time to get to work - already late.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 8:12AM
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Lexie,, You asked the name of your plant. I didn't see a reply. I apologize, 'to the poster,' if the question was answered.

Your plant is Schefflera arboricola, common name, Australian Umbrella Tree...Dwarf Umbrella Tree.

After reading the Subject, Yellow veining, I expected to see a plant with deep yellow veins and blotched green leaves.

The plant you're asking about is Schefflera, right?
If so, your plant looks nothing like I imagined.

Pluck lower yellow leaves, and wait. You've only had it a couple months and it was over-watered. Wait, water properly. With the right care your Scheff will do well.

Purchase a fertilizer with additional nutrients. Toni

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 12:03PM
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