Unknown Plant Disease, Please Help Diagnose

KreegDaddyFebruary 4, 2014

Does any one know what causes these dead spots and stripes to appear on my plant leaves? It's happening on my Golden Pothos too. I dont over feed and I ph the water to around 6.0 when I water, they are indoors so the temp stays pretty consistent. Could an ultra dry climate do it? I live in south west Colorado and it stays pretty dry here.

Any advice is appreciated.


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

It's not a disease - mechanical injury most likely, for the most part; but the burned leaf tips (and leaf margins if any have necrotic areas) are a cultural thing related to some slightly unhappy roots and probably low humidity.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 7:52AM
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Thank you for your reply AL. Do you have any suggestions on how to enhance root health?

For humidity, i will look to get a humidifier this weekend.

Thanks again...


    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 12:10PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

That is the shortest responds I have ever seen tapla make:-)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 12:29PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Root health depends on several things, but the most important of those factors involves a triangle that can work for you or against you. Soils based on fine particles don't hold enough air at container capacity. Container capacity is the state of water retention in the soil after the soil has been completely saturated and has just stopped draining. Soggy soil kills fine roots. When air returns to the roots, the plant spends energy it shouldn't have to spend to regenerate new roots - so a cycle of death and regeneration develops that's extremely costly to the plant in terms of reserve energy. During the soggy period, roots can't effectively take up water and the nutrients they need, which are dissolved in water. Poor root function often leaves the plant unable to keep distal parts, like leaf tips and margins hydrated, so leaves often develop necrotic areas that spoil the plant's appearance.

The 3 sides of that triangle I mentioned are your choice of soil, your watering habits, and your nutritional supplementation regimen. All 3 of these important considerations are firmly linked to the each other and affect the others. If you can get them right, your job suddenly becomes much easier and the rewards for your efforts greater. Your margin for error becomes significantly more forgiving as well.

You should be growing in a soil that allows you to water at any time of the year, such that the entire soil mass is completely saturated and at least 15-20% of the total volume of water you used to irrigate passes out of the pot through the drain after complete saturation. Get to that point, and the rest is as easy as choosing and using an appropriate fertilizer regularly.

Almost all of the problems (health, appearance, insects, disease) described in this forum are related to poor root health. A plants best protection against disease and insects is a robust metabolism, and the metabolism of a high % of plants are suppressed by poor root health.

As below,
So above -
Healthy roots
Are what we love

If the link I'll leave below makes sense, I'll link you to another thread that goes into detail about container soils and water retention. Gaining an understanding of the information in that thread probably represents the largest individual step forward a container gardener can make. Without question, it transformed my growing experience.


Here is a link that might be useful: This one first

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 4:06PM
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Al, Thank you. I read your write up you linked above and learned many new facts about container growing as you have provided a wealth of knowledge.

Considering the triange you mention, I believe you are correct when you write about root health ( Im not insinuating that the many other important details mentioned are incorrect). When I water it seems to drain out quickly, so I naturally thought I had well drained water and the idea of suffocating roots was immediately disregarded. In fact the soil I am using is comprised of very small particles and it does stay wet for quite a while ( maybe a week or more).
The plan is to repot these plants and use a courser media as suggested in your overview. I also now see the correlation between hydroponic gardening and container gardening. Its all the same, its just meeting the needs of each side of the triangle. I am a one year hydroponic gardening green horn and use expanded clay pebbles. Until now it never occuured to me that one could put a house plant in expanded clay and feed the same synthetic nutrients as long as all sides of the triangle are accomodated. It is the combination of the nutrient solution, oxygen for the roots and light that makes it all happen. I see new experiments on the horizon.
At any rate, I plan to reference your overview in the future as I have found it extremely informational.

Thanks again,


    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 9:38PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If you continue to grow in soil, you might find the link below very helpful in putting together a triangle you can depend on for anything you're likely to grow in a container.

Best luck


Here is a link that might be useful: More about soils

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 9:55PM
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