Devils Ivy Fading Fast

BuiltsWAMarch 2, 2012

I have a Devils Ivy in my office that has been with our company for 12 years. Its my job to look after it...I swear I did everything everyone else has done for 12 years. :(

Now its dying...just one day started to get yellow leaves and be droopy and now the yellow is turning brown.

I have repotted...thinking it had been in the same pot for as long as anyone remembers so it was about due and now its even worse.

Its a self watering pot with no excess water in the bottom. The soil is damp, not wet. It has natural light but not direct light. The soil is specifically for indoor plant varieties.

I am in Australia and we have had some 42 degrees celsius (about 108F) days here, but being indoors he was kept between 25 and 30 degrees celsius(high 70's fahrenheit). The plant has survived worse believe me.

What is wrong with it and What can I do to save my plant?

Any suggestion would be welcomed.


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Hard to say what might be wrong. Someone dump a little soda or other unfriendly liquid in the pot? If you fertilized recently (or even if you didn't) it could easily be that a high level of soluble salts in the soil has finally caught up with you (due to the SWC). The other looming issue is always the possibility of over-watering, which wold likely be compounded by the recent increase in pot size.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 7:48AM
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Jessica. 12-years in the same soil is too long. Since soil depletes, has anyone topped w/fresh soil? Fertilized?

Perhaps it's time to repot in fresh soil/medium?

Soil gets old, loses nutrients. One advantage of fertilizer.

Even if it's been fertilized, you should remove this Pothos from its pot, check and remove dead roots, then add new soil/mix. It might be root-bound, may need a larger container.

I myself don't care for self-watering pots, (soil stays wet too long) but some people swear by them, claiming they're one of the best inventions since

Take cuttings, and root. After rooting, cuttings can be placed w/mom or in other container/s.

Happen to have a pic? Toni

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 2:14PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

Low 40's wouldn't hurt that plant anyways as long as it doesn't dry out. Upper 20's is ok but it'll grow slower. Try starting a couple of cuttings off of it just in case.

Sounds like either your soil has fizzled out or it was over watered, or possibly as Al said someone dumped something in the pot not knowing it would hurt the plant.

If you could post a photo of it that would help a lot too.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 7:36PM
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Hi Jessica,

The one thing that you did that your predecessors did not was to repot. Unnecessary repotting is the single most common cause of plant failure. Plants use nutrients n minuscule quantities and even less in low light. The notion that potting soil needs replacing or replenishing is a popular myth that almost always leads to root rot.

The self-watering planter has aggravated problem by not allowing the excess soil to dry out properly.

If you take your Pothos out of its pot, I am sure you will find a soggy mass of rots and soil.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 8:02PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The low 40s may not kill the plant outright, but it sure won't do it any favors. Low temperatures inhibit the plant's ability to carry on photosynthesis, and the plant will be very slow to return to normal synthesizing ability, which means the plant will be forced to use energy reserves it wouldn't have to use if it had been kept warm. Additionally, most soluble fertilizers for houseplants derive their N from urea. Soil temperatures below 55* + urea fertilizers = much greater possibility of ammonium toxicity.

Jessica was right to repot, though if she repotted recently her timing could have been better. Unnecessary repotting is just that, unnecessary. It doesn't present any particular risk to the plant unless you're using an inappropriately water-retentive soil, AND you pot the plant in a pot so large the soil remains wet for extended periods after watering. Regular repotting is essential if your goal is to restore the opportunity for plants to grow to their genetic potential (within the limits of other limiting factors), and is much preferred to simply potting up. If repotting leads to root rot, it's because the soil choice was inappropriate.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 9:38PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

Al, Those temps were in Celsius, Australia is on the metric system. 40's is hot, real hot!

Jessica, You can also just get rid of the soil and grow it in passive hydroponics, basically just water and an inert growing medium that only serves to support the plant and wick moisture and nutrients to the roots. It is very easy.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 12:12AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I'm very sorry. While the information is applicable to the plant, it's surely not germane to this conversation. I messed up, and beg a pardon for not reading more closely, and for thinking you were suggesting that the "cold" temps were quite ok.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 7:49AM
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The best thing you can do is take cuttings to make sure you don't lose the whole plant.

Find a piece of the vine that has at least one brown "nub" on the bottom of the vine (preferably more, since that's where the new roots will come from). Cut it off and put it in a glass of water. Put it in a window with bright light but not direct light. In a few weeks new roots will form. Pothos can survive in plain water for quite a long time, so I'd do this to try to save some of the plant while waiting to see if the potted one will survive. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 11:53AM
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