Smelly plant

rose2617April 23, 2007

Just purchased a 5ft dieffenbachia plant. Roots looked good when I repotted it using Scotts potting mix. The plant smells-really bad. Is stinking up my room. I have never had this happen before. Any ideas as to why it smells?

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mr_subjunctive

What does it smell *like*? Sour? Rotten-egg? Musty?

How long ago did you repot it?

The most likely explanation is that it's either 1) in a pot that's too big for it, or 2) in soil that's too heavy for it. In either case, you'd need to try again, with either a smaller pot or lighter soil (e.g. the soil you used, cut with a good amount of perlite).

There's an outside possibility that there's something wrong with the soil you used, like maybe it got overly wet at some point in transport and became unsterile, though that'd be easy enough to find out -- just go smell the soil left in the bag.

If the plant smelled bad *before* the repotting, then I'm not sure what to tell you.

I mean, odds are, it's a soil problem, because Dieffenbachias don't have odors normally. Even the flowers. So if it's not the plant, and it's not the pot (it's not the pot, right?), then it's something in the soil.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 11:13AM
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elfinn

What does it smell like? Rotten? Moldy? Another question...do you have a cat?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 11:14AM
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rose2617

Thanks for the responses. I got the dieffenbachia over the weekend along with 2 other plants. Potted up all 3 using the same potting mix. Only the dieff started smelling after a day. It smells musty/moldy and kind of rotten. I potted them into newly purchased pots. I did not notice a smell when I went to pot them. I just did a smell test with the other 2 plants and they are fine. I do not have any pets. This has me stumped. It is a really nice looking plant.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 12:35PM
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rose2617

Thanks for the responses. I got the dieffenbachia over the weekend along with 2 other plants. Potted up all 3 using the same potting mix. Only the dieff started smelling after a day. It smells musty/moldy and kind of rotten. I potted them into newly purchased pots. I did not notice a smell when I went to pot them. I just did a smell test with the other 2 plants and they are fine. I do not have any pets. This has me stumped. It is a really nice looking plant.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 1:43PM
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mr_subjunctive

Okay, hmmm. Does the new pot for the Dieff. have adequate drainage? If the plant is sitting in water, even healthy roots could be rotting.

It could also maybe be that some of the roots got damaged in the course of the repotting, but it'd have to be an awful lot of roots to make it smell that bad that fast.

I'm kinda stumped too, but if it were my plant, I think I'd take it out and try again. Use as small a pot as you can get it in, preferably clay (if you really want to use the pot you had it in before, you can always stick the smaller one down inside the bigger one): clay will dry out faster, and it'll keep the plant from being as top-heavy. Use your best judgment about whether to lighten the mix further or not -- most potting soils are too heavy straight out of the bag, though I don't know about Scott's specifically. If you do decide to lighten it, perlite is probably the most useful, though you can also use some coarse sand, or bark. You could get lucky in the process and find a piece of something rotten, or a clump of dead roots, or something, and be able to fix the problem. But that's all I can think of to try. Maybe someone else will have a better idea.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 12:28AM
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lucy(6)

Or it's possible there were bugs on it at some time and a spray was used to get rid of them, and now the old chemicals are smelly, though I would have thought they'd be washed off by now before leaving the nursery.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 5:49AM
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nanw_4wi(4/SW WI)

Is it blooming, by any chance?
If so, in my opinion, those blooms *stink*!!!!!

Dieffenbachias seem to go downhill after they bloom, anyway, so if it's blooming, I'd cut the bloom stalk off.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 11:43AM
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