DESPERATE for help with an ailing schefflera!!! :(:(

jess_leman(2b)April 9, 2013

I was given a small grocery store Schefflera 2 years ago. He is quite spindley, with only one small trunk but initially did well and grew some new leaves. Then he seemed to go a little dormant. I moved him around into different lights but he didn't seem to perk up... He didn't do any worse either, so i didn't worry to much. THEN, he started loosing leaves. Like a lot. To the point where her only had 5 or 6 left. I moved into a different office and now he has great light. I water weekly, and soak him. I noticed his soil looked unhealthy, so I repotted (I didn't up pot, just changed his soil) and his roots were brown and didn't appear healthy. I replaced him in some Miracle Grow soil and crossed my fingers. About 2 weeks later, I noticed that he had green buds in all of the spaces were leaves had been previously!! I was SOOOO excited. But bad things have started again... He has lost 2 more leaves (now only has 3) and the top 2 inches of his stem is black and whithered!!! I know this has only happened in the last week and I am devastated!!! He still has his green buds and even a few tiny new leaves, but I don't know what to do! I admit that I may have gotten a little over zealous with the watering, but is it over for him??? I am going to let him dry out, but do I cut the black off??? I included a picture of what he has going on... SO SAD!!

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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

Cut that stem down to a healthy leaf and check the roots for rotting quickly!!!!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:01PM
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jess_leman(2b)

Do I cut it down to an acual leaf or to one of the new green buds? Also, what do I do with the rotten roots? Do i cut them off?? Arrgghh!!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:04PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

Can you show a photo of the whole plant. cut to a bud or a leaf. cut the browm mushy roots off and leave the healthy lighter roots on and repot

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:06PM
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jess_leman(2b)

Ok. I snipped the top off to the next green bud and I am a little embarassed to show what it looks like... I know that I kinda neglected it, but was happy when it seemed to come back. I will try and post a pic of its new buds too. And will dump it out and get after the roots.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:16PM
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jess_leman(2b)

Here is one of the new growth. I don't know how to add them all to one message yet... Sorry.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:23PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Hi, Jess. Yours is a very forgiving plant, so maybe all isn't lost. What's most important is that you understand some basic wants & needs of the scheff. MOST important, it wants a soil you can water properly; that is to say a soil that you can flush when you water without having to worry about root rot. We can sort of work around that item for now, but if you want to make growing healthy plants easy, you should put learning more about how important soils are on your list of things to do.

If there is any hope that the plant is still viable, you need to fall back on basic good care. First, the plant abhors a wet or soggy soil. Let's pull the plant out of the soil it's in and wash ALL the old soil from the roots, making sure to keep the roots wet all the while you're working on them. You'll prune all the dead roots away with sharp scissors, then repot the plant in a soil that is DAMP - not wet or soggy. Plants don't drink or sip water. Water absorption is an energy driven process that takers place in the presence of oxygen. Roots absorb water a molecule at a time from the microscopically thin coating of water on soil particles and from water vapor in the air spaces between larger soil particles.

After you've trimmed off any rotten roots and repotted - put the plant in very bright light but not direct sunlight. Be patient. Mist the soil surface (but not the plant) to keep the soil barely moist, and be patient.

I'm going to link you to a thread about basic care that will help you avoid almost all the pitfalls that bring growers here looking for help - if you follow the advice. Once your plant shows signs of pushing new growth, we can talk about fertilizing and how to deal with a soil that holds more water than what would be ideal. For now, the bright light and damp soil are key. try to keep the soil temperature between 65-75*, too. That would be very helpful in stimulating new root growth.

Best luck. Let me know if you think there is anything else I can help you with ...........

Here is a link that might be useful: The basics ...........

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:30PM
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jess_leman(2b)

Perfect!! Thank you so very much (I was really really hoping you would post! :) ). I will read the basics and will head out and get some new soil and give him a wash this afternoon. I am scared all the fussing will upset him, but will give it a whirl!

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:40PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

No need to check the roots. the base is not mushy. the [lant will grow back well with taplas tips. best of luck

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:50PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Jess - I think it would be wise to disregard the advice to refrain from checking the roots. A compromised root system is almost certainly the reason your plant has declined this far, and it doesn't make sense to avoid checking the roots and correcting any rot you might find.

Al

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 3:01PM
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jess_leman(2b)

I will dump him out and inspect him good. I don't want to leave it if its roots are super wet. :)

This post was edited by jess_leman on Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 15:15

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 3:13PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

The bottom doesnt look mushy, but tapla can be right

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 5:36PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

Sorry tapla for going against you for checking roots, i didnt look at your post before posting mine

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 5:42PM
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