Indoor Plant is browning

Alicia_GoomoMay 22, 2013


I bought this plant last week, and it's already starting to brown on it's leaves! What am I doing wrong? I've posted some pictures with a little info about the plants condition.

It's in a sunny room, that gets lots of filtered sunlight throughout the day. I have been misting it with a water spray and have watered it twice this week. The soil seems in good condition ie not dry or too moist. It's going into winter where I live, so perhaps it's a humidity issue?

I've attempted to do some research, however I'm not exactly sure what species it is. I have a feeling it may be part of the Ficus elastica family, but again not sure.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

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I believe what you have there is a Calathea ornata. And you may have hit the nail on the head when you suspected it might be a humidity issue. Calatheas are humidity junkies.

Look into that and let us know what you think. :)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 9:55PM
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It is a Calathea, and yes, they like high humidity and warmth.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 2:48AM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

You can try growing it in a dome or terrarium type setting. I heard it does wonders for the plant

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 9:58AM
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I would agree that it's a variety of Calathea. What has been said about heat and humidity is generally right. I put mine in the bathroom with me when I shower at least once a month, and I leave it there for a few days. There are lots of ways to increase the humidity around a house plant without moving it to the bathroom... I wouldn't mist it though, mine didn't seem to appreciate that, and some fungus and mealy bug issues can develop. A water feature maybe or a decorative pot with rocks right underneath it, so the water evaporates onto the plant. :)

Calathea do NOT need intensely bright light either. I would pull it away from the window a few feet at least or stuff it in a corner where it's out of that direct light. To put it into perspective, my calathea seemed to burn (cripsy edges that i could flake off easily somewhat to the left or right of the leaf margin and some severe yellowing and loss of a leaf or two) when I placed in a spot with direct light on a bay window with northern exposure, right next to a peace lily and pothos plant. The lily and pothos are perfectly happy where they are annnnd the Calathea got a new spot in the bedroom lol
You might see improvement just relocating it.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 8:01PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

That's a pretty one!

Agree with the excellent suggestions and observations so far. "They" are always babbling about humidity for plants, and it's not just babble for this plant, really sensitive to dry air. I'm fortunate to have very humid indoor air (comparatively, because of our heating method) inside during winter, and this is one of few plants that is still uncomfortable. Worthy of a cloché or terrarium if you can find one.

Gently pulling the dead material of long lost leaves from the stems is usually a good idea. Stuff like that can be a breeding ground for pests.

Katheryn, you're so right about misting potentially causing more harm than helping. (See page 13 for those who want more info/pics.)

Alicia, when you water, I would suggest removing the inner pot and taking it to a sink where excess water can flow out. It's good to put enough water that it flows out of the holes in the bottom of the pot. When it's finished dripping, then put it back in the decorative cache pot. Then wait until the soil has mostly (but not completely) dried to water again. That should get your plant through winter. In the spring you can decide if it's time to repot. This seems to be a really slow-growing plant for most people.

Might there be chemicals (fluoride/chlorine - I think this is usually only a problem in USA, but really not sure) or lime in your tap water that is making your plant unhappy? If so, rain or distilled are good if available, or the condensate water from a dehumidifier.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 10:03AM
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I would say that it's calathea orbifolia actually. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: google images

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 12:58PM
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