my plant is dying..

aaronyJune 1, 2013

Hi, maybe someone can help me, I have had this plant for about 4-5 years (not sure of the age, I believe it is from my Grandmothers funeral in 2001), and it was flourishing untill around last summer, I sort of neglected it for a few months and the leaves started to die like this, at first (about 2 years ago) there where 2 large plants/shoots, then, a little shoot came up and one of the large shoots died off, now the other large shoot is almost gone, I'ts been trying to grow a new leaf for about 2 weeks now, but its pretty much stopped at this stage (hopefully you can see it in the pic, if it loads). not sure what I should do for it.. any help appreciated. OH.. and.. what is it?.. Thanks.. Aaron

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auron22(6b OH)

My guess is peace lily. Has it ever sent up large white bracts with a spathe? Like a flower of sorts. It looks like its trying to put up another leaf, so I think there is hope for it. Are those babies in the pot the same plant?

I'm not great at diagnosing plant problems. What kind of conditions was it in? Amount of direct sun, how bright was the indirect sun, how often did you water, what kind of soil are you using?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 9:24AM
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Thanks for your response, and the name of it, I've always wondered what it was, yes, that is what the flowers look like.
as for the small one, I believe that is from the same root system (thats why i was calling them shoots) there where two plants in the pot originally and after one of them flowered that little one came up, so, I'm not exactly sure if there where two separate plants in the pot and that came from the flower or if its all the same root system. but after the little one started then one of the big ones started dying and there was a lot of soil erosion so i had to pull it, I normally try to water it about 1 time a week or so, but I forgot for a while, this was pretty healthy about this time last year, and has slowly lost all its leaves, they would turn yellow and dry up then I would pull them off, but It was putting out enough new leaves to keep up with what it was loosing.(I put some really old garden food in it a couple months ago. It didn't seem like much but I didn't read the instructions) I wonder if it needs a new pot, or a bigger one, or new dirt or something, it seems like it stoped in its tracks when the little one appeared, and it hasnt gotten any bigger since last year. as for the lighting and atmosphere, Its always been the same, its in a window with normally closed blinds which faces south. but I do try to open the blinds now and again during the day. Any help is greatly appreciated

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 9:53AM
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I went ahead and transplanted it all to a pot that has about 3 times the capacity, I had to use some generic top soil to fill the pot but hopefully that will fix it. (and hopefully I didn't just kill all of them)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 12:52PM
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If the generic top soil is very heavy thats really bad for your plants, it suffocates the root system IMHO..

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 1:53PM
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I have a couple more plants that I am going to try to bring back to the living, one is a small african violet, which is probably needing some water, but I'm planning on moving it to the bigger pot that the peace lily was in, any advice?(its dying out at the bottom) But I'm not sure what this one is, . the ,trunk? on this one seems pretty dead in the center, how would I be able to salvage it?.. It is apparently still alive, despite rock dry soil and damaged, trunk?, .. got these today after getting in the mood for a plant saving hobby for a couple/few weeks, I might give them back to my good ol' mom after that.. Any help is appreciated!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 3:11PM
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btw, the soil I bought, (for price sake) is made up of, peat, forest product, ash, sand, and local top soil.. its rocky, with some mulch and stuff, I tried to aerate it as much as possible by breaking it up and what not.. so.. idk..

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 3:20PM
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Hi! Too big pots may also be a problem, as well as too small ones. You should have a look at the roots, and adjust the pot size to the size and amount of root mass. New soil (dirt) may also be a good idea, if a plant has been growing in the same old soil for a long time. I use ordinary soil that I buy where they sell flowers, usually this will do fine.

Most plants like to be watered regularly, but not too much, very few plants like to stand soaking wet. In fact more plants die from too heavy watering than from drought. The lower picture shows an Aglaonema. This plant likes its soil moist, but not soaked, and it doesn't require a very big pot.

Saintpaulias too are happy with rather small pots, and regular but not too heavy watering. As too all plants some fertilizer will be a good idea now and then. Follow the instructions on the bottle. You also can buy sticks of plant food to put in the soil, these sticks usually last a couple of months or more before they have to be replaced.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 3:38PM
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so, do I need to just prop the Aglaonema up or would I have to try to propigate roots on the leaves some how?.. I'll attach a pic of the stalk/trunk, its pretty brown and dry (and hollow) right around the center of it..

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 4:03PM
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auron22(6b OH)


Based on what I see in pictures. Your pots look too large for the plants, and the soil look dense. It's possible you've lost a lot of roots anyway. I would carefully check by removing it from the pot. If there is a bunch of loose soil and there are no signs of roots on the outer 2 inches of soil it is far too large. If it isn't too big....I would remove that fancy saucer at the bottom of the pot. There is always a reservoir of water at the bottom of those. You can get cheap plastic ones for like 80 cents. That way you can actually see when to stop watering and dump out excess water.

The last 2 pics look like aglaonema commutatum (commutatum might be wrong, but it's definetly aglaonema). I think what you should do is some extensive research on what conditions all your plants appreciate so you have some idea on what soil you should plant them in, where to put them in the house, and how often you should water them. A link i'm going to provide for aglaonema care is intimidating, but don't worry. you can just click in the index what you actually need to read and skip all the history and varieties and such.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aglaonema care (.pdf file)

This post was edited by Auron22 on Mon, Jun 3, 13 at 7:59

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 7:38AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)


That link causes something to load onto viewers' computer w/out warning. I backed out of it & didn't appreciate that feature w/out warning.


Hi, I agree w/much of Pelargonium's comments & diagnosis abt pot size & type of mix.

In the 1st pic, those seem to be 2 different kinds of plants: the Spath (Peace Lily) on the right & I don't know what on the left (likely some other kind of Aroid).

If these were my plants, I'd start over w/ new pots & new mix (after reading some abt mixes) & separate the 2 plants in the 1st pic.

As to the Aglaonema (the last plant pictured), they root readily in water.

Since that old & curled stem will not improve, I'd cut the top off, w/maybe 6" of stem & place in water to root anew.

From the remainder of the plant, if the roots aren't rotted, the remaining bottom of the plant might sprout growth again, MAYBE.

That's what I'd do.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 10:50AM
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auron22(6b OH)

Forgive me, I didn't know any better :( I'm still a novice at online communication, I lack understanding of social protocol on things like forums. The link is a .pdf file. I hope it didn't do any harm to your computer.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 7:43AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

PG, it is a .pdf file, a common type of info source. You may have your computer set to a very high security level that requires your permission to finish loading it, or may not have Adobe acrobat plug-in. It's the same kind of file/link as this excellent article about plants at NDSU.

I agree the tip of the Aglaonema may be all that's left alive, and that propagating it is the only likely way to save this one. The way it leaned and dipped to the side leads me to believe it had not been in enough light and/or was never rotated to keep it upright and even.

Auron and Aarony, I think this article could be very enlightening. The vast majority of house plants will do great in a same well-drained/aerated soil mix.

Watering plants is not a mystery at all, add more when dry, don't let them sit in a drip saucer. Tap water chemicals can build-up over time to toxic levels, to which some plants are more sensitive than others. Repotting can fix that, using rain/distilled/dehumidifier or air conditioner condensate can prevent it from happening again although plants growing well will fill their pot with roots periodically, necessitating repotting when this happens for continued good health.

Sending good vibes for your plants' recovery, Aarony! When you repotted/moved the peace lily, did you replace the old soil? The soil mix you bought sounds good, does water flow out of it as fast as you pour it on? If you can use a light sprinkle for the first month or two, that can help a lot, by preventing the particles from being washed/compacted into each other. The spaces between particles allow the roots to grow quickly, speeding recovery and enabling vigorous new growth.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 10:40AM
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just curious if i should plant this or wait till the roots come all the way out, or are these even roots?..


(EDIT: im talking about the white dots btw, just wanted to be clear after i looked at the picture again.. heh.. )

This post was edited by aarony on Sat, Jun 8, 13 at 12:19

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 12:16PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Can't tell from that pic if they are roots or new stems. Inclined to say stems because of their size. What does the whole thing look like? Looks firm and green, that's good.

I would remove all of those cataphylls (if that's what the dead brown things are, not totally sure but I like the cool weird word.) Anything not alive in the water can cause issues with rotting, and anaerobic decomposition can get smelly.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 6:19PM
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yea, that is the tip of the Aglaonema, it seems to be doing ok in water, so, if they are stems, should i cut them off up to a certain point? how long should roots take to start?.. and will they just be like the stringy bits?.. or will there be a mass of some sort?

Thanks again ;)

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 6:41PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I'd suggest you leave it alone for 2 weeks by which time you should have roots. I wouldn't fuss w/ it, the less one does to this while rooting, the better.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 7:05PM
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