Plant leaves and steams dying!! Please Help!!

Amelia1985June 15, 2014

On June 9th I had to house sit for my parents. Before i left my plants looked fine. But when i came home yesterday, June 14 most of the steams where black and on the green steams most of the leaves were dead. I watered like normal before i left. The only thing i done different was set my thermostat at 85. Normal temp is around 72-75. Please Help me on what i can do to save my plants. As you can see, i took off all the dead steams and dead leaves. What else can i do to save them? Or is it to late?

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Amelia1985

This is a pic of what they did look like.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 1:55AM
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plantomaniac08(8)

Amelia,
Your soil is too water retentive (it's keeping your plants too wet; you need something faster draining) and they could afford to be closer to a window. It is also possible they might be over-potted (I don't know how big the rootballs were when you repotted).

Planto

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 11:00AM
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Amelia1985

Thank you planto!! I will take the bottoms off and replace them. Also they r about 7-8 feet from my patio doors. And i keep the blinds open all the time so they can get sun light. I hate to say it but thats the only place i have for them. Do you think they will make it? My 11 plants on my patio are doing wonderful. These were too until i left for 5 days.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 11:36AM
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plantomaniac08(8)

Taking the bottoms off your pot will help, but replacing the soil with something better draining would be better than just taking the bottoms off. I can tell your soil looks rather heavy because it's rather dark (I don't see much perlite, if any) and some of the pots appear to have mold growing on top. What potting mix are you using, if you don't mind me asking?

Do you know what direction your window faces? 7-8 feet from any window is honestly not enough light. If your window is pretty intense, say a South window, 2-3 feet away would be ideal for a plant that would burn if directly placed in the window; but 7-8 feet is too far away even for a South window.

I can tell you the two in the front (with the pink leaves) and the two outer ones in the back (with the purple) require some direct sun and will grow leggy without it. I can't tell what the two in the middle back are or the one up front in the middle to provide you any guidelines on lighting.

I think you need to fix your potting mix situation and give them more light if you want them to grow successfully.

I know how it is being limited on space, all I have is a Southeast window and I have to keep mine 2-3 feet away during the year and close the blind when the sun reaches its highest point in the Summer (or else they burn). Sometimes you have to work with what you have and adjust accordingly.

I don't have the best potting mix in the world either, but I use what I can. It's not as water retentive as a straight out of the bag mix at least. I tried potting plants in Miracle Gro soil before, not knowing it stays wet super long and my plants didn't fair well.

Planto

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 12:47PM
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Amelia1985

Yea i use the miracle grow potting soil. Should i go get a different kind and repot them? If so what potting soil is best? My pario doors are faceing west. They get the afternoon sun the most. Maybe i can rearrange my living room to get them closser to the door. I just hate that ive done this to them. When i got them from walmart they looked pretty bad. Then they started growing good and now they look worse than when i got them. Thank you for all of your help!!! I GREATLY APPRECIATE IT!!!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 1:53PM
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plantomaniac08(8)

Amelia,
I think that MG by itself is too water retentive. Adding that with not enough light and too big of a pot (maybe on the last part, again, I don't know how big the rootballs were), they won't grow their best.

I will tell you what I've been using as my potting mix, but I know that there is better out there (Al's gritty mix, the 5:1:1 mix). I have been using a mixture (about half and half) MG Cactus potting mix and perlite. I rinse the perlite before use to remove excess fluroide.

I know that some would tell me my mix isn't the best, but my plants seem happy thus far. The perlite makes it faster draining. That being said though, you can't water as freely as say with the gritty mix. I still have to be sure that I allow my plants to dry out to a certain point before watering again. Nothing likes being wet. Moist, but not wet. However, I don't have the time or patience to water as much as you would with the gritty mix lol.

I am not able to have plants where I'd like. I've tried growing them further away from the window, but they didn't grow as well. I know that there are a number of ways to optimize your growing conditions for plants, but this is what works for me.

I hope this helps. I wish I could tell you exactly how much light your plants can take, I believe West would be okay, but it's been awhile since I've grown a Fittonia (the pink one) and the purple one... I think it's a Rhoeo of sorts, I haven't grown one of those. But generally colored or variegated plants require more light or else they will revert to all green.

Planto

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 3:02PM
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Amelia1985

Planto,
You have helped me more than you ever know!!! Thank you!! I will go tonight and try and find some different soil that drains better. I think i saw some perlite at walmart. The leaves on the pocka dot plant was going back green so, thanks to you :-), now i know why. I put them on my side table by my chair that is right by the doors until i can come up with something else. Say a prayer this works. Because they r looking pretty bad!!

Thank You Again,
Amelia

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 4:33PM
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plantomaniac08(8)

Amelia,
I'm glad that I've helped you. :)

I know Lowes sells perlite too if you don't find any at Wal-Mart (or maybe even Home Depot if you have one of those).

I hope that you can successfully bring them back. Worst case scenario, you have more knowledge for the next time. Even the expert plant growers have killed a plant or two (or four) before they realized how to properly take care of their plants.

I'm by no means an expert, but I have learned a lot through trial and error myself. I think that's sometimes the only way to learn, to experience it yourself and figure out what works best for you.

Planto

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 5:09PM
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