Pachira Aquatica slowly degrading

jorgegreenJune 10, 2013

Hi there

I have a similar problem with my pachira, altough i have yet to find a solution. I also suffer from the yellowin-brownin-falling leaves, and i've been searching the web for answers. I had many, some of them contraditory, so i am kind of lost. First i thought it was lack of water. I used to water it every 15 days, because the vendor told me it required little water. Then they told me it requires more water than that, so i watered a little more, and even bought a humidity sensor rod (those you stick in the dirt) in order to check how much water was around the plant. Found out it was not lack of water so, i started to be careful about my watering - not too much, not too little. Then searching again in the web, they told me it could be too much sun - or too little. The vendor told me the plant was supposed to be in half-shade, and it is - near a big window but without too much direct sunlight. Then i thought i had to change the vase, because it was little, so i thought the roots couldn't support the plant anylonger, so i changed the vase to a bigger one. Then i found this site and i read about the mites - found none. Another evidence as you can see in the photos is the little drops of gooey substance you see under the leaves - i still don't know if it's normal or is it a sign of something. So here i am not knowing what to do next. My pachira keeps degrading day by day, but still sprouting new leaves despite the ones falling. Any help is welcome.

Thank you all


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I have more photos but i can only upload one at a time... here's another.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 1:11PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

Those drops are probally guttation, a natural proces to the plant and nonharmful

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 2:52PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Guttation may or may not be indicative of a problem, but usually it occurs at night, when soil moisture content and humidity levels are high, and when the plant is being grown in low light conditions.

If you are sure there are no pests, that is to say you've inspected carefully for mites and scale especially, then you need to look to things cultural. Your soil should allow you to water thoroughly at every watering, so at least 10-20% of the total volume of water applied exits the drain hole (it does have a drain hole?) without having to worry about root rot or inhibition of root function due to soggy soil conditions. If you provide a soil like that & fertilize regularly, the odds favor the bet that your problems will soon go away. A very high % of the problems most growers are forced to deal with occur because of an inappropriately moisture-retentive soil.

The information I'll link you to below gives a good overview of what it takes to keep most plant material happy. You might give it a perusal.


Here is a link that might be useful: An overview

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 3:55PM
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Thanks for the quick replies. I was unaware of the gutation process in this plant or at least i never noticed. The pot does has a hole and a large one (about the size of a thumb). This process of leaves dropping started in the original vase where i bought the plant one, before repotting. I bought universal substrate, as recommended by vendor, and repotted the plant. It seems the soil is a bit more water retentive. That's why i bought a humidity sensor rod, so i wouldn't overwater. Still the soil keeps wet after 3-4 days. So i water it only every week or so. I haven't tried to moisturize the leaves with a water spray, Though i don't beleive i need to because the humidity level in my house air is around 70%. Since i have the plant i only fertilized it 2 to 3 times (in a 8 month period) being the latest one after the problem started.
After reading the link you gave me, i am inclined to look after the soil. Though i am yet to see hor retentive it is. If it is too retentive how can i improve soil drainage?
Here is another photo.

Thank you


This post was edited by jorgegreen on Mon, Jun 10, 13 at 17:12

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 5:11PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

See the link below for helpful hints on dealing with water retention. If you can't water properly (so you flush the soil when you water), the ratio of the dissolved solids quickly gets to the point where the level of dissolved solids in the soil solution is too high for proper uptake of water and nutrients, so your plant can actually die of thirst in a sea of plenty.

Don't forget to check carefully for insect issues.


Here is a link that might be useful: Dealing with water retention

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 9:17PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

Wish your plant good luck

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 10:02AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

As Al mentioned, if you make sure the potting mix is well-draining, this plant will thrive - that's really the first step to vitality.

I can see immediately that your plant needs light. Indoors, it needs full, unobstructed sunlight. If it is *OUTDOORS* it needs to be in partial shade or else the old leaves will blanch and fall off. So there's the source of the light misinformation - indoors versus out.

Change the mix, change the light, and resume fertilization. With these steps, there's no reason that your plant will continue to degrade.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 12:32PM
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I doublechecked for pests and found none micro or macroscopic. About the light i beleive it receives proper light since it's located near a big window (almost the size of a wall). In fact i wondered if it din't catch too much light. The plant seems to be fighting back though i am not shure of the result.It keeps sprouting new leaves that seem healthy but older ones keep dying. It seems the soil is somewhat water retentive as it keeps mildly wet (measured with the rod) even after 5 days. I think i am going to try adding some perlite to the soil and see how it goes.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 4:29PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

"The vendor told me the plant was supposed to be in half-shade, and it is - near a big window but without too much direct sunlight."
- indoors, you can't really give it "too much direct sunlight." A plant with that sized canopy will have considerable light and nutrient requirements to maintain the foliage.

What is the direction of the window exposure? Morning sun? Afternoon?


    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 5:51PM
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My plant was doing the same thing, some1 commented about my soil (still didnt change it) found it was in coconut fiber.
I changed the fiber to 1/2potting soil, 1/4 perlite and 1/4sand. I think it greatly helped. I still have a few brown leaves that are falling off. No new brown leaves yet and it has filled out a lot.
I have mine in a large east facing window. I was stupid and would bring it out side and I think some of the browning was from too much light.

Hope your pachira starts to improve, they are rly nice plants.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 6:00PM
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