Help! My Juncus Spiralis Corkscrew Rush is dying!

organic_amosJune 14, 2008

Hi, I'm a total newb with house plants. I bought a "Unicorn Plant" from Ikea 2 weeks ago. Its in a plastic pot, it goes under the name "Juncus Spiralis", and by my research, is also called a "corkscrew rush". In the store it was beautiful and dark green, now its on its last legs. The sticker on the pot says:

"Bright, no direct sunlight (not sure what that means where I should put it exactly). Water thoroughly, allow potting soil to dry bewtween water. Mist leaves if air is dry. Fertilize every 2 months. Do not fertilize during winter".

I dont have any fertilizer, and wouldnt know what to get, so I did not fertilize. I left it on a shelf about 10' from the window. It was starting to turn brown, so I did some research on this plant, and read that it was a grass, that was supposed to love water and sun. So I soaked it plenty with water, left it sitting in the water, misted the leaves plenty, and put it outside for a day to try to revive it. That made it much, much, much worse. Now the stems are all dry, papery and crisp, wilted, ranging from light dull green to yellowish. It's a mess! I brought it indoors and put it in front of the window, 'cos I read somewhere it likes "full sun". I don't know anymore what it likes! But how could it have done so well in Ikea's store with no windows, and done so poorly in my apt? Right now, the soil is moist, but its no longer sitting in water, I've drained that.

Can I save it if I cut all the stems? Will they regrow? This was a beautiful plant, I'd hate to see it go!

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    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 4:37PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

The plants in the store look good DESPITE being in the dark store, not because of it. They will start to go downhill fast there, but the store expects to sell them before that happens. Lack of fertilizer for the two weeks you've had it is not the problem. It could go months before you need to consider fertilizing.

I've grown corkscrew rush outdoors, never indoors. It does indeed like sun and water. I would disagree with the plant tag, don't let it get totally dry between waterings, just almost dry. Don't bother misting it. Don't fertilize it right now while it's unhappy.

If the roots are OK, it should grow new stems. I would put it in your brightest window, cut off any stems that are obviously brown or yellow, even if that is all of them, and hope for the best.

Is it possible that your plant got sunburned? Moving an indoor plant outside where it can get full sun can make the leaves go crispy brown, sometimes in a matter of an hour, depending on the plant and the intensity of the sun. It is safest to move indoor plants gradually into the sun, not all at once.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 12:02AM
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If I need to disregard the plant tag, and if this plant likes sun and water, why did it go completely bad in simply *one day*, after I had doused it with plenty of water and left it on my balcony?! This is why I'm confused and don't know what to believe, about these plants! I'm getting conflicting information from everywhere. But there's no doubt the plant suffered in the sun for that one day. Many leaves are still green, but the green got lighther and duller, many turned yellow, all became crispy, looking like they're not going to grow any more!

So what do I do? Do I cut them all at the base with a pair of scissors? How can I know if the roots are okay? I don't know what you mean by moving it "gradually into the sun". This is only one plant! Does this mean I should have carried it very very slowly onto the balcony??

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 6:19PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

No, it means you should have moved it into the sun gradually, giving it a few more minutes/hours of sun per day. Generally, a week's time is fine for the transition. If you don't have a natural source of shade, you'll have to provide one.

Also, "one day" of sun can be a long time. One *hour* of sun can be too much for some plants.

Even sun-loving plants like the common Jade, which grows in hot, dry South Africa, can experience stress if taken from an indoor environment to a sunny outdoor environment.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 6:40PM
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