Help! I'm killing my Boss's Plants!

coopfreakJune 29, 2012

Hello forum,

I hope that you can find it in your heart to help me. I'm new at a job and have been systematically killing my Boss's office plants. Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Plant One

I've been hiding the dead leaves.... :(

Plant Two

This one is looking quite bad...

Plant Three

Not so bad, but still...

I don't even know what kind of plants they are and can't ask him...

I lay myself at your knowledgeable feet.


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

You really don't give much to go on, but if I was to consider only probability based on what can be seen, the odds on favorite would be on over-nurturing - more specifically over-watering and possibly over-fertilizing if you've been fertilizing.

I think the most important lesson you can learn about tending any plant in a container is that air in the soil is as important as water, and how skillfully you're able to manipulate the ratio between the two most often determines the degree of limitations AND your margin for error. Some soils are very forgiving of watering/fertilizing habits that might not be the best, while with other soils those decisions can be extremely critical - offering you little latitude.

I don't know how much effort you're willing to put into getting the basics under your belt, but if you're up for a little reading, I'll leave a link that covers some basic care and impresses how important soil choice can be.

If you don't think you want to get involved in making your own soil or trying to chase down a suitable commercially prepared product, you might find this link with suggestions for dealing with water-retentive soils helpful.

Basically, you need to develop a strategy that eliminates the limitations a soggy soil places on your plants. Easing up on the watering can is only a part of the picture. I'll wait to see how interested you are or if everything seems too daunting. It's really not that difficult. Most growers just need a little training to get themselves out of their own way.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 9:57PM
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I'm definitely up for learning. Not only do I need to make my boss happy, but I also would like to be able to grow things at home! I'll look at this link over the weekend and hopefully it will give me some insight.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 11:59PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I would SO not post any more pictures of your boss's office and family pictures. My attitude my be different than others '. If the boss asked me to take care of his plants, I would have IMMEDIATELY bragged about my historic brown thumb, telling him that I can't even keep fake plants alive at my house. "But, if you insist.....just don't blame me"!

Suggest a plant care service or his wife as possible candidates for plant care. I sure as heck wouldn't try to hide the problems anymore. Certainly, you can learn....but it does not feel right that you have to. Unless you really really want to.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 9:20AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I agree w/ Rhizo completely. I wondered why you're so quick to assume this is your responsibility.

I'd quit hiding stuff & maybe even cut the dead leaves off. If no one spoke to you about any of this, I'd assume it's someone else's responsibility. Why is it you can't ask?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 11:14AM
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Ok I dont think they look that bad really. Back off on the water and best advise is too quit babying them and leave them alone. Many plants do better when you leave them alone and use minimal care.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 4:38PM
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Hmmmm. Thanks for all the feedback. I don't have a choice unfortunately. I am in charge of all office plants. I will definitely back off on the watering. From reading the link from tapla I think the overwatering and overly compact soil seem to be the culprits here.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 9:08PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Did someone actually tell you that (that you're in charge of the plants), or are you assuming? Seems folly to me.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 10:10AM
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I was specifically told, and it is written on a list of responsibilities I has handed on my first day. I do not understand why you are pushing this so hard - not all businesses are the same.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 12:35PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

No, certainly not all businesses are the same. Sorry, don't mean to 'push hard', just surprising to me that someone would be in charge of something w/ which they appear to have no experience.

Growing plants & caring for them is not a 10 minute email or a few quick questions that can be handled like that. I'd hate to have a job where questions aren't allowed, that sounds doubly stressful.

Sorry, I won't bother you further.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 1:05PM
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I had a job like that once. Where I was in charge of a bunch of things ( like everything lol) that I had zero expereance doing and its not that I couldn't ask questions when I was confused but I got such a horrible reaction when I did that I soon stopped asking. Some people aren't nessissarily bad people but have completely the wrong personallity to be bosses. I'm so glad I don't work there anymore lol

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 1:39PM
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He's not a bad boss - just really busy.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 11:41PM
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