Need an explanation!

Will07(5)July 31, 2013

My little kalanchoe isn't doing to good! I just noticed it this afternoon the leaves were all shrivelled up at the tips and they would fall off if touched. I pulled off most of the bad ones (by pull I mean literally touched) and now it looks sad. My bigger kalanchoe next to this one in a 6" pot is unscathed. They are the same plant, this small one was just a cutting from the larger one I took way back in the winter.

It almost looks like frost damage but of course it's July so that's not an answer. My only explanation is about a week ago I noticed it was bone dry and I dunked it in a fountain we have on the patio. Usually my mother pours bleach in the water to kill any mosquito larva or algae. At the time I thought about that fact but I didn't smell any bleach although the water did look crystal clear. Could this in fact be damage caused by liquid bleach? Just as a precaution I flushed the soil. I also have a pitcher plant I frequently plunge into the fountain and it seems fine but a lot of the 'pitchers' have dried up and died. From now on only water from the hose will touch my plants!

Also the kalanchoe doesn't sit in that spot, it's in mostly light shade all day. I just put it on that godawful table to take a clear pic.

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Your pic upright.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 3:01PM
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Personally I only use the hose as a last resort. I collect rainwater as often as I can and water with that.

Sorry about you cutting. Is the mother plant big enough to get another started? A replacement may be in order! :)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 3:03PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I would say that the bleach probably did it. I hope that birds don't drink out of the fountain!

By the way, I've never used anything BUT tap water from the faucet or hose to water plants....unless it rains on them.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 3:14PM
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Thanks purple for posting my pic upright. I don't know why apple products turn the picture.

Asleep yes I could take cuttings from the 'mother plant' but she is fine and healthy and I don't care to clone her again. The original plant came from a flower course my mother took over 10 years ago and she rooted the cutting from a bouquet. She had no idea what she was doing and ended up with a 14" pot full of kalanchoe. I finally threw it out but saved some pieces and potted them up. The 6" pot is doing great and these cuttings were taken in the winter when it got leggy and I didn't have the heart to throw them out.

It's not the end of the world for me if they die BUT I want to know why they died.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 3:20PM
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Found this in a random search...interesting stuff!

Here is a link that might be useful: tap water versus rain water

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 4:14PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Will, YW. I don't know either, it's pretty common around here. I wouldn't give up on your cutting either.

I didn't say anything right away because I find this confusing too. When I wash a cooler or outdoor furniture in the lawn with bleach, it doesn't bother the grass. But I recently washed a few small items with a very small amount of bleach in an outdoor sink that's rigged to drain into a bucket. So had about 4 gallons of water with whatever remained of maybe an ounce of bleach. Having always heard that chlorine evaporates over time, I figured that after about 5 days it would be safe to water plants with, and I'd better get it emptied because there were mosquito larvae in it. (So if bleach can defeat mosquito larvae, more is needed or it does dissipate in *that* regard.) Either chlorine from a jug of bleach doesn't evaporate like that used in a pool, or something else caustic that doesn't dissipate is in a jug of bleach.

Watering with this water didn't kill anything but did ruin a lot of leaves, some entirely, some with ugly spots. It also freaked out the worms, they came up out of the ground, writhing. So after seeing that, I'll make sure to empty that bucket in the driveway if I've gotten bleach in it again. No way there's worms over there (or any leaves at all,) just sandy dirt and gravel, packed hard as a rock.

Using the (removed) fountain water to water the plants sounds like a reasonable thing to do to me though. Maybe if you put a pic of it, you'd get an idea from somebody that you like. Is it hard to empty? If not, just changing the water more often than once a week should ensure you're not responsible for a new generation of mosquitoes.

Dunking a plant in there could leave a lot of unwanted sediment (and stuff like fertilizer if applicable, which would increase the likelihood of algae/mildew) in the fountain.

If it is hard to empty, there's also stuff called mosquito dunks that people use in bird baths to make sure they don't have a mosquito farm in them. Safe for birds (pets, people) but skeeter larvae can't live in it.

Not every municipality has the same tap water, and even within one, levels can fluctuate, so the mystery about it is greatly compounded that way I think. Fertilizer may also help moderate PH and detrimental effects of some things like fluoride. So those who are dedicated and 'good at' that might few if any ill effects from tap. Rhizo, do you think that applies? I know you know infinitely more about fertilizer and using it than I do.

The link, not the first time I've read most of the ideas there, but the anecdotes are quite interesting. If rain water can dissolve hard water spots on leaves, it makes sense that it could moderate the effects of lime (PH,) fluoride, whatever chlor- product is being used, in the soil also, I think...

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 4:58PM
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