Beginner's questions about Swedish Ivy and other Plectranthus
Hello everyone! :) I'm new to the forum (and still pretty new to house plants), and I have a few questions on some plants that I've collected over the past couple of years. I'll give you some history on the plants I have now to give you an idea of what I'm dealing with...
In the fall of 2009 a friend gave me a Swedish Ivy. Since I've found that there are several varieties of Plectranthus that are commonly mislabeled as Swedish Ivy, I should clarify that this one is Plectranthus Verticillatus. My friend's mom had it for a couple years before it was given to me, and had left it out on her porch all summer in the dry Arizona heat. Needless to say, it was NOT a happy camper when it came to me.
For the first year I had it I had no idea what it was or how to care for it. Luckily, Swedish Ivy is a sturdy little plant, and seemed happy enough with just being indoors and being watered once or twice a week until I could figure out exactly what it was.
I make my own fertilizer "smoothies" for all of my house plants about once a month during the spring-summer months, and the Swedish Ivy particularly seemed to like it. By the next summer it was overflowing out of its pot and onto the table it was sitting on! :)
Early this spring I noticed that the stems were getting woody and the older growth was turning yellowish, so I cut it back to a few inches from the soil and repotted it. I put a handful of the cuttings in water, which started getting roots within a week or two. I was worried that I might have killed the mother plant, but about a week later I was pleasantly surprised to find little clusters of green leaves sprouting from the stems! :)
Now all of the cuttings are in pots and seem to be happy and healthy! They're all about 6 inches tall, with nice shiny dark green leaves. The growing tips aren't growing much, but the leaves and stems are getting bigger, and tiny new sprouts are growing from the leaf bases on the bottom set of leaves. Now my question for the cuttings is, should I pinch off the growing tips now so that they'll fill out a bit, or is it too soon?
The mother plant has doubled (almost tripled) its leaf volume and size since I cut it back, and has a few long, leafy stems trailing down the side of the pot. I fertilize about once a month, water whenever the top 2 inches feel dry and pinch off the growing tips whenever it starts to look leggy. Is there anything else I should be doing? Am I doing too much? :P
Also, I rescued what appears to be a very sad-looking Plectranthus Ciliatus (Zulu Wonder, maybe?) that was mislabeled as a "creeping charlie" from Home Depot several weeks ago. When I bought it the leaves looked pale, dull and droopy, and the soil was downright soggy. I repotted it, fertilized it, pruned off the dead and dying stuff and then just watched it for a few weeks to see what it would do...but it hasn't improved much, and maybe even looks a little worse. :/ I have several cuttings from this plant, most of which already look much better than the mother plant. They are rooting pretty well in water, and will be potted up pretty soon.
Today I took the mother plant out of the pot to look at the roots, just on a hunch. Now, I don't know what root rot looks like, but judging by the way the roots look I'm pretty sure that's what the problem is. The bottom of the roots were black and dead, so I (very carefully) removed the soil from the root ball, removed all the dead and dying roots, dipped what live roots were left in rooting hormone powder, thoroughly rinsed the pot that I had it in, mixed a little rooting hormone in some new soil, put the new soil and the plant back in the pot and watered it with a solution of 5 drops of SuperThrive in a 1/2 gallon watering can. Is there anything I can do to save this plant? Or should I just take cuttings from the healthier parts and toss the rest of the plant?
Thanks in advance for your responses, and sorry if this is long-winded. "New mom" syndrome, I guess! :P