Plant ID and advice needed please

bellpepperguyAugust 17, 2011

My wife had this plant at work with her for about a year indoors and she said it was doing great at the time. She changed jobs and the plant came to the new location at which point it steadily declined into what you see below. I actually just clipped off a few of the dead leaves (3 or 4) since the stalks looked pretty flat. She says the conditions are similar at her new job but as you can see the results arent. Since I dont know what the plant and most of my experience is with cactus it's hard for me to help her. Anyone able to ID and provide some advice on how to revive this struggling house plant?

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)


I'll try to get ya started, I think this is a Calathea or Marantha, in that family. I don't grow these, but recognize their looks.

My first questions would be, does that pot have drainage hole? Was the plant being given direct light? Has the mix ever been changed?

Let's see what folks who grow this have to say. I'm thinking Toni (HopefulA) knows &/or grows plants in this group.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 5:47PM
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thanks for the ID. I read up last night and did what I could to help the plant.

about your questions. I've done what needed to be done but because I cant say what I am about to type to my wife AND because it will provide some cringe humor for the forum I'll share.

maybe 3 weeks ago I was outside working in my cactus garden when my wife asked if I had any soil. I did but I only had cactus soil so I asked what she needed it for yadda yadda. When she said it was for a house plant I told her it wouldnt be a good idea to use the soil I had...did she care? of course not! So first she repotted this thing using straight up cactus soil. When she said the plant was looking worse a few weeks later I told her to just bring it home so I could see what we were working with. Well....before bringing it home she thought maybe the plant needed more sun.....and put it outside in direct sunlight for the entire day hahahahaha. Also a no no for this house plant. to sum it up she repotted the plant using super dry soil that retains almost ZERO moisture and then decided to scorch the thing to death with the sun. Not good! considering the plan went through hell I am surprised it's not in worse condition. After getting the ID I read up on soil/moisture/climate and all that jazz. I repotted it last night and place the guy in a cozy spot in the house. All that's left is to see if time will heal up this Calathea/Marantha

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 4:39PM
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Bell Pepper. Karen is right. Your plant is definately a Calathea, in the roseo picta group. I think the cultivar is Medallion, but not 100% positive.

Medallion has bright white/cream markings, similar to your Calathea; light and humidity make a difference. If not in a perfect environment, colors fade.
The white/cream markings on your Calathea are not as vivid as a Calathea recently grown in a green house or tropical place like Fl. lol.
Although, it doesn't look bad either. Please don't mis-read my words.

You said your wife changed jobs..Did she make changes with the Calathea? Repotting? Lighting? Is one office warmer/cooler, more/less humidity than the other?

You said your Calathea started declining since the move. Is it possible for your wife to duplicate her previous office, light/air/temp conditions? Or better yet, improve them?

Calathea isn't the easiest plant to grow, especially those in the rosea pictas group.

Calatheas do well in bright-medium direct summer south or west sun. But, never in total darkness.
Too hot, leaves wilt. Cooler temps actually benefit.
They love humidity, unfortunately, most people don't. Setting the pot on stones with enough water, 'that doesn't touch bottom of pot,' and/or daily misting increases humidity. Weekly showering perks up Calatheas.
Soil needs to dry between waterings. In other words, never keep it soggy wet.
Last, draiage holes are a must. It's very important the container has unclogged drainage holes.

My Calatheas are fertiized with Fish Emulsion, though I don't recommend using since it emits a fishy odor. The smell lasts a couple days. There is an odor-less type on the market, though I've never used it, so I don't know if it's really odor-free.

In pic 1, the room looks quite dark. In pic 2, it looks much brighter. Which direction is the window facing?

Howdy Karen...Toni

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 5:02PM
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Bell, what mediums do you use for your Cactus? Toni

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 6:08PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Toni (waving),

Read him again, Toni, he explained a fair amount, including the basic, his wife put it into C&S mix AND then out in direct sun. It's actually in better shape than one might expect after such treatment.

Also he recounts (in his 2nd line) that she says the conditions after change of job are similar (he sounds sceptical).

So anyway, BPG, sounds like you've done a nice job of rescue.

Are you serious that you can't tell your Wife what you've told us here? If so, really? I'd encourage truth here, tho' it sounds like it's you who's got the greener thumb not her. I'd tell her, but then again, I'm not married nor have I ever been ;>)

Best of luck w/ the Calathea, I think you're off to a good start, tho' Toni definately knows much more about these than I.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 8:17PM
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lol of course I told her. Just in much more polite words :P

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 10:07PM
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Hey Karen, 'Waving back.'

Karen, although Bell said his wife planted her Calathea in Cactus soil, he didn't name the ingredients. That's the reason I asked what ingredients are in the Cactus Mix he uses.

Karen, I had to laugh when you :) about marriage. lolol.

Bell, sounds like your wife doesn't care about her plant??? Does she like and understand cactus? Not trying to be nosy, 'not much, anyway,' lol, just curious. Toni

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 2:41PM
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let's just say that while she's got a heart of gold she has a black thumb of death rather than a green thumb :P

She notorius for killing plants so I do all the gardening around the house and I simply try to help when something has happened to her pretty new plant :)

P.S. the cactus soil I use is the one that says "Cactus Soil". Sorry I never read the fine print so I couldnt tell you the specifics. I can tell you it works good though!

And the baby

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 12:24PM
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Bell, one more soil question. Is your Cactus soil a product of Miracle Gro? Just curious.

You certainly have a lot of rocks..they're nice-looking. :)

Your C&S garden looks fairly new, right?

The Optunia will eventually need a LOT of room; they grow large in height and width.
Yours is a very nice color. There are so many O-species, I don't know which you have.

Do you know the name of the flowering plant at the corner of your house? Toni

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 3:17PM
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Yeah I think it's Miracle Grow

Garden was completed about 2 months ago but some of those plants have been there a long as a year and a half.

It's a Prickly Pear and it's growing FAST...Pruning pruning pruning! He will grow vertically...VERTICALLY I SAID!!!!! :P

There's a couple flowering plants on the corner. I THINK you're talking about the Echiveria but I've also got Snapdragons right next to it. If you were referring to the tiny cactus that's in the pot flowering thats some sort of Gymnocalycium. Not sure which specific one

Hope that helps.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 5:13PM
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Bell, I was asking about the tall, flowering, (yellow and red blooms,) plant. It's beautiful.

It's great your Optunia is growing fast and VERTICAL! LOL. Toni

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 4:45PM
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Those would the snapdragons

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 7:13AM
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*those would BE the snapdragons.

P.S. just in case...cactus soil wouldnt be a good medium for that plant.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 7:18AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

And another id question. What is the grey plastic box with the handle and the black hose going in to it?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 8:26AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I can answer that since I have a similar one. You roll the hose up inside it.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 12:54PM
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