Saying hi! Newbie to GW..

tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)September 24, 2012

Hi! I am new to this site and to houseplants so I am introducing myself to you all to say hi and I am sure you will be seeing alot of posts from me!

I got started with house plants about 2 years ago when I was in Wal Mart and saw a schefflera...a very small one. I was inclined to buy it and since them it has tripled in size. Never had any problems with her (Elly, is her name)...until we moved in to my FIL's to sell our house and upgrade to a bigger one...with the recent addition of our two boys. (20 months and 4 months).

Soon after this move our Aunt passed on after losing her battle with leukemia less than a year after being diagnosed. This was hard because whe was loved by all, too young and it all happened so fast.

From this, I inherited a basket arrangement of house plants from the funeral. I have always wanted to dabble more in house plants and having these made me feel I was connected to Aunt Julie more. Silly I know but these plants mean more to me because I have them as a result of losing her.

I kept them in the basket for about a week and I knew I needed to pot them and find out what they were. I took the basket to a greenhouse and they helped me identify them. I then went to Walmart and bought six 9 inch pots. They were $3 a piece why not! And a big bag of Miragle Grow soil...moisture control to be helps for underwatering and over watering. (yeah right)

The plants are as follows:

Peace Lily (named Jewels, for Aunt Julie)

Rubber tree - named Sylvie

Parlor Palm - named Bella

Arrowhead Vine - nammed Phyllis

English Ivy - named Felix

The biggest problem I have had is white stuff on soil surface. Which I am pretty sure is fungas. I also have a gnat problem in my house now and I think the plants might have black fungas gnats. I was digging around in their soils and saw a few bugs here and there and what looked to be a small larvae about as thick as a fiber from a strand of yarn.

I have sprayed them with alcohol umpteen times and it keeps coming back. I have sprayed them with fungicide which also rids of black gnats...and the white stuff is still there. I know now I need to change the soil and be done with MG. A friend (Charlie):) has been nice enough to help me recently and has suggested a 511 mix. I plan to do this this week after pay day.

All the plants are doing relatively well otherwise. My rooms that house the plants face NE. So they get medium indirect light, which I know is an issue and the plants will do better in higher indirect light, But I am limited as this isnt my house.

The ivy on the other hand recently took a turn for the worst and after I sprayed the fungicide, it went real south. Everything dyed off and drooped. I took a clipping and put in water and hoping I can save it somehow.

So thats my story. Feel free to chime in, I am looking forward to making some friends witht he same interests as mine in plants.

Thanks for listening.


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You Go Girl!

You're about to meet some cool people Tiff!
People, you're about to meet a cool Tiff!

Ok, since you've started your own thread, maybe it's time to talk about GW Disease?

Thing spreads like wildfire!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 3:14PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Hi, Tiffany. I was following your thread(s) at Dave's - glad to see you made the trip.

The white stuff probably isn't fungus, and if it was, the odds are overwhelmingly in the favor of it being benign. I think you're on the right track as far as your plan on changing to a soil that allows you to flush the soil of accumulating salts when you water. That should clear up the white deposits AND provide a much healthier environment for your plants' roots - probably the largest forward step you can make at any one time in your quest for healthier/happier plants.

Good luck. Be glad you have Charlie watching over you. ;-)


    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 4:29PM
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When someone names their plants, it kind of shows me the character of an individual. Very caring, kind, and gentle. If Iam wrong, well then, you can always correct me.

I am sorry to hear about your loss as it can be very difficult, and yet, to care for something that reminds one of another, is such a blessing.

You are going to love it here and I am sure you are going to be having a difficult time say 'NO' to more plants once you see how successful you will become with all the support here and ready....The right soil mix choice:-0)

Welcome, and it's great to meeet you!


    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 5:01PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Hi & welcome to GW. It's not at all silly to have an emotional attachment to a plant, and many people have funeral plants that are dear to them. I have a heart-leaf Philodendron from my Uncle's funeral. And so many people fall for tiny Scheffleras for their first plant. You've got good taste.

Love how your plants have names. My honey says all of our potted plants are named Steve.

The gnats should go away after repotting. We've all had battles with them but at least they don't hurt the plants and compared to other stuff that can happen to plants, they're pretty easy to get rid of by reducing watering frequency and/or repotting.

Your NE exposure sounds great for these plants, the rubber tree would want/need the most sun of your group, the parlor palm would be fine with being at the back. If you are able to hang one or two, that can really help share the light. The two obvious candidates are the Hedera helix (ivy) and Syngonium (arrowhead vine.)

Ivy seems to only grow well if it thinks it's not wanted, out of spite. Try saying some demeaning things to it, let it hear you tell other people you're glad it's probably dying, and that you saw other plants at the store that are prettier. Let it hear you tell the other plants to grow fast enough to hide the ivy. Is yours variegated?

Good luck with selling old/buying new house!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 5:03PM
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Hello and welcome from one newb to another! It's also pretty cool to know I'm not the only one who names their plants! :-)

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 5:58PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I've found that if you load your problem plants on a tray and take them for a little walk, lingering in the near vicinity of an active compost pile, it's normally enough to provide the incentive they need to abandon any contrary ways. I doubt you'd need to even say a word.

Too, most plants are honorable if given half a chance to be. Since the roots are the heart of a plant, your looking ahead to providing friendlier, heart-healthy living conditions for the roots is certain to convince them you have their best interest in your own heart. I'd expect them to do everything they can to show their appreciation.

Acquiring growing skills has a cost attached. There is an investment - an investment in the time it takes to learn and in the time and effort it takes to put what you've learned into practice. Being excited and enthusiastic about your adventure are huge advantages because they predispose you to acquiring the knowledge you need and provide the drive to put it to use. In the end, the successes and satisfaction you get from the growing experience will pivot to the greatest degree on the consummation of that marriage between knowledge and its implementation.

Have fun - learn all you can.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 6:41PM
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tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

Thanks for the kind words everyone! I am very much excited in this journey with my plants.

Purple, I am not a fan of verbal abuse and I dont think I could be cruel in words to aid in the growth of the plant. :) Thank you for the tip though. I do appreciate it and understand what you were meaning by the advice for the ivy.

I think I am going to end up starting a thread for each of my plants so that I can get advice and tips from ppl who have the same plants rather than rely on googling my problem and trying to figure it out on my own.

I did that with my rubber and I ended up misting her alot and I think I somehow got a fungal infection of something on her leaves. At least that is what some else told me...I will include pics of all the plants in those threads.

So like I said, be prepared to see alot of me here. for now anyways!

Tapla, if you dont think it is fungus, what do you THINK it is? I know I do have hard water at this house but I also know or think I know what salt deposits would look like and I also do believe I see that along with the fuzzy white stuff.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:23PM
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tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)


My arrowhead is green and white. THe Ivy is plain green.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:51PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Tiffany,

I just wanted to welcome you to the forum as well!!

You will have lots of help here and like Mike said, your plant collection will probably grow.. : )

Hopefully you can get those problems with your plants solved soon. Then once spring comes around and you can replace the mix into a better growing enviroment, they will feel better and then you will too!

Glad you made the move here.. Charlie sounds like he has given you good advise!!

Good Luck and once again welcome!!!

Love the way you have named your plants too! : )


    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 11:41PM
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Mornin' Tiff..

Nice to see you all settled in here now..
Lotta help coming your way here..

Thing is.. you'll find yourself concerned with Other people's plants almost as much as your own! :-)


    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 9:47AM
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Hi Tiff. I welcomed you on Charlie's thread, but in case you didn't see it, Hello and Welcome.

First, I'm very sorry for your loss. Think about good times...memories are something we never lose. No need feeling silly saving plants. Actually, it was a good idea.

To be honest, I'm 'SHOCKED' Walmart employees were able to ID your plants.. :)

About 9" pots. Did you pot each plant originally in the basket in individual 9" containers? Prices were a great deal, but were plants/rootball large enough for 9"ers?

Know what I mean?

You'll find people here use different soils/mediums.
I use MG, but amend with other mediums like Perlite, sand, small stones, etc.
Mediums depend on type of plant. Tropical vs succulents.

Gnats are more a pest than problem, but nobody wants insects flying/creeping around the house.

Sounds to me like your pots were too large, which meant excess soil. Watering when containers are too big, too much soil and lack of air cirulation invited the gnats.
Once you pot in well draining soil, water properly, your gnat problem will be history.

White stuff on top of soil could easily be mold. When soils stays wet for prolonged periods, mold grows. If it's fuzzy, it's mold. At first I thought it possible you were seeing Perlite which is blended in MG, but after reading your thread, seems more like mold.
Again, after repotting, mold will vanish along with gnats.

Anyway, hope you enjoy GW, meet people, get and give advice. The only warning I have is, you may find yourself with plants you never expected having..:) Toni

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 11:32AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Agree it's easier to talk about one plant at a time. I'm not a fan of verbal abuse, either, admit it's a cheap, desperate act against a probably innocent plant. Seriously though, I've got the sickness that most plant people have - where one thinks the plants are always thirsty. Assuming the soil is not inappropriate and the roots have room to grow in it, and that light and temp are within acceptable range, gaining control over this compulsion is what enables people to improve most of their plants, or at least not kill them. (A few plants actually like to stay soggy, and not everyone has this defect.) The soil is extremely important and although I'm in complete agreement about texture and moisture, I do things differently than most people (like putting live compost from an open pile in potted plants.) So I encourage people who grow in store-bought ingredients to follow Al's advice. A current thread, What was your 1st houseplant..., is packed with testimonials about plants killed by love in the form of too much water/inappropriate soil. Once you get a good handle on that stuff, almost any plant should thrive in your care. Your only limits would be those out of your control like climate/light level.

Ivy and Syngonium (arrowhead vine) can both be grown as dangling trailers, or upright with support of some type. Something fun to think about for plants that have a choice. Do you notice any reddish or pinkish coloring to the veins on your Syngonium. Most I've seen have some. That's all it takes (as if regular green/white variegation isn't already enough) for me to swoon over these. I have one that makes pinkish orange leaves that fade to "plain" green/white as they age. It will be spring before I need to determine if that should be left to hang or given a support to climb.

"you'll find yourself concerned with Other people's plants almost as much as your own!" No doubt man! It's terrible when someone gets something interesting going and then disappears. Not only are you worried about them and their issue, you're dying to know what happened. That's rare though. I love watching people's plants grow as they periodically post pics of them.

"Again, after repotting, mold will vanish along with gnats." Again, no doubt. And if the new soil is kept too soggy/too often, these problems can return.

"...provide the incentive they need to abandon any contrary ways." This cracked me up! How timely, too. A couple weeks ago I got sick of looking at a particularly unhappy potted spider plant and don't really want to unleash more of this thing in the yard, and have given enough of this rampant weed away to start several other infestations already (and I can always dig up more if I find myself with empty pots,) so I put it upside-down on top of a compost pile and kind of pushed it down a bit. Sunday I went to put stuff on that pile and that spider plant had righted itself (although I'd be willing to concede that a squirrel,...

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 12:52PM
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tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

I did pot all th plants originally in 9 inch pots. Then I realized that the ivy and arrowhead were too small for those pots so I put the arrowhead in a 6 and the ivy in a 4.

I took pictures and plan to post a thread about all of them

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 2:37PM
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Tiff, would you happen to remember how much space was between the rootball and 9" pots? A guess will do.

In your original thread, you said 'everything' died off, etc'
All your plants died or just the ivy?

Ivy isn't the easiest plant when grown indoors. Especially during winter once heat is turned on.

Do you have a cool room where your Ivy can over-winter?
Ivy, in a hot, stuffy room attracts spider mites.
Ivy is one plant that needs daily spraying and weekly showering w/a drop of dish soap. Indirect light is fine.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 3:09PM
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tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

Everything on the Ivy died off. I have NO idea how much room was between the rootball and the pot. I am in the process of posting pics of all the plants. I started with the rubber tree. The thread is called "is there a fungus among us".

The rest to follow.

I just threw away the ivy clippings. Unfortunately I feel I have bigger things to deal with than this plant rooting. Especially if you say it is hard to grow. The room where ivy was is always warm. We have the ceiling fan going most hours of the day because it is warm there.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 5:19PM
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Tiff, that's too bad. But, like you said, the ivy was the least of your worries.

Many here won't bother buying ivy because they're difficult and attract insects.

The ceiling fan would have helped, but it doesn't matter now. I'm sorry you lost it..

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 7:55PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

My condolences also.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 8:32PM
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