Help - peace lilly - funeral basket

jbrock183October 25, 2011

Please Help! My grandmother recently passed away and among the plants I took home from the funeral was a peace lilly which was in a basket with other plants (which I will mwntion and ask about soon). The peace lilly eventually had droopy leaves that have turned into an ugly shade of wilted green and dried brown. To save the other plants I removed the peace lilly and later placed in a window after cutting off all the leaves within 2 inches from the roots. Can I save this plant? Please tell me its possible.

Other plants in the basket (and another) were what I "believe to be a spider plant??? Paradise palm? Philodendron, dieffenbachia, croton, ivy, and syngonium. Some look over watered and some appear to be drying out. They are all young plants. Do I need to repot each og them individually? Should I keep some of them together? What size of pots should I start them out in???

I know nothing about house plant care. What can I do?

Also, I have a rubber tree plant (also from the funeral). Beautiful with lots of leaves at first. But now most of the leaves have fallen off except for a couple smaller shoots with beautiful growing leaves. It has 3 thick stems/branches now bare of any leaves. What do I do about this rubber tree plant?

Please help me!

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I hope you'll take the time to read this rather long post that addresses the most important basics. Pay particular attention to the parts that relate to watering and your choice of soil, because this is where a very large % of the problems arise with a newcomer to plant care at the helm. While, if you get the right advice; you can sometimes reverse a trend and/or 'fix' things that are heading south, it's a lot easier and more rewarding to get it right from the beginning, so you don't have to deal with trying to guess at which adverse conditions are causing what limitations.

When it comes to growing houseplants well, the old axiom 'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' is probably nowhere truer.


Here is a link that might be useful: Much more if you click me .......

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 5:06PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

My mother passed last month and I have the plants that were sent. I was surprised to find out that they did not have roots. It looks like they took plants and cut them and stuffed them in soil and put moss on top.

They were beautiful the first 2 weeks and then they all started to drop the leaves. I found out what was done when I removed one of the plants from the pot and then I took the entire arrangements apart and found all the plants were cuttings and not plants.

Please be sure they are plants and not cuttings before you start to feel you are killing plants. If they are cuttings you can do a search on GW or google how to root each plant.

There are 6 plants (plant cuttings) in this pot.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 6:32PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Marquest, wow that's good info, I had no idea about such practices. What have you got there? I see palm, Dieffenbachia, Philo, Croton...?

jbrock, if you're wanting some plant pairs, these are ones I would feel confident about in regard to plant needs and appearance (assuming the ivy is Hedera helix):

Philodendron or ivy to trail down from the pot of Dieffenbachia, Croton, or palm.

Dief with Syngonium.

The spider would probably be best alone, but these things are subjective to personal opinion. Once it makes babies, you can add them to other pots if you feel like there are "blank/empty" spots.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 9:49AM
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Luckily all my plants have roots. Thank all of you. This has all been very helpful

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 1:20PM
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I will be potting these plants today. The croton has lost all its leaves except for the very top one which is surprisingly vibrant and healthy... Any helpful hints?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 8:51AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Put it on top of a bookshelf and overwater it. When it gets spider mites, don't use a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol to remove them. Oh wait, you wanted hints to keep it ALIVE? Hope somebody else comes along...! This is not at all helpful but I'm amusing myself. Sorry!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 9:59AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I would put the Croton in a small pot and put a plastic bag over it. It had a small amount of roots not much and about two leaves.

Good Luck with your plant. I know I am going to need luck since mine were cuttings.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 10:50AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

The croton and the rubber tree need lots of sun. The philodendron and the peace lily should not be in the sun. The peace lily likes lots of water and then lots of water. It grew inside a water fountain where I used to work and it was under water all the time. It loved it. They are probably going thourgh shock from being in different light and different watering than what they had before you got them.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 2:06PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

If one's going to give the plants lots of sun, if they weren't getting a lot before, please introduce them to it gradually, like a few hours a day or they're likely to burn.

Personally, I'd give these 2 plants (Croton & Ficus) lots of bright indirect light, rather than direct sun (& I do grow both these plants).

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 1:51PM
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I just want to say to purpleinopp - are you really amused! These are plants from my grandmothers funeral... Otherwise I would not be bothering to save them. What a jerk!! You need help

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 8:06PM
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Should I cut off the bare branches on the rubber tree?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 4:34AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

We haven't seen these plants have we?

You might as well, cut off the bare branches, they're not helping the plant any.

Sorry, Jbrock, condolences on your loss.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 11:18AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Hey, wow! Out of concern for your plants, I came in to see how things were going, and see if you got any what to do advice to counter my what not to do advice. I obviously didn't know what to tell you on the Croton questions since I've only had one and it died. Since I had involved myself in the discussion already, I felt compelled to acknowledge your question, and thought the way I phrased my genuine what-not-to-do advice was simply more interesting that way instead of just saying "don't do this."

When I first read your words, "What a jerk!" my inner child said, "Nuh-uh, you are!" as anyone's would. But the teenager inside was shaken and asked, "Really? I am?" I know you meant it when you said it and that "counts." the adult who runs the show told the child that's not nice or true and even if it was which it probably isn't, we most certainly know nowhere near enough about this nameless internet stranger to make such a declaration. Then I assured the teenager that it's indeed possible to offend completely inadvertently when one interacts with others, and the odds go way up when one thinks they are being funny. So, by other people's definition, you can be a jerk even if you were not trying to be.

I'm sorry, you most obviously didn't appreciate what I said as the joke it was meant to be, only this and nothing more. I hope you will accept my sincere apology for causing you any discomfort. It never occurred to me that what I said could be problematic. I was admitting I only know how to kill a Croton, not how to keep one alive. I was tearing myself up just for the sake of humor. If we were face-to-face instead of on the internet, you would have known that. So sorry my sentiments didn't translate effectively into print. Of course you want to save these plants, and you have my every wish for that go go well!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 2:05PM
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My condolences on losing your grandma. :( Here is my advice based on my personal experiences with these plants (I've grown most of the ones you mentioned)...
First, I would suggest repotting all the plants into individual pots. Small pots, a little bigger than the root mass for the plants.
The reason I suggest that is that if the plant is in a small pot WITH DRAINAGE HOLES IN THE BOTTOM (a must), it will make it easier to avoid overwatering.
With the exception of a few plants that love moisture, overwatering will kill most plants faster than anything else - because the soggy soil smothers the roots and makes them rot.
Underwatering will also kill plants of course, but not as fast as rot will. It is easier to save an underwatered plant than one that is rotting from too much water.

For Crotons, a combination of SUNSHINE and HUMIDITY seems to be the key thing. When I got my croton last winter, I put it on top of my aquarium (so the evaporating aquarium water will keep it humid) directly in front of a western window. It seems to like that.
I would suggest putting your croton in an unobstructed East, West or South facing window if you can (north windows don't give enough light). I would also suggest putting it right on the windowsill - even being a few feet from the window drastically reduces the amount of light it gets.

For humidity, if you don't have an aquarium handy, you can try raising humidity by sitting it on a tray of pebbles with some water sitting in the bottom of the tray (the pebbles are to keep the pot from sitting DIRECTLY in water, which would let water seep into the pot and keep the soil too soggy).

Check how moist the soil is with your finger every day and water it when the soil starts to dry out. As said above, don't water it so often that the soil always stays soggy, but if you wait too long to water it the plant will likely drop leaves. If you pay attention to how moist it is every day until you get the hang of things, it will be okay.
For a rubber tree, don't panic just because it dropped the leaves. It doesn't mean that the plant is going to die. All Ficus plants (the rubber tree is a kind of ficus) drop leaves very easily when they are under any kind of stress.
I would suggest putting it in a sunny location (again, East, West, or Southern window if possible). It doesn't seem to care as much about humidity as the croton does. I'd just water it when the soil dries out, and when you water it I'd suggest putting it in the bathtub and letting the shower spray over it for a few minutes to clean off the leaves (to clean off any dust and discourage spider mites, which like to attack rubber trees)
As mentioned above, Rubber trees can burn if they are put in direct sun too rapidly when they're not used to it, but once they get used to it, they love being in as much sun as they can get. The rubber tree I have spent the summer outside where it received direct southern sunshine all summer. After it adapted to the light, it thrived. It looked gorgeous when I brought it in for the winter.

For dieffenbachia: Most people consider this a pretty easy plant to keep.
Dieffenbachia doesn't seem to mind low light, so if you have a north facing window, go ahead and put it there. Water it when the soil dries out. In my experience, it doesn't seem to care about humidity levels.
If you have any kids or pets, be careful and put it somewhere that they cannot reach it. Dieffenbachia is notorious for having nasty toxins in its leaves that can cause mouth irritation/swelling if a child or pet were to eat it.
I'd also suggest washing your hands if you get any of its sap on your hands when you pot it. But as long as you don't get the sap in your mouth, it's harmless.

Peace lily: It's hard to say if it will live or not without having seen what it looked like before you cut it back. Sometimes plants that wilt from not getting enough water can be saved if you start watering them again, but after a certain point they get past the point of recovery and there is nothing that can be done.
If I were you, I'd put it in a northern or eastern window and water it for a few weeks to give it a chance to recover. Maybe it will put out some more growth. Peace lily does seem to be thirstier than a lot of other plants, so I'd be careful about not forgetting to water it - but again, don't let the soil stay constantly soggy; let it dry out a little between waterings. Just don't let it get bone dry between waterings.

Philodendron: Is it the vine kind of philo? If it is, that should be a fairly easy plant to keep too. It can tolerate low light so it can be ok in a north window too. Water it when it dries out. If you have long vines, you can try clipping the ends of the vines off an putting them in a glass of water to root them and make more plants (whcih might be a good way to make backup plants until you get the watering down pat).
I wouldn't bother trying to take cuttings if the philo is very small though.

Spider plant: Are you sure it's a spider plant? Some types of Dracaena look similar and are often used in these kinds of baskets.
Assuming it's a spider plant, it should do ok in low light too (though it would probably prefer an eastern window if it can get it). Again, it is pretty tolerant of just being watered when it dries out.

Paradise palm: Could it be a Parlor palm? I've seen Parlor palms used a lot in this kind of basket too. They are supposed to be easy plants as well but I hesitate to give advice because I've killed several of them. They are supposed to tolerate low light and seem to be another plant that likes humidity in my experience, but I'll let someone else give you the detailed advice about them.

Hope this advice helps you. Hope some of the plants survive.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 8:09PM
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