Calathea critical situation !!!

YuriyaaNovember 25, 2013

Hello, something crazy happened to my Calathea and I don't know what to do. The plant hasn't been watered for a week and a half and look what happened! Does anyone has an idea how can I help my plant, PLEACE?
Thank you for any help!

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jeffminifield

How dry is the soil ?

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 6:09AM
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marricgardens

I'm no expert on calatheas but when I bought mine, the tag said never to let the soil dry out completely. I have mine sitting in a pebble tray and it is doing well, I also mist it regularly. Mine is still in the original soil so I can't tell you what it is. My guess would be that yours is dry. What type of soil is it in? Marg

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 8:20AM
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Yuriyaa

I watered it since i came back. It's moist now, but the leaves wouldn't open.. The soil is a mix for the green plants. On the pack is written: ficus, yucca, palmier d'intérieur, pothos, chlorophytum, fougère.
But yes, it has dried out any soul would dry our spetially in the ceramic pot. But what can I do to save it? Put it under the lamp? I am moisting it every day cince then...

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 9:29AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

No, the lamp is just going to cook the plant, not help it. The plant is already too dry, drying it out further will likely kill it.

I'd guess the mix has hardened off like rock & will not absorb moisture (that's too much peat content). You need to investigate the mix or soil & see if this is the case. If so, you have work to do as the mix will not absorb from just spraying a bit here & there.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 11:50AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Agreed! Misting can help the soil begin to accept moisture but I wouldn't spray it much on the leaves. Do the droplets sit on top for a second before they sink into the soil? If so, that's too dry. If soil is dry and plant is wilted, that's too dry. (If soil is wilted and soil is moist, roots are rotting.) A good soaking drink of the soil, not leaves, at a sink until water comes out of the hole in the bottom should help if it really is that dry. If it was fine where it was sitting before, I'd put it back in the same spot after the drink. Suddenly baking under a lamp would not help any plant wilted from being too dry.

Hope it perks up. Looks like a very pretty one!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 12:23PM
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Yuriyaa

Wow, that's exacly what happened, the ground was dry underneath. I've changed this stupid ceramic pot with the plastic one that is just slightly bigger, hopefully this won't do bad to my poor plant and left it in water for a while so it absorbs the water. Ok, I will see if tomorow the leaves will finally open!
Thanks so mutch!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 1:31PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

If it's hardened off, you'll need to change the mix, or it'll keep happening. Sorry, it's about the type of soil being used, not the pot.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 1:40PM
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Yuriyaa

Wow, that's exacly what happened, the ground was dry underneath. I've changed this stupid ceramic pot with the plastic one that is just slightly bigger, hopefully this won't do bad to my poor plant and left it in water for a while so it absorbs the water. Ok, I will see if tomorow the leaves will finally open!
Thanks so mutch!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 2:33PM
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Yuriyaa

Ooops, Posted twice..
Do you think I can change the mix now, when hère in Europe we are going to the wintertime? I am afraid it won't survive...

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 2:35PM
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Dzitmoidonc(6)

Yuriyaa, these plants can grow in always wet soil, so sometimes the leaves die when subjected to dryness. Even if the leaves all die, keep it in a sunny place for the winter and keep it moist. It has been my experience that new leaves grow very quickly. In the summer it needs shade, but sun is ok for the short days this time of year. Bonne chance avec ta plante.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 7:55PM
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Yuriyaa

On, thank you! I will see how it goes, I love this Calathea and any other plants I have. I hope it will do good. I just still have the entire huge bag of that soil that I used for all of my plants.. Really sad that the stores are selling this kind of soil. But how do you actually know which soul won't harden? Can you give me some advices for soil contents? I use as well vermiculite and perlite, the last one helps to keep the soil without hardening. Means I will have to try out all the soils sold in different shops and find THE ONE?
Merci!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 6:28AM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

Find a quality larger nursery/greenhouse in your area that mixes their own. Often they sell their mix. Typically this is superior to the little commercial bags (in my opinion at least).

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 2:51PM
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Yuriyaa

Okaaaay!!! Nice to know.
Thank you

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 3:20PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I would encouage you to not add vermiculite since it compacts terribly. If you're into 'mixing up dirt' for pots, there are many discussions about that around GW. Basically, roots need air as well as water. If there are no tiny air holes in a pot, roots can suffocate/rot. The easiest way to avoid this is to use larger particles that can't lodge perfectly against each other, like bits of sand, clay, peat, vermiculite. Allowing soil to dry well, not just at the surface can also help if necessary.

As said, Calathea are very stressed if they get very dry, they're not cactus. So finding a way to keep it moist without rotting is more critical for these kinds of plants. Picking your plant up can help you gauge if it's dried significantly. It would feel much more heavy when just watered.

If it's common for you to be away from plants for 10 days, a bigger pot of more airy/loose soil might be a good compromise. My plants always do better if I don't pack the soil around the roots, just fill the pot loosely and let it be.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 3:34PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Pls do not use any sand AT ALL in your mixes unless the package specifically says coarse sand or construction sand (not from the playground or the beach).

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 4:29PM
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Yuriyaa

Good! I start to understand! So sand only as exception? Why do people use Vermiculite for?
Now I am going away for a month and leaving all of my garden for my bf :S
I really want to get a system for automatic humidity. Have you ever heared about this thing called Blumat? What do you think?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 7:09PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Perlite vs vermiculite.

I've never heard of Blumat. Have a good trip!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 9:00AM
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Yuriyaa

Thank you! Blumat is this: the pièce of ceramic carrot looking quite big and the wire that you put in to the water. That keeps the soil wet. :) I will try to get one tomorow and let you know how it works! :)

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 3:31PM
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