wyndrose(8)November 21, 2013

Hi I am new to this board and I have a question about two plants. Since I only have internet on my cell I might have to post a couple time to get it done. I was given two plants one the stick says it's an elephant bush and the other one I have no idea. This is the one that I don't know the name. My question is can they be saved and if so what do I need to do to save them? I have never worked with house plants all my flowers are in beds outside
Thank you for your time

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This is the one that says it's an elephant bush.
Again thank you for your time

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 9:51AM
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Wyn, Hello & Welcome.

Although you've posted a photo, 'thank you,' it's hard to tell for sure..however your plant looks like a succulent.
Are you familiar with succulents?

What size is the pot? It looks too large for such a tiny plant.
Second, soil is too wet. Unless you watered before posting the photo, if soil is kept wet for prolonged periods, they'll rot.

The only Elephant Bush I know of is Portularcaria afra. They're also succulent plants with small leaves.

Are the stems brittle? Toni

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 11:04AM
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Hey Wyndrose and weclome to the forums here!

I am not sure what the first plant is, though it reminds me of an echeveria that has grown leggy and died back. I will let someone else tackle this one that has a more positive ID.

The second plant is indeed an elephant bush(portulacaria afra). Its hard to tell, as most all the leaves are gone, but looks like it may have be a variegated one. It has so few leaves left, it may be a goner, but you can give it a try, they are very very resilient plants!

First thing to know, this is a desert plant, it likes it hot and dry. It looks over cast and cold where you are, and the potting medium looks very wet. Unless your plant is planted in the ground in a USDA zone 10 or warmer, i think it should be inside this time of year, in your warmest sunniest window.

For a plant in poor health like this, its going to have a hard time drying out a container that large before causing root rot. I would remove the plant from the pot, and clean all the old soil off the roots and lower stem and check for any rot. Any mushy roots, or soft stem. Everything should be firm. If any roots are mushy, remove them. If the stem is mushy down toward the roots, you may have to cut off all the roots and stem to a place above the rot where the stem is firm, let is callous over for a week or so, and then replant it. If all is well and there is no, or minimal root rot(that has been cut away), repot in a small pot, with new fast draining potting mix(an easy way to make a fast draining mix is to mix 1 part potting mix with 2 parts perlite).

If there is root damage and many roots are lost, you may consider pruning the branches back, that's a lot of leaves to have to regrow with a compromised root system.

So the sort list is:
Bring it inside to a warm dry location, with lots of sun.
Check for root rot, repot in a small pot with draining holes with a fast draining soil.
Consider pruning some branches back if there is much root damage.

Again, welcome to the forums, and very best of luck with your plants! Let us know what you find when you inspect the roots!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 11:47AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Agree with the above. The first one needs some direct sunshine to be optimal. I would scoop both tiny things in the 1st pic out of the pot with a spoon and put the scoops on some newspaper to dry. Then try to find something much more chunky. The stuff they sell in bags called potting soil isn't healthy for these kinds of plants because it makes so much moisture stay against the roots that they can rot easily. Cactus/succulent type plants are much more tricky in that way, though applies to all potted plants. Roots need some air as well as moisture. Simply moving to a much smaller pot would help if new soil's not an option in the direct future. A much smaller amount of the same soil would dry much more quickly. Not packing it tightly around the roots would help as well.

2nd looks like P. afra to me. It should be covered with leaves. Hopefully they didn't fall off because of some kind of pest or from rotting. Is any part of it mushy, near where it emerges from the soil?

In Z8, plants would probably like being outside during the day still, as long as it's *not* raining, but not many of the nights, definitely not if they are wet. Sitting next to an east, south or west window for winter would be fine until it stops frosting outside.

Whoever gave you these plants is obviously a kind, generous soul, but could probably use some help with their plants, if these 2 are an average representative. Both look like they're really struggling, barely alive. I don't say that to be critical or demeaning, but so you and the kind donor would both know these plants could look a lot better if they weren't struggling.

I would put these pics on the cacti/succulent forum also, definitely more experts of these kinds of plants there, of which I'm not even close, just a dabbler trying to follow their instructions.

If you keep driving around with them on the hood like that, I think they'll fall!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 12:19PM
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Thanks for the ideas yes I did just water the two plants both of them were found in a empty house the guys were cleaning. I we'll try moving them to a smaller pot.
Thank you

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 5:59AM
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