Dropping Leaves. Dying? Help!

deannaternesNovember 5, 2013

My favorite houseplant is dying-I think. I've attached a photo- I don't know what kind of plant it is, only that I love it! It keeps dropping leaves. I don't think I'm overwatering. Is it lack of light, maybe?

How do I save her?!?

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I don't know much about this particular plant. It's known as a "Zebra Plant," (Aphelandra squarrosa). I found this article on Wikipedia (I know, not the best information source sometimes), but it does provide a little bit of care information.

"This plant likes lots of light, but not direct. It does not bloom often, but it can be encouraged to bloom by prolonged daily exposure to light. It is also very sensitive to moisture content; too much or too little water will cause the lower leaves to brown and fall off. It likes to be kept moist but not wet. On average needs small amounts of water often rather than a thorough watering once in a while. The plant flourishes when the temperature is in the range of 18-21ðC (65-70ðF); and will suffer if the temperature drops below 15ðC (60ðF) for a prolonged period" (Wikipedia- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphelandra_squarrosa).

I've never grown one personally, I do remember reading in a plant book that they're not the easiest of plants, and like higher humidity, neither of which I care for in a plant. If anyone else knows more about this plant, hopefully they will chime in, but perhaps at least, that information has provided you something. :)

A couple of questions about your plant though:
1. How long have you had it?
2. Where is it currently (i.e., an office, your basement, your livingroom)?
3. How much light is it currently receiving (i.e., is it near your livingroom couch away from a window, is it right next to a South window, it gets 4 hours of direct sun, etc).
4. I suspect you repotted, when you repotted, what soil did you use (custom made soil, miracle gro)?
5. How big was the rootball when you repotted (say, when you put in in a new pot, you had a lot of space between the rootball and the rest of the pot, or it was pretty snug when you repotted)?
6. How often do you water (do you let it go bone dry and water again, or do you water on a schedule, possibly not allowing it to dry out some between waterings)?

I know, a lot of questions, but I think someone is bound to ask some of those. It helps in figuring out you care of the plant and how to "adjust" your care. If we know you put it in front of your livingroom couch where it receives no light, that would be a clue to say hey, should move it to a window, etc.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 8:15AM
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The leaf-drop can be one or a combo of things you are --or not doing.
Too much sun
Too much/too little water
Too much fertilizer
Too little humidity
A drafty location in front of windows or doors that are continually being opened/closed to air currents which causes the plant to suffer from increased/decreased temperatures on its soil and leaves
If you notice its the lower leaves--change its position to give it more light
They seldom grow back once they've dropped

Try correcting what you think might be the cause and see if the plant improves.

The plant needs much less water at this time; the amount of sunlight is fast dropping so you can generally put the plant closer to the source as the days get shorter.....then back off when February approaches

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 9:40AM
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