What do Ming Aralia require?

kntryhuman(Louisiana Z-8)December 28, 2010

I bought a Ming Araila about 2 months ago and can't figure out what this plant wants. I've never had problems with indoor or outdoor plants so it's very frustrating.

The plant keeps dropping leaves. Most of the time, the leaves are green but some are yellow. It has even dropped an entire stem once or twice.

I let the soil dry out before watering and then only water enough to wet the top 1" or so of soil.

The plant sits in a corner of our bedroom in front of a North facing window and 4 East facing French doors. There is no draft except for the ceiling fans.

After reading here, the only thing I can attribute this to is possibly repotting it about 1 1/2 months ago. The pot is slightly larger than the pot it came in but not by much.

I've always loved this plant and was ecstatic when I finally found one. Please give me some tips on growing this finicky plant.

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Kntry,

Not sure what the problem is, but I don't understand your watering technique. Watering 'til just the top 1" is wet, is that right? So how does the rootball get any water?

Here, when we water, we suggest (for non-succulents) to water until one sees water coming out the drainage hole, then to discard the overflow.

Pls. tell me the pot you're using has a drainage hole, that is an absolute MUST! I would also put the pot on a pebble tray to help increase its humidity, which a healthy Ming would appreciate.

These plants can drop leaves very readily, sometimes just from adapting to a new environment.

Am guessing it's a drainage problem. Has it gotten better or worse since you brought it home? Are the dropped leaves dry & brittle at all?

I wouldn't have repotted it, they don't seem to like that much (& not that you've done this, but) they don't like overpotting either. Did you check out the roots when you repotted? How were they?

What kind of mix are you using? Is it very peaty mix? Could it have hardened off such that the water just runs down the inside of the pot w/out really wetting the inner rootball? These plants benefit from fast draining mix, lots of perlite (or pumice).

I'm not familiar with those exposures (I only have west windows), but the light they like is bright, indirect. I doubt the ceiling fan is a problem unless it's directly above the plant.

Until you figure out what's wrong, I'd take a pencil & poke holes down into the mix around outer edges the plant, next to the rim of the pot. Next time you water, water down into these holes to ensure that water gets into the actual rootball where it can do some good.

Any chance your watering water is too cold? Am out of ideas for now.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 1:42PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Yes, with that watering technique your plant could be suffering badly from drought conditions! Water should never be given in little sips, but in big drenches. If you have the right kind of potting soil, all of the EXCESS water will drain away quite rapidly.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 4:05PM
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kntryhuman(Louisiana Z-8)

Maybe it's the way I'm watering it. When it started dropping leaves, I started researching and found that they don't like a lot of water and should only be watered when the top layer of soil dries out. All the other plants are watered till the water runs out the bottom.

I also put this plant in a pot without a drain hole but put gravel in the bottom of the pot. I'll put holes in the pot tomorrow with a saucer under it.

The leaves that drop are usually bright, soft green. It was worse after watering, that's why I thought I was giving it too much water.

Now that I've repotted it, there's nothing I can do but hope for the best.

Thanks for the advice.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 6:32PM
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Go to Lowes and buy a piece of 1" pvc pipe - you need the pipe to extend the full height of the pot PLUS 6". You will also need a funnel to fit in the end of the pvc pipe.

Take the pipe and drill small holes up and down 2 of the sides to the LEVEL of the soil. Insert it as close to the center of the pot as possible without damaging the roots. Mix some epsom salts in luke warm water, insert the funnel, and pour the mixture into the tube until water drains out the bottom of the pot.

Let the plant sit in the drained water for 30 minutes, then dump out the excess. Don't water again until the soil feels dry when you INSERT YOUR FINGER into the soil up to your hand.

I have found this to be the best way to water plants and the pipe will aide in oxygen reaching the roots.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 9:08AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Kay,

Can you say pls. what benefit the Epsom Salts will provide the plant & also suggest a ratio for mixing it up?

Why the pipe, why not just a pencil or a dowel (also for someone w/out a drill, I can't do as you suggest)?


    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 11:22AM
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