Help! all my plants look sick(photos)

tashi2013December 12, 2013

Hi,
All my houseplants are looking sick, the leaves are wilting and the growth is stunted, I have repotted them all, I was told that I am over watering so I stopped that but nothing is improving there condition, please help!

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tashi2013

I have uploaded more photos

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 2:29PM
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tashi2013

And another

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 2:32PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

What kind of potting soil do you use? It looks rather mucky.

Thea bad thing about over watering is that if root rot has set in (and yours look very suspicious), the damage is done and can't be fixed by appropriate watering.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 3:55PM
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tashi2013

I used miacle gro potting mix from Lowes

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 4:14PM
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tashi2013

I used miacle gro potting mix from Lowes

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 4:17PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Unfortunately, Miracle Grow holds a LOT of moisture, making it rather difficult not to overwater your plants. The first plant is a Dieffenbachia, I believe. I think it would do better in a smaller pot for the time being, in a different mix.

The second plant is Alocasia amazonica. It will die back if it doesn't stay warm and get enough sun during the Winter. In many places, they lose all leaves and then grow back in the Summer. This one, too, would benefit from a better mix.

The last plant I don't know, but the advice is the same. Of course, this is not a good time of year to re-pot plants, but that's the best thing to do for them. If you MUST use a mix like Miracle Grow, add at least 60% Perlite (rinsed, no dust). This will reduce the moisture holding capacity of the mix.

Good luck!

Josh

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 9:06PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The problem with MG pottng medium is not only that it holds a lot of water, but due to its mucky texture, it cannot provide access to a ready supply of available oxygen.....even when it dries out. Oxygen, at the root zone, is just as important as water to the plant.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 5:35AM
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pal123(z6 MASS)

I agree that they might be better off in smaller pots. You might try taking them out of the pots to look at the root ball. In my experience, the pot should only be no more than an inch larger than the root ball. Also, it's hard to be certain from the photos,but I wonder if you might pull some of the soil away from the base of the plants. It's looks like they are sitting a little low into the soil. The last one looks like anthurium. Mine likes to never dry out and only likes indirect sun. Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 4:00PM
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grrr4200(z3 MI)

I've used Miracle grow potting soil for over a decade.... never had a problem of super water retention. I will admit that i've gotten a bag or two i didnt use because it just didnt 'look' right but have never had a problem with root rot and the like. I guess what it comes down to is starting with proper watering technique. I do though, agree with many of the above statements. check out the roots. get these guys in smaller pots

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 12:12AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

If you're using a chunky, porous, airy soil, root rot is not a concern, nor pot size. Bagged potting soil is known for its' predominance of tiny particles, which lodge together with no air spaces betwen them, takes forever to dry out. This is what overwatering means but it's not your fault. It's the soil holding too much moisture, so the problem is really underdrying. This is where myths about pot size and 'likes to be rootbound' come from.

If there are no tiny particles in a pot, there will be air pockets and it will dry soooo much faster. People who lose plants because they forget to water would have a hard time with this, (and nothing to fix except to try to remember to water a little more often,) but if you're the more common 'overwatering' type, this can mean the difference between plants that stay alive vs. those that die. I used to kill plants by 'overwatering' too until learning how to fix things through the great info here at GW.

Roots can't survive sitting in soggy, dense, airless soil. To fix that, we need to give them something much more chunky, porous, airy. Many address the problem by adding a significant amount of perlite to bagged potting soils, which helps but is still not ideal because the tiny particles are still there, around the perlite, with no air between them. Ideally, the tiny particles should not be in a pot at all. Dealing with it by 'not overwatering' is done successfully by millions of people, but those who like to water plants often are just going to kill them without a great mix of no tiny particles. Most plants can survive getting too dry once in a while. OTOH, getting soppy wet too often in a 'soil' that makes that possible, and taking forever to dry out is fatal to most.

I might recommend an alternative source of water other than tap water, such as rain, melted snow, condensate from dehumidifier or A/C, distilled. It makes a huge difference if tap water is making a plant visibly ill (which it usually does over time.) Yellow, chlorotic leaves are not attractive.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 8:23AM
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terrene(5b MA)

I've used one of those moisture meters for over 20 years, and when it's watering time I check each plant. I only water if the soil is dry or almost dry all the way to the bottom of the pot. This seems to prevent an over-watering problem because the house plants are thriving, even when using a not-so-chunky mix.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 11:49PM
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phal_pal

What they said. Plus, if I were you, I'd cut off those yellow leaves. They will never turn back green and are just making your plants look sad. Let us know how things turn out.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 5:56AM
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