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Anthurium leaves suddenly turning brown

Posted by bmurali 9 (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 23, 11 at 21:58

Hi,

I have an anthurium that was flourishing until about a month ago, with red flowers and good leaves. Now, all of a sudden, all the leaves are turning brown and the blooms have gone away. I have some pictures on Picasa:

https://picasaweb.google.com/bmurali5128/AnthuriumAtHome?authkey=Gv1sRgCN2q6eqawa32Iw&feat=directlink

I water them twice a week and they are on regular potting soil and they get reasonable sunlight which is not direct, since there is a curtain liner in front. None of that has changed for the last one year.

So, what gives? Any ideas what is going on?

Appreciate any feedback.

Thanks.

Ciao
-- Murali


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Anthurium leaves suddenly turning brown

Murali..In the last picture, it looks like brown lumps/bumps and white flecks.
By chance, am I seeing insects? Can the brown lumps be scraped off?
Same with the white. When you brush a leaf, do you see white, flying insects? Toni


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RE: Anthurium leaves suddenly turning brown

Hi Toni,

Thanks for your reply. I checked the leaves. There are no insects on it. The brown lumps and the white flecks are both real discolourations on the leaves.

So any ideas, still?

Thanks.

Ciao
-- Murali


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RE: Anthurium leaves suddenly turning brown

Since most of the country experienced extreme temps this winter, my first question concering your Anthurium would be to ask if it might have experienced chilly temps or drafts in its location next to the window. In addition to fairly strong light, high humidity and constantly moist (but well-drained) soil, Anthuriums require warmth. Also, when watering Anthuriums, always use tepid to warm water.

Your photos caused me to wonder if you had repotted your Anthurium into a container that was much larger than the one it came in. This is a plant that definitely prefers crowded roots.

Because of their requirements, the sad fact is that Anthuriums just aren't terrific as house plants. I happen to love the pink-flowering ones, but I toss them when they begin to decline. If you can maintain them long enough, they often begin to trail. At that point, I find them to be much less attractive, so I consider that development another reason to start over.


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RE: Anthurium leaves suddenly turning brown

Jax, if you're talking about frostbite, leaves usually turn gray/black.
You're not kidding when you say Anthuriums are difficult as house plants. I'm always soaking, 'underpotted' in warm, soapy water, spraying, flushing..lol..

Murali, it could be a Salt-Damage problem. How often do you fertlize, what type (chemical or organic) and do you ever flush soil?? Toni


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RE: Anthurium leaves suddenly turning brown

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 24, 11 at 16:35

There is a drain hole in your container? When you water, are you able to fully saturate the soil so that at least 10-15% of the total volume of water applied exits the drain hole? Have you recently fertilized? With what? How often?

Odds favor the issue as being related to (a water-retentive) soil choice and/or watering habits. Maintaining plants in good health requires a soil that allows good watering habits w/o raising the specter of root rot. If you ARE using a soil that is too water-retentive to allow good watering practices, it is essential for best health that you flush the soil of accumulating salts on a regular basis.

Al


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RE: Anthurium leaves suddenly turning brown

Hi,

Thanks everyone for your responses. I'll answer all questions together, otherwise it can create confusion. So here goes:

1. The anthurium did great over the summer, with at least a dozen red blooms.

2. I did repot it and it was a larger pot, but that was over a year ago (beginning of 2010) and it actually flourished after that. My wife thought I was doing some magic.

3. I use regular potting mix and the pot does have a hole at the bottom and sits on a tray. I used to water until I see water come out, but that has, in the past and with other plants, always meant overwatering. So I just water a fixed amount. I do see a small quantity of water come out into the tray.

4. I have never flushed the soil. Ho do I do that? It is worth a try? Is that how I take care of salt damage? Someone told me that may be the issue, but in a different context of browning leaves. So any advise?

5. Also, I was told that I could use the same fertilizer as used for orchids. So I just mix a very small quantity of it with water and water this and my orchid twice a week.

Based on the above, do you think I'm over or underwatering? Not fertilizing enough? Or need to do a flush?

Let me know.

Thanks fort the feedback so far.

Ciao
-- Murali


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RE: Anthurium leaves suddenly turning brown

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 24, 11 at 20:16

If you don't (or can't) flush the soil regularly when you water, the build-up of solubles (salts) in the soil is assured. As the level of salt in the soil increases, it becomes increasingly difficult for the plant to take up water and nutrients. High salt levels are also toxic to roots. In addition, the reduced rootage, and transpiring surface area above ground means less water usage and increased danger of over-watering.

The easiest fix for problems like this it to prevent it from occurring in the first place by using a soil that will allow you to water correctly, virtually making over-watering and solubles build-up both non-issues. I think if you make that your goal, you can make some pretty big strides forward in your ability to keep your plants happy.

For now, Here is what I would suggest you do:

Move the tree to where you can flush the pot thoroughly - in the tub or shower is great. Saturate the soil with room temperature water and wait 10 minutes. Then, flush the soil with a volume of water at least equal to the volume of the container it's in .... 5-10 times - the more the better. This helps remove accumulating solubles (salt build-up) from the soil. After it stops draining, remove the tree from the pot & set it on newspaper over night. The paper will 'pull' excess water from the soil. Return it to the same pot next day.

Wait to water until a wood dowel stuck deep into the soil comes out clean & dry. When it needs it's first watering after the flush, fertilize with a 1/2 recommended strength of MG 24-8-16 or 12-4-8, or Foliage-Pro 9-3-6 (my favorite).

I suggest you add a wick to the pot for now. The wick will help excess water drain & allow you to water properly. You'll need to arrange for the pot to be ABOVE a collection saucer when you water, with the wick dangling below the bot 2-3", but NOT touching the effluent that collects in the saucer. When you water - use enough water so at least 10-15% of the total volume of water you apply exits the drain or drips off the wick. This keeps solubles from accumulating in the soil. You can learn more about why how water behaves in container soils here. If you absorb the information in this thread, it will stay with you and help you with your container gardening from now on.

Any questions you have before you flush the soil and fertilize are welcome. Do you understand how the wick will help you? If you're still interested - I'll help you get set up so you can water properly until you can repot. Repotting is different from potting up, in that repotting includes bare-rooting, a soil change, and root pruning.

Take care.

Al


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RE: Anthurium leaves suddenly turning brown

Hi Al,

Thanks for the tip. I'll try doing what you mention. I do know how the wick is supposed to work. I'll get back to you through the forum if I have any more questions.

Thanks.

Ciao
-- Murali


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RE: Anthurium leaves suddenly turning brown

First, please understand that altho there are many, many forms of Anthurium, NONE of them is a tree. Some of them are epiphytic and grow ON trees; others use aerial roots to grow UP trees, but no Anthurium is a tree.

Having viewed the photographs of your plant, and having tended many Anthuriums myself over the years, I feel that the only fair thing to do is to give you an honest assessment: My opinion is that your plant is now beyond recovery. Regardless of whatever complicated ministrations you shower on your Anthurium, it will never again resemble the plant that you purchased & brought into your home.

If you were to return the plant immediately to the controlled greenhouse environment where it thrived before being sold to you, perhaps it might slowly recover, but at this point, even that is doubtful. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but I hope to spare you the waste of time and effort.


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RE: Anthurium leaves suddenly turning brown

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 24, 11 at 23:38

I copy pasted the reply, which is pretty standard procedure for plants suspected of suffering from high levels of solubles in the soil, from a post I recently left on the fig forum. Obviously, I didn't proof close enough or I would have substituted the word 'plant' for 'tree'. I beg a pardon for the oversight.
If the plant is still viable, which it appears to be, there is no reason that with proper care it can't be nursed back to it's optimum health within the limits of the cultural influences under which it's being grown. I look at it as a challenge. Having had a hand in the full recovery of many dozens of plants that were circling the drain, I can attest that there is a good measure of personal satisfaction for the grower that tries and succeeds in bringing a plant back from the brink, but first one has to remain positive and try; .... no 'attaboys' for giving up.

Do keep us posted please, Murali, if you decide to try to nurture your plant back to health.

Al


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RE: Anthurium leaves suddenly turning brown

Hi folks,

Thanks for your diligent efforts to help me. I agree with Al in that I take it up as a challenge. Of course, jaxondel may be speaking the truth, having had the ignominy of killing other plants due to a lack of care (such as a lovely calathea that just withered and died). So, I'll just try some simple ways to get rid of the salt. If it works, well and good. If not, then it would have been a learning experience.

Thanks all. And, yes, hope to post some updates, good or bad, in a month's time.

Ciao
-- Murali


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RE: Anthurium leaves suddenly turning brown

Murali. That's great. All you can do is try, which is most important.
BTW, don't toss your Calathea just yet. Place in a semi-bright, 'no direct sun,' spot. You'll be surprised how many times some of mine Cals lost leaves, then a month or so later, discovered new growth sprouting.
I use a product called Superthrive, which contains 50 Vitamins and Hormones..it helps with stressed plants.

When you have time, post more pics..I'd like to see how your plant is coming along. Good luck, Toni


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RE: Anthurium leaves suddenly turning brown

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 1, 11 at 14:46

Murali - Please do post pictures of the progress. I would observe, however, that your plant is past the point where anything short of your intervention with the express purpose of ensuring that salts are eliminated from the soil and a favorable water:air balance returned to the soil (with a heavy emphasis on the volume of air) will probably prove to be futile.

Your last comment indicates you're on the right track.

Best luck.

Al


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