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Suddenly plant is drowning-- why, and is it saveable?

Posted by lucilleclifton Zone 4 (My Page) on
Sun, May 13, 12 at 11:55

About 4 years ago when we bought our house the neighbor gave me some house plant cuttings that have grown and flourished. One of them (sorry, do not recall name) is a thirsty one. If it is not watered every week it droops quickly. I've been able to keep it pretty happy most of the time. 2 years ago I repotted it into something larger and it was able to hold up even better between waterings.

So all the sudden this week I noticed it was drooping. I had just watered it last Sunday so I was surprised. I gave it a sip of water mid-week and waited to see if it would perk up. This morning it looked done for. I took a closer look and saw the pot is FILLED with water! My poor plant is drowning.

I dumped the excess water out and have it sitting on its rack to recover. Two questions:

1. What would cause the pot to suddenly stop draining? As I was pouring out the excess water the soil actually separated from the edge a bit and I can see it's not root bound, so that's not it.

2. Can this be fixed? The plant is so extremely stressed right now I'm afraid repotting it will kill it surely. What can I do other than pouring off the water and waiting to see if it recovers?

Thanks for any advice.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Suddenly plant is drowning-- why, and is it saveable?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, May 13, 12 at 15:30

It really doesn't matter what made the soil stop draining. You have little choice other than to stand by and rely on hope and change while it continues to decline, or take a proactive stance, unpot the plant, & inspect the roots, which will assuredly give you a better indication of how salvable the plant is than we can from afar. It's likely you'll find a lot of roots that are rotten, in which case you'll need to bare root and prune affected roots back to sound tissue before repotting into a soil that ensures you can water freely w/o worrying about relapse.


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