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dying philodendron

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
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by Wildpup on February 13, 2004 06:24 AM
So I am a horrible plant owner... I left my philodendron in a room with no heat and very low light, and haven't watered it all winter. I'm amazed it is still alive! But it is in really bad condition. Many of the leaves have dried up and fallen off. The rest are yellow and lifeless. It doesn't even appear to have any new growth. I feel really bad and I really want to bring this plant back to life.

Now, I really don't know anything about indoor plants, but this is what I did. I brought it into a heated room, repotted it in fresh soil and started watering it (but being careful not to overwater). It is now hanging near a curtained window receiving moderate light. But it still looks pretty bad. Is there anything else I can do?? Please help me save this poor plant!

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by Jiffymouse on February 13, 2004 07:37 AM
[wayey] welcome wildpup [wayey] you have the right idea. the only other thing i would do is cut it back to just a leaf or two on each stem. that is because anything yellow and lifeless will not come back, but if you do that, it can put its energy into getting its roots healthy and putting out new foliage. keep us posted, but know that this is a long shot.
by Newt on February 13, 2004 08:00 PM
Hi Wildpup,
Great advice from Jiffymouse. It really is best to cut the plant back so the weakened roots won't have to support extra top growth. It will need some time to recover the root system before it will put out new growth. Take a look at this site for some helpful hints on houseplants.

http://www.ourgardengang.com/houseplants.htm

Good luck with your philodendron,
Newt

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When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.
by Will Creed on February 14, 2004 11:00 PM
Because the temps were low and the light was dim, it is possible that your Philodendron may survive what would ordinarily be death-producing drought.

The key is the condition of the roots. If there was enough warmth and moisture to keep some of the roots barely alive, then it may recover. If all of the roots died, then there is no hope for it.

Plants under stress shed older leaves and stems so that the roots will have less to support. So the dead leaves and stems are not adding any stress to the plant. However, you may as well remove them because they are unsightly and they will not recover.

The repotting, however, may have added stress to the roots. I mention this for future reference or for others. It is never a good idea to repot a plant that is sick or under stress. Likewise, fertilizing ailing plants is not a good idea.

With good light and proper watering, your plant should show small signs of new growth within the next month if the roots are still viable. If not, I am afraid you will have to discard the plant.

Good luck with it!
by Wildpup on February 18, 2004 07:04 AM
Good news!

I cut back a lot to only one or two leaves on a stem. I'm still not sure about those stems, but I did discover one small stem with two VERY healthy looking leaves and what looks to be new growth. If all the other stems are hopeless, at least I still have that one.

Thanks for the advice!

Also, on a side note, I just bought three new plants -- song of india, janet craig, and a croton. I've vowed to take very good care of these new babies (perhaps to assuage some lingering guilt).

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by njoynit on February 18, 2004 06:32 PM
and they can take cool condions when are healthy fertile plants. grow mine in a cold green houseenviroment it is kinda leggy looking but is with florecent shop lights it will perk up real soon when hangs outdoors again next month.

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by Will Creed on February 21, 2004 11:59 PM
Wildup,

Be sure that your Croton gets lots of direct sun and don't let it dry out. Your Janet Craig is a good low light plant that needs protection from any direct sunlight. The Song of India is a medium light plant that does best in bright indirect lght or with a few hours of direct sun.

I apologize if you already knew all of that.

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