Crunchy brown leaves

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by parkhurstohana, Jan 7, 2004.

  1. parkhurstohana

    parkhurstohana Member

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    I hate to bother everyone with two posts on the same forum, but I feel blessed to have found this site and I have one other plant that is giving me problems.

    This is a creeping charlie (pretty sure). I have two of them, bought at the same time, same place. They are both growing very well except that about once a month I find them covered in brownish-black leaves. I pick all the dead leaves off and by the time 30 days rolls around they are covered again.

    I don't know what's causing this - the plant is otherwise healthy - nothing noted on the underside of the leaves, nothing in the soil. I've moved them around the house a bit but no difference.

    As you can see in the pictures below, the leaves are still healthy, shiny green on the top but are crunchy brown on the bottom. Eventually the whole leaf will be this way and fall off. I gave my mom a cutting and it rooted well and was off to a great start, but one by one the leaves turned brown and the whole thing died (I guess because it could only stand to lose a few leaves being a new plant).

    Anyone that could shed some light on this would be most appreciated!
     

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  2. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Active Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    From the leaves and the overall "look" of the plant, I'd say you're over-watering it. This is probably exacerbated by not enough light (when plants do not receive enough light, they can't process as much water as they would under optimal conditions). Sometimes, especially in a dry, overheated environment with low light levels, it is nearly impossible to grow some kinds of plants. Try it in the brightest, coolest position you can find and only water when the whole root mass begins to dry out (you can usually tell by hefting the whole pot).
     
  3. parkhurstohana

    parkhurstohana Member

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    Overwatering?


    Hmmm... I'm not sure. The plants are hung in front of sunny windows and I actually thought maybe I was underwatering them - I wait until the pot feels light and the soil dry before I water them.

    Maybe the condition of the plant and leaves can be caused by the opposite? Too much light and too little water?
     
  4. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Active Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    Too much light and too little water is also a definite possibility. Typically, however, under-watering usually causes yellowing and immediate leaf drop, especially of the older leaves. Serious drought will often cause die-back of the youngest leaves and root death, which then usually causes syptoms of over-watering (spotty, droopy, dull-yellow leaves) when moisture is reapplied to the dead roots. By far, the most common houseplant problems (particularly at this time of year as light levels are low and the house environment is hot and dry) are caused by overwatering. Either way (too much or too little water), the roots are probably affected.

    Another possibility is too much fertilizer. Especially where roots have already been damaged, applied fertilizer will burn roots. This will usually show up on the leaves as a marginal necrosis (tissue death). Fertilizer, like water, is only processed by healthy, actively growing roots.

    Check the roots. White tips usually indicate healthy roots. Brown, dry or water-soaked roots without actively growing tips usually indicates that they are dead. These are of no value to a plant. If a considerable proportion of the roots is dead, cut back to healthy tissue and repot the plant into an appropriate sized container using fresh potting soil. Leave as much healthy top growth as possible so that the leaves can manufacture food for new root development. Once established, the tops can be cut back harder to stimulate new vegetative growth.

    Good luck!
     

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