What plant is on your mind?

An area of The Sill dedicated to conversations about plants and gardening in the form of posted messages and threads.

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What plant is on your mind?

An area of The Sill dedicated to conversations about plants and gardening in the form of posted messages and threads.

New Post

Plant Troubleshooting

  • Calathea Pinstripe with Crispy/Dry Tips! Eek!
    Ah! New Plant Mom here. My Calathea Pinstripe came with dry/crispy tips (more than just the one pictured), and I'm not sure how to help the little guy. Does anyone have any tips/tricks? Thanks in advance! 
      • 1
      Paris Lalicata Hi Alison! The symptoms appear to be moisture related, either if the soil is staying moist for too long or too dry. I'd ensure the plant is receiving plenty of bright indirect light and you allow the soil to almost dry out between waterings. If the plant is in a lower light setting then it'll be best to allow it to dry out completely, and ensure it has localized humidity. You can prune the damaged leaf edges back to shape to enhance the appearance. Once the right care is balanced the plant should continue to thrive!
  • Fungus Gnats
    I am plagued by fungus gnats.  Help my plants.  I even bought a couple from the Sill and I’m afraid of infecting them.  Is there any thing that I can do to get rid of them?
      • 1
      Nate I've had some luck with using diatomaceous earth mixed in with the potting soil to prevent the larvae from surviving after hatching.
      • 2
      Paris Lalicata Hi Marie! Fungus gnats usually proliferate when the soil is too wet and generates excess fungus which is what they feed on, mostly caused by over watering plants. You can get a product known as mosquito bits and place it in the soil as it will attack the larvae! Further providing the standard yellow fly traps to capture the adult gnats and keep them from reproducing! Both of these can easily be found online. If the infestation is heavy, I'd recommend discarding all of the soil and replenishing your plants with new soil. You'll then want to place sand as a top dressing (layer about 1-2 inches thick) to trick the adult gnats into thinking the soil is actually dry- which prevents them from laying more eggs in the soil, and will eventually die off. You'll still want to place fly traps around the plant so that they still capture the adult flies looking for a host!
  • Sad African Violet
    My African Violet looks sad and droopy- I water once a week. Thoughts?
      • 1
      Connie Hi Karly, I suggest using a special African violet plant food and a self watering African violet pot. The special pots are so easy, because they only water the plant when it needs it from the bottom, so you don't get leaf spots. African violets like to be root bound. If the new pot looks smaller than this one, don't worry. I keep my African violets in a South facing window and they love it.
      • 1
      Paris Lalicata Hi Karly! Depending on the light levels (and temperatures) provided to the plant it may need to be watered more than once a week. Especially since it's in a porous container. I'd recommend aerating the soil in case it has become compact. Give the plant a watering, and give the leaves time to perk back up! Water is what gives plants their turgidity, and when they don't have enough they begin to wilt. Same can happen with overwatering, however, usually moist soil and yellowing leaves accompany this. Hope this helps!
  • Birds Nest Fern
    Help! I purchased my birds nest fern in the spring from a local nursery and it has been very happy until recently. We have very dry heat in our bedroom where this plant lives so I’m wondering if that’s the problem? I have put a humidifier beside it that runs on low for about 12 hours a day. It is still losing leaves but it’s also trying to make new ones. It has never been repotted but I’m not sure if putting it in a bigger pot while in distress will help? It lives in a west facing room, 4 inch pot, and is always watered from the bottom. 
      • 1
      Paris Lalicata Hi Kristen! It seems like a few things may be happening here. The plant could've outgrown its nursery container, as well as the nutrients could've degraded by now. Also, the symptoms could be caused by excessive moisture if you're not allowing it to dry out more between waterings. Therefor, I'd recommend to remove dead plant material and prune damaged leaf edges back to shape. Repot the plant into a container with fresh soil, give it plenty of light, and allow the soil to almost dry out between waterings!
  • Pilea woes
    Acquired 2 baby pileas a few months ago. Both seemed  to be healthy with several leaves and new shoots. Reported them in terra cotta pots using a combo of fast draining cactus potting mix, charcoal, and a few rocks. Both plants appeared to be doing well. I noticed that one plant started to show signs of distress (yellow  and browning leaves, droopiness, leaves falling) so I... 1). changed location to (near) a north-ish facing window with lots of indirect light. 2). Added a miracle grow plant food stick in the soil. 3). watered only when soil was dry. Several weeks later I (once) added big bloom liquid food to the water. 

    The very next day, I noticed mushrooms growing in the pot. After an extensive google search, I realized the shrooms as a sign of ‘good’ soil. I stopped adding the big bloom. However, the distressed plant continued to decline and eventual dropped every single leaf. The second pilea was still doing well during the course, having incorporated the same changes above. However, the second one, never developed shrooms. there were some occasional leaf drops and yellowing, but overall it appeared to be fine... 

    Over the course of the last few weeks, the second plant has begun to exhibit the exact symptoms. It is now down to 2 leaves that are very droopy. the roots seem to be intact on both plants. I have no idea what to do and feel defeated. Are they salvageable? 



  • Prayer Plant
    This baby just doesn’t seem happy. I’ve tried providing more drainage and some moisture underneath- does it just need more recovery time?  What is happening here?
      • 1
      Paris Lalicata Hi Stephanie! It seems like the plant just needs time to acclimate to its new environment, especially if it's in a lower light situation. I'd recommend increasing the plants exposure to light if possible, and giving it time to adjust. If in a low light area then I'd recommend allowing the soil to almost dry out between waterings. Ensure you're not allowing the planter to be submerged in water!
  • Aloe woes
    I’ve had my aloe plant for at least 2 years, and has been healthy and strong up until a few months ago (care note: I water it once every few weeks). It recently started drooping significantly, the stem/stalk started tipping to the side. It must have been bumped into, because one day I came home and all of the leaves had been bent or broken. I’ve cut off the ones that were still attached but significantly damaged. Will it grow back? Should it be placed in a different kind of pot? I’m so sad about this!
      • 1
      Paris Lalicata Hi Jenna! I'm sorry that your Aloe has seen better days. Unfortunately the leaves that have broken or severed at the tip won't be able to bounce back. I'd recommend just giving the plant plenty of bright indirect light to full sun, and allow the soil to dry out between waterings. As long as you continue to give the plant the right care it should continue to develop new growth for you in the future :)
      • 1
      Karly Hi! Don’t lose hope aloe is very resilient- did you try planting something sturdy to prop it up?
  • Marcelene
    my birds nest fern has leaves on the bottom of plant that are yellow???? the rest of the plant seems healthy... help...
      • 1
      Paris Lalicata Hi Marcelene! Yellowing leaves are usually an indication of over watering. Either if you're watering the plant before it's ready, or if it's not receiving enough light. Therefor, I would allow the soil to dry out more between waterings or increasing the plants exposure to light. Yellowed leaves can be removed since they won't be able to bounce back!
  • Fiddle Leaf Fig Leaves Discolored and Falling Off
    Hello,
    Our fiddle leaf fig isn't looking great. It's interior, older leaves are discolored and falling off. At least, the outer, newer leaves still look dark green and vibrant.
    It's in the lobby of our building. It's not too cold in there but it must be dry this time of year. However, I read that interior leaves falling off is a sign of overwatering.
    Any thoughts would be much appreciated!
    Thank you,Micky
      • 1
      Nate Hi Micky, I killed several fiddle leaf figs this year before I figured out that light was the key. Mine gets plenty of light in a south window and has been looking great/hasnt lost any leaves since I brought it home.
      • 1
      Paris Lalicata Hi Micky! The yellowing you see here could be due to overwatering- either due to the plant not receiving enough light, or being watered before it's ready. It's best to allow the soil to dry out completely for the Fiddle leaf Fig! I would recommend removing the chlorotic leaves since they won't be able to bounce back to help you further monitor the plant. It should bounce back just fine once care is adjusted. However, if you don't believe it's due to overwatering then it could be a nutrient deficiency if the plants soil hasn't been replenished in over a year!
  • Pilea Problems!
    I bought several pileas from the Sill in the spring and they've were all thriving over the spring and summer. I've noticed that over the past few months, they've been dropping leaves from the bottom of their stems. Usually the leaf turns yellow, develops a brown spot in the middle (shown in picture) that grows, and then the entire leaf become brown and it falls off. I'm worried because leaves seem to be dropping one after the other in this manner from the bottom up and my plant is looking pretty bare. 

    I don't think I've changed my care habits since the summer, so I'm pretty stumped. The pileas are still in the same spot - right next too a West facing window, and I allow them to dry out between waterings. They are up near a window so I'm wondering if the cold has anything to do with this? I did get them in the spring so I haven't cared for these plants in the winter yet. Any help would be amazing! Thank you so much :)
      • 1
      Paris Lalicata Hi Selena! Usually the yellowing/browning is due to over watering. Considering day light hours have decreased the plant is taking up water/nutrients at a much slower rate. I would try allowing the soil to remain a little dry before watering! Usually during the Fall/Winter I water my Pilea once I start to notice it really drooping :)
  • sad plant
    hi my plant is looking very sad and i’m hoping someone can help diagnose the problem. this happened because it had to spend a couple days in the car as i drove across the country. let me know what i can try and do to help him bounce back!
  • Help!
    I got this guy 2 weeks ago. It’s a Monstera Deliciosa (Swiss cheese plant). Been watered once, but since being watered it’s looming significantly less healthy. Directions say to water once every 1 to 2 weeks, and to let the soil completely dry out before watering again. Can anyone help with why it may be looking worse since being watered? Thanks!
      • 1
      Nate Hi Emily, is the dirt around the roots moist? Kind of looks like it could be root rot. More sunlight and closely monitoring the moisture of the root ball might do the trick.
      • 1
      Paris Lalicata Hi Emily! What kind of light is the plant receiving?
  • pilea problems?
    I just noticed little white specks dotting the back of my pilea. They don't wipe off easily, and required a scratch to get them out. Scratching them out leaves little dents/craters where the white specks used to be. What is this, and should I worried about this getting onto other plants?
      • 1
      Paris Lalicata Hi Mandu! These are actually mineral deposits that develop as the plant transpires water from the stomata (small pores on the underside of leaves). This is completely harmless to your plant! You can simply wipe these off - and to prevent them from reoccurring you can either leave your tap water out overnight, or using bottled spring or distilled water!
  • Please help my Flf bendy stem
    Sorry, long post....but I came home today to find that the top portion of my fiddle Leaf figs stem was droopy and a little squishy (about 1-2 inches and the two top leaves). I fastened the stem with a chopstick for strength but I don't know if I should cut the top off. The rest of the stalk feels strong/snappy and the leaves are still perky and not droopy at all. I've had this flf for about 2 months. She's grown some new leaves, haven't seen much droop or discolored leaves, and I've only watered her 2-3 times when the top soil was dry (she came pretty moist from the nursery with a layer of mossy geeen on top that has long been gone). Most recently, I watered her in the shower to also clean her leaves. She is usually located in my bedroom with a humidifier across the way. Both my bedroom and living room have a north east facing window. The sun finally came out on Saturday so I moved her closer to the window to get some rays but it has otherwise been very foggy and rainy in SF so maybe it wasn't getting enough sun? I don't understand what could have happened within a week and I am having a very hard time finding an answer/solution for a Flf with a Bendy stem
  • Rattlesnake
    Hey Plant People!

    My Calathea Rattlesnake has slowly started to take a turn for the worst. Many of the tips of the leaves are brown. Some of the edges are also yellow/brown and the smaller leaves on the bottom of the plant are worse still. I’ve removed the worst leaves and moved my plant to a room with less direct light. Any advice is appreciated!
      • 1
      Paris Lalicata Hi Sarah! It looks like the plant could be displaying symptoms of overwatering - if the plant is in a low light setting then it'll be best to allow the soil to almost dry out between waterings. If it's in moderate-bright conditions then it'll be best to re-water once about half the soil dries out, and best to provide some level of humidity. Any damaged leaf edges can be pruned back to shape - the plant should be able to make a comeback in no time!