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Indoor Gardening and Houseplants: Prayer Plant needs help

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Forum: Indoor Gardening and HouseplantsReplies: 10, Views: 109
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McMinnville, TN

August 11, 2011
4:08 PM

Post #8750907

I had 1 several years ago or should I say over 30 years ago since my daughter had not been born yet and I had no problems with it at all; it grew and was a bushy plant.
This 1 was gave to me a few months ago and I repoted it (potting soil and worm castings) it seemed to be doing ok but the leaves started turning yellow and it is growing straight up. It is in Betty's room and is getting filtered morning sun and I give it a mist once a week with the sink sprayer.
Someone help me I don't want to loose this plant! I want it to grow, have big beautiful leaves and get bushy like the 1 that I had many years ago. I am open for any suggestions as I am usually good with houseplants.

Thumbnail by BoopsieTN
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Poughkeepsie, NY

August 11, 2011
4:37 PM

Post #8750952

The plant looks not so good but Betty looks GREAT! Not sure what to do here with this one as I've not much experience with prayer plants. My first instinct is to cut it back but I am not sure. Wait for others to chime in!
McMinnville, TN

August 11, 2011
5:49 PM

Post #8751100

Yes, I waiting to see what kind of responses I get. I want to make it look better and feel better, I moved it to a different spot in Betty's room maybe it is getting too much light.
Yes, Betty always looks good; that is where I got my nickname since I started my collection in 1980. I have just about anything a person could think of except a tatoo of her and I get enough needles stuck in my body from CML, Hep C and regular doctor visits (I think they have enough of my blood to do alot of research with).
Thanks for your reply.
Tucson, AZ
(Zone 9a)

August 14, 2011
12:46 PM

Post #8756077

Is it possible that the seashells are leaching salt and/or minerals into the soil when you water? Also, it's hard to tell from a flash photo, but does it have enough light?
McMinnville, TN

August 14, 2011
2:03 PM

Post #8756190

The seashells have been in my craft room for years in a drawer; I can remove them and see if that helps. I water it through the plastic syringe holder. Thanks for your info. and I will get a better picture with my new camera and post it.


Bay City, MI
(Zone 6a)

August 14, 2011
2:30 PM

Post #8756235

Potting soil + worm castings = extreme water retention and a very high perched water table that is likely severely impairing root function and metabolism. Commercially prepared peat-based soils fresh from the bag are already extremely water retentive, even before they start to break down. The worm castings just add to the water retention and ht of the perched water table while they fill in the already meager supply of air pores in the soil.

The most important considerations in choosing a medium for a containerized are: how well it is aerated and whether or not the soil is made from materials durable enough to ensure that the soil will retain its structure (and thus its aeration) for the intended life of the planting or the intended interval between repots.

McMinnville, TN

August 14, 2011
2:59 PM

Post #8756273

OK Tapla!
Could you please explain what the above posting means? I am a country girl and don't know the meaning of your words, even though I am proud of you for being so educated on soil, etc. In other words could you explain it in plain words for me?
The potting soil and organic worm castings I use are made here in McMinnville, TN (The Nursery Capital of The World) by Morton's Horticultural Products. The potting soil is made of Canadian Spanghum Peat (32%-42%) Vermiculite Perlite (that's what is written on the bag). I have always had good luck growing all my plants with this mixture and also when I repot them.
Thanks so much!
McMinnville, TN

August 14, 2011
3:03 PM

Post #8756278

Is this picture any better? My new camera needs its batteries charged.

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Bay City, MI
(Zone 6a)

August 14, 2011
5:26 PM

Post #8756519

Rephrased, your soil has too many fine particles to allow it to hold enough air, and the fine worm castings make the problem worse. Your plant is dying of thirst in a sea of plenty because of impaired root function, while the roots are also likely rotting due to the anaerobic (airless) fungi multiplying in the root zone. It's a very common issue I've seen hundreds of times. The soil is the foundation of every container planting. You can try to build on a weak foundation, but you'll be fighting against the soil for the entire life of the planting.

I'm not trying to be critical of you or trying to take a lofty perch so I can look down. I'd be very happy to help you fully understand what I'm saying if you're interested in learning. I've helped (literally) thousands of people in your exact predicament turn their growing experience into something more rewarding by instilling a better understanding of what differentiates a good medium from a not so good one or a poor one.

To illustrate, I grow in only highly aerated soils, use commonly found soluble fertilizers, have almost no worries about over-watering - ever ... even during extended periods of rain when my plants are outdoors, and consistently produce extremely healthy plants with very attractive foliage ... and it's easy because the soil is working FOR me instead of against me. See picture below.

Plants are genetically programmed with a certain amount of vigor (something almost everyone mistakes for vitality). Our job, especially as container gardeners, is to eliminate those things that limit the plants ability to grow to its genetic potential. The big 3, in order of their significance insofar as your success is concerned are soil choice, watering habits, and light. Of course there are other considerations, but easily 80% and perhaps 90% or more of the issues discussed as 'problems' on these (container gardening related) forums can be traced to the first two mentioned - soil choice and watering habits.


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United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

August 16, 2011
10:32 PM

Post #8760661

We have a plant in the office that looked like this a few months ago. I took it home and repotted it into the same pot it was in but with fresh compost. It's now thriving and is 3 times the size it was.

I would take it out of the pot it's in, wash the compost off the roots and repot it into a 2-3 inch pot with fresh houseplant compost. Give it good light but not direct sun and water thoroughly when the compost feels dryish when you put about an inch of your finger into the pot.

Good luck!
McMinnville, TN

August 17, 2011
6:30 AM

Post #8761052

I am glad your plant is doing great! Mine hasn't been in this pot long, I always use fresh potting soil with alittle worm castings. 1 person suggested I remove the seashells I had ontop of the soil (so I did) I think they are pretty around a plant. I have moved it to a new location in my huge Betty Boop room and I check it daily.
I will post a new picture in a couple of weeks to let people know if it is doing better.

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