I'd appreciate some of your opinions on a serious plant problem. I just
have a few houseplants that are about five years old but they're from my
father-in-inlaws' funeral and I'd like to keep them growing. Overall
they've been very healthy even though I've transplanted to bigger pots
three times. For the past couple of months I've been snipping off a lot
of dead leaves and they're not lookin' good. The problem seems to start
with a few small light-colored spots on the leaves which quickly turn
into darker rusty-colored spots. Shortly thereafter the affected leaves
start to curl and then turn light beige and die. It started with one
plant and seems to have spread to the others. I'm thinking it's some
sort of fungus (rust?) but since they're indoor plants and my three cats
like to nibble on them I don't want to use anything that would hurt
animals. I've used some of the 'Safer' brand products for other problems
but I'm really not sure what to do for this one. Any help or opinions
would be greatly appreciated.
Thanx in advance,
On Sat, 22 Nov 2003 12:51:00 -0500, Navin R. Johnson
Do you know wht kinds of plants they are? i can understand that you
have reasons to keep them, but considering what kind of plants they
are will tell more about this than anything else, right now. Some
plants require radical treatment every couple of years after doing
time in a container, and this may include things other than just
Thank you for responding so quickly. I'm sorry but I don't know all the
names of the plants. Each pot has a varied mix. Some of those I do know:
devil's ivy, dieffenbachia, spider plant, grape ivy, calathea and
philodendron. It looks like this problem is showing up on almost every
plant - not the spiders though. It's like one day a leaf will look just
a bit spotty with small yellowish areas. The next day there are darker
brownish rusty looking spots on the tips and outside edges of the leaf.
The next day the leaf curls and starts to look like it's drying out.
Then larger dry beige colored powdery looking areas appear and the leaf
is basically dead.. I did take a couple of infected leaves to my local
nursery to show them. They recommended a broad spectrum fungicide but
wouldn't say whether it was safe to use around cats and grand-kids.
Although, one guy told me to be careful not to get it in my eyes because
it could make me go blind. I declined.
I don't know a lot about plants but I've always been able to keep them
growing for years and years. These plants started out in three small
baskets. After outgrowing the baskets I transplanted everything into
three large 2.5-gallon pots. They did well for a couple of years then
got rootbound again. At that time I basically pulled everything out and
got rid of some of the less attractive plants, and threw away the old
dirt. I also trimmed the roots and pruned back some of the wilder
plants, separated them all and replanted again in the same 2.5-gal pots
- with brand new high quality soiless potting mixture, with time release
fertilizer. That was about a year ago. The ?fungus? problem showed up at
the end of summer (Sept) and it may have been due to my 'helpful' wife
misting the plants with water too often. I rarely use fertilizer, mainly
because it's included in the soil mix and I don't want a lot of green
growth - just enough to keep them alive and happy.
I want to do something but I'm just not sure what. I know it's extremely
tough to figure out what's going on just by me describing things here,
but at this point these plants are dying and I have no idea how to stop
it. If any of what I've described sounds familiar, please don't hesitate
to post. Thanks again.
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