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Help please! Houseplant (mother in law's tongue) dying and no idea what to do



 
 
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  #1  
Old 06-05-2009, 09:30 PM
Registered User
 
First recorded activity by GardenBanter: May 2009
Posts: 10
Default Help please! Houseplant (mother in law's tongue) dying and no idea what to do

Hi there,

First of all, hi, I'm new here and am keen to get some more information about house and garden plants in general. I'm just moving to a new house with plenty space to do my work

Now, I have a mother in law tongue plant in a large terracotta pot but it's dying off very quickly! I had it for a good 8-10 months all fine and only watered it sparingly. Recently the leaves have been rotting at the base (above the roots) and just collapsing - I'm down to the final 2 leaves now and I'd love to rescue it!

I cannot figure out wehat the problem is. The top of the soil in the pot had been covered with small pebbles which have, over time, mixed in with the soil. Could this be loosening the soil too much for the plant to survive? Should I re-pot those leaves remaining?

Any advice would be really appreciated, thanks!

Dan
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  #2  
Old 07-05-2009, 11:24 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 1,298
Default Help please! Houseplant (mother in law's tongue) dying and no idea what to do

glasgowdan wrote:
Hi there,

First of all, hi, I'm new here and am keen to get some more information
about house and garden plants in general. I'm just moving to a new house
with plenty space to do my work

Now, I have a mother in law tongue plant in a large terracotta pot but
it's dying off very quickly! I had it for a good 8-10 months all fine
and only watered it sparingly. Recently the leaves have been rotting at
the base (above the roots) and just collapsing - I'm down to the final 2
leaves now and I'd love to rescue it!

I cannot figure out wehat the problem is. The top of the soil in the
pot had been covered with small pebbles which have, over time, mixed in
with the soil. Could this be loosening the soil too much for the plant
to survive? Should I re-pot those leaves remaining?

Any advice would be really appreciated, thanks!

Dan


Firstly, cut your losses. Get the plant out of the pot and free of all
soil. Discard anything at or below surface level which is rotten.

If any of the offsets (new plants forming below soil surface level) are ok,
pot those up separately. Use commercial cactus compost or 1 part John Innes
(No. 1, 2, or 3 - doesn't matter) with 2 parts sharp sand or 1 part sharp
sand and 1 part grit (about 5 mm). Put the remaining full-size healthy
plants in the same mixture. Do not water for a few days, then start
watering carefully, but only once a week and then only to dampen the
compost.

If any of the leaves are rotten at the base, but ok above, you can grow new
plants from the healthy parts. BUT if you have the Mother-in-law's Tongue
which has a yellow edge to the leaves (most of them are this type), then any
new plants will not have the yellow edge.

Cut the leaves across completely so each bit is about 2 inches long. Put
the bottom end half an inch into the potting mixture mentioned above. Make
sure you have the bottom end, as the top end will not root. Do NOT water
the potting mixture - just put the cut leaves in it in a place which is
fairly light but out of direct sunlight. After 3 months the bottom ends of
the leaves should have formed roots. If any haven't, and have dried out,
throw them away.

After several more months, new plants will begin to grow from the base of
the old cut leaves.

I have no idea why yours have rotted, other than it got cold as well as wet.
A small amount of dampness in winter at surface of the soil could lead to
collar rot. I've had mine for over 15 years without problem, but I almost
never water them from the end of September to the end of March. From April
I start watering carefully, and give them a good amount in summer. Even so,
I never let them stand in water at any time. Sometimes they reward me with
a flower or two!

Good luck.

--
Jeff


  #3  
Old 27-04-2011, 06:13 AM
Registered User
 
First recorded activity by GardenBanter: Apr 2011
Location: south carolina
Posts: 1
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Layman[_2_] View Post
glasgowdan wrote:
Hi there,

I have a mother in law tongue plant in a large terracotta pot but
it's dying off very quickly! I had it for a good 8-10 months all fine
and only watered it sparingly. Recently the leaves have been rotting at
the base (above the roots) and just collapsing - I'm down to the final 2
leaves now and I'd love to rescue it!


Dan


Firstly, cut your losses. Get the plant out of the pot and free of all
soil. Discard anything at or below surface level which is rotten.

If any of the offsets (new plants forming below soil surface level) are ok,
pot those up separately. Use commercial cactus compost or 1 part John Innes
(No. 1, 2, or 3 - doesn't matter) with 2 parts sharp sand or 1 part sharp
sand and 1 part grit (about 5 mm). Put the remaining full-size healthy
plants in the same mixture. Do not water for a few days, then start
watering carefully, but only once a week and then only to dampen the
compost.

If any of the leaves are rotten at the base, but ok above, you can grow new
plants from the healthy parts. BUT if you have the Mother-in-law's Tongue
which has a yellow edge to the leaves (most of them are this type), then any
new plants will not have the yellow edge.

Cut the leaves across completely so each bit is about 2 inches long. Put
the bottom end half an inch into the potting mixture mentioned above. Make
sure you have the bottom end, as the top end will not root. Do NOT water
the potting mixture - just put the cut leaves in it in a place which is
fairly light but out of direct sunlight. After 3 months the bottom ends of
the leaves should have formed roots. If any haven't, and have dried out,
throw them away.

After several more months, new plants will begin to grow from the base of
the old cut leaves.

I have no idea why yours have rotted, other than it got cold as well as wet.
A small amount of dampness in winter at surface of the soil could lead to
collar rot. I've had mine for over 15 years without problem, but I almost
never water them from the end of September to the end of March. From April
I start watering carefully, and give them a good amount in summer. Even so,
I never let them stand in water at any time. Sometimes they reward me with
a flower or two!

Good luck.

--
Jeff
You just saved my life from my wife. We have had a mother-in-law's tougue for over 30 years, really. It was a gift when one of our children was born. recently we started pouring water in the pot rather than down the drain. My wife's heart broke when it started to rot. Today is her 55th birthday and this made her day.
 




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