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Q.Abutilon Leaves Crispy Tips, Yellowing From Middle, And Spots

Zone Santa Monica, CA (10b I think) | Crissycross added on April 17, 2023 | Answered

I have this flowering maple that has been through a lot (leaf spot, harsh, repotting, leading to root shock, temperature fluctuations) that had finally started to even out. It was doing very well and growing and blooming for a few months and then I started noticing that some of leaves both had brown tips at the ends and also we’re slowly yellowing from the middle. I asked if for advice and People both suggested that I might be under watering it and that it might need fertilizer. I struggle with watering because the top inch or two of the soil is very loose and dries out quickly, but the rest of the maybe 8 inches of soil tends to hold water a fair bit and stay fairly compacted, even though I break it up with every watering. I end up watering it maybe once or twice a month when the top is very dryed out. Generally, I prefer to bottom water it. I also got some organic balanced fertilizer that was suggested to me by a local garden shop. I have been applying it with every watering so once or twice a month (I done this three times now), obviously diluted to the correct amounts however, my tree is continuing to struggle – it is very leggy due to losing a lot of leaves when it went through root shock. I’ve been trying to prune it, but I am also concerned about the fact that most of the leaves are on the edges of the branches, and there is lot of empty branches towards the trunk. I’m fairly lost. I’m concerned it might be root rot but with how sensitive the tree is and how much it struggled after the last repot I’m scared to check. it’s still blooming a lot. I’ve been half heartedly picking off the blooms to try to help it conserve energy, but I don’t know. I’m tempted to cut it back a fair bit, but as I said, because many of the inner parts of the branches, don’t have any leaves on them so I don’t want to cut it back too much or else there will be many leaves left. So please help. also, I keep I check a fairly often for pests. I have not noticed anything even though a few leaves will have darker spots and or holes on them and I don’t know where those are coming from. (Additional details – it’s right by a south window, though the shutters break up the light. It would also get some indirect, diffused light from some western windows. Also the tree is naturally variegated).

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on April 17, 2023

I would say that the culprit is a lack of light, along with the obvious stresses.Starting right now, I would keep it outside, if possible. You are within the zone that it will survive the winter, so leaving out over winter is an option too! It will lose its leaves, but will regrow them in spring.

If you would rather keep it inside, you may need help from indoor horticultural lighting. This will help supplement the lack of lighting that it is experiencing. It is worthy to note that variegated plants, often, require more lighting anyway.

Here are some articles that will help:




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