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Hyacinth Plant

Q.Pothos, Ivy and Other, All Dying

Zone 5b/6a | srkdvmmom added on May 17, 2013 | Answered

I had an Arrowhead Vine from my grandfather’s funeral 7 years ago. I kept it on my kitchen table and pretty much neglected it, and it did fine. It took over and strangled the peace lily that it was with. Now, I have transplanted it and its cuttings. They did great for a while, but now have slowly wilted and died off. Now one healthy leaf remains. It was looking sad, and I was pretty sure it was toast, so I got some Pothos, which is supposed to be easy, and some Ivy.

I used a larger pot, put stones in the bottom, and some fresh potting soil. No progress with the original plant. The Ivy seems to be drying up and dying. Now the pothos that I had hoped would do fine is clearly not doing well. The leaves are taking on a rust color, the tissue gets thin and turns brown and papery. This is affecting some of the leaves on only half, some along an edge. The stems look healthy. I am putting the pot outside some to get more air circulation in hopes of drying the soil some. It has stayed pretty damp since planting the container.

I did this a couple of weeks ago. I don’t remember when I last watered it, just have been checking the soil which is damp. The plant has been indoors, around 65-70 degrees. No direct sunlight. I am in USDA gardening zone 5b/6a per 2012 map. I have photos but don’t see a place to upload here.

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Answered on May 18, 2013

Without seeing your plants or set up, it's hard to guess what the problem might be. One thing that comes to mind is that the pothos might be infected with pythium, a root fungus to which they are especially susceptible. I'm guessing you haven't had that plant very long - you should return it to the store where you bought it, because this is a condition that they come from the growers with, unless the pathogen was in the potting soil you used. Most plant stores have a guarantee, so you can return plants that fail after a couple of months.
Ivy are actually rather difficult, because if they get too dry they will die, not come back. Also very susceptible to spider mites.
One thing you might not know is that when you buy a plant from a store, it doesn't need to be repotted. The growers have a vested interest in growing big healthy plants as fast as possible, in order to turn a profit. They are grown in good growing medium, and fertilized quite heavily. You don't even need to fertilize for the first 6 months. Too much fertilizer kills far more plants than too little. Repotting doesn't need to be done for at least a year.

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Answered on May 18, 2013

I always suggest using a potting soil that a local greenhouse uses to grow their plants. (The cheap stuff from box stores is just that, cheap.) When repotting, a good rule of thumb is pot mass equals 1/2 to 1/3 the mass of the plant. Using a pot that's too large has more drawbacks than plusses especially to root systems. Soil can stay too moist and sour when the pot it too large. If you are fertilizing the plants, make sure you feed weekly, weakly. If you aren't fertilizing, you should start. Is there enough light in their location?

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