Saving Plants From Bad Vendors, and Ourselves.
We've all done it. We've all been culprits of overwatering, under sunning, and loving our plants too much. I often have to remind myself not to channel Lenny from Of Mice and Men...
Don't love your plants so much you kill them, Brittany.
You think it needs watering? Just wait another day, it'll be fine.
A combination of my personal experience with loving plants a little too much and rescue plants, and also @apartmentbotanist's hashtag #myrescueplant, inspired today's topic. Today I want to highlight two kinds of rescue plants. First, the ones you buy that are just in pretty terrible shape. Second, the ones you almost kill yourself and somehow bring them back from the clutches of death.
Sickly Adopted Plants
The first sickly plant I brought home was a Marbled Pothos I had purchased from Amazon. I knew I was taking a risk and decided to go for it anyway. I waited patiently for my plant to arrive, and when it finally showed up on my doorstep I was absolutely devastated. Pothos plants are usually very hardy, so when I saw the condition of this one I knew it was bad. The brown spots and mushy roots were proof enough the plant had clearly been overwatered and generally neglected. I mean, just look at this poor thing.
Spoiler alert, I was able to save this one! Though overwatering sucks and can often kill a plant, it's not impossible to save it. In order to bring back I did the following:
- Removed the plant from its original soil and rinsed it out just in case it brought along any mites or other unsavory characters from its previous owner. I then planted it in a small pot with drainage holes and fresh soil. I gave it a light watering to get the roots settled.
- Put it on a slow and steady watering schedule. I waited until the pot was almost totally dry before lightly watering again, and never before.
- Put it in a nice bright indirect lit spot. Pothos can do pretty well in lower light, but I wanted to make sure it got all it needed to really start showing some growth even in winter.
- Once new sprouts started shooting off, I cut back as much of the damaged foliage back as I could and propagated cuttings from other Marbled Pothos to fill in this poor bare baby.
And voila! Here we are about 6 months later. It's since been repotted again to a slightly larger pot with fresh soil. The backside of this plant has been filled in with propagated cuttings from another plant, and the front half is the longer and more mature version of the original remaining vines after its haircut. I love how large the leaves are growing now! I can't wait for this plant to really start getting full!
Buying plants online is such a risky business. I recommend if you don't have local plant shops or nurseries available to you go through a reputable seller like The Sill or independent sellers on Etsy. Amazon is soooo hit or miss.
Plants That Were Mothered Too Hard
This one stings.
I got this beautiful Calathea Pinstripe a while back and as a really finicky plant, I should have known better to change it's conditions.
This plant naturally prefers medium indirect light, likes to dry out a little in between waters, and high humidity. I had it originally hanging in a macrame planter by my patio door which was PERFECT for it's moody ass. I decided I wanted to move it for aesthetic reasons (dumb, I know) and little did I know, it would be near impossible to help this plant bounce back from the depths it was about to sink.
The new location was a west facing window that only had direct sunlight at the very end of the day, and those few seconds of light were just too much. The edges of some of the leaves started to curl and dry. Not realizing it was totally because of the light, I slightly picked up on watering and humidity and that caused even more damage. Unfortunately Calatheas do not bounce back from damage. Once a leaf dies or curls, that's all she wrote.
By process of elimination, I figured the lighting had to be the culprit. I then moved it to an indirect lighting area, cut back the extra damaged foliage, and before I knew it new shoots began shooting up! Yay! I currently have two new leaves popping up and I am soooo excited.
If I can lend any kind of advice here, I'd say:
- Really pay attention to lighting requirements and don't ever think
- Always err on the side of keeping your plants on the ever-so-slightly dryer side of life. Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes as a plant parent!
What is your most proud rescue plant moment? Have you almost killed a plant and saved it from death??