Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:51 am
Location: Utah

My plants are dying!

I cannot keep my plants alive! Here goes:

My ficus tree is about three feet tall and I've had him for about a year. I usually only water once every two or three weeks...I keep him a little on the dry side. It was doing fine before in a pretty dark room (in basement w/heater vent that wasn't close and a window that always had blinds closed). I just moved to a new house where he's in a vaulted room with four south-facing windows (none of which shine directly on him...they're all on the same wall) and light coming in from another room as well. There is a heating vent about three feet away. He was doing ok but dropping lots of leaves (which I understand is normal when they are moved, but I was a little concerned with the amount), so I pruned off most of the bottom leaves and was going to braid it but decided just to tie the branches together instead (but not tightly). Now, at least one of the big branches has leaves drooping/hanging completely down, drying (but not yellowing), and falling off. What do I do?

Next, I have a tree that I was told is a type of bonsai. It has leaves similar to the ficus, is about a foot tall (maybe a little less) and very thick braided trunks. I have no idea what it is or how to water it...I just water it every couple of weeks (it has pebbles glued over the soil, so I can't even see down there). It was doing fine before in a pretty dark room (in basement w/heater vent that wasn't close and a window that always had blinds closed). Now it's in a bedroom with one south-facing window and no direct light. The veins in the leaves are turning yellow (but not the whole leaf) and then falling off (before drying out).

I also have a small majesty or paradise (not sure which) palm (I know, not a bonsai) that's about a foot tall. I've had it for two years and haven't killed it, but it hasn't gotten any bigger. Any tips?

My money tree...this one's about two or three feet tall. I've had it for about a year, as well. It was in the same room as the other ones, but is now in the same room as the ficus, above. I've killed three of these...all from trunks rotting (from what I could tell) and leaves falling off one branch at a time. Well, I've already lost one branch, but it's still beautiful and would like to prevent more from falling off. I did cut the branch out carefully. I let the soil dry out completely before watering.

My Croton's leaves are drying out and falling off, too...any tips?

I have a Philodendron scandens that I've had for about six years. It did great for about four years, then almost died...I only saved one leaf and managed to get that one leaf to flourish to about 20, then all but about three died when I moved. I heard this plant is impossible to kill...I really don't know how to bring it back again...I LOVE this plant!

My aloe vera plant is droopy since it got dropped and has not grown more leaves since then. Nothing has dried out and the existing leaves are still green, just not sticking up like they used to. I water VERY infrequently but thoroughly, in indirect light (one window).

Sorry there's so much...if this is the wrong place to ask, please let me know where. I've done research on them, but there's too many conflicting tips. HELP!!

Senior Member
Posts: 244
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 9:40 am
Location: Brighton, Michigan

That is quite a hefty order. :) Some pictures would be ideal, to get a better idea of how they are looking and what they are potted in. But here's some thoughts between now and then:

First off, you mentioned one of your plants has rocks glued on top... remove these ASAP. Equally important with water and light to a plant is air. This includes air to the roots. A non-organic, porous, fast-draining soil is ideal for potted plants, as this allows that critical air to the roots. Those rocks on top are just compounding the problem.

Second, I am not sure how all of your plants were previously thriving in a dark basement, but the extra light should do them wonders. Because they are used to such low light conditions, they grew leaves that were able to cope with the lighting conditions they had. Now that they are receiving more light, the leaves they had before are too tender and sensitive for the increased light. This is probably why they are dropping leaves - to make room for new leaves that will be more adequately adjusted to the new lighting.

I would not suggest moving your plants again. Let them adjust and recover from their recent system shock.

Last, but not least, watering. An aloe vera can probably handle 1-2 weeks between waterings, but I am surprised a ficus was that tolerant of being dry. Along with the increased light (especially once they expel much energy growing new leaves) your plants will most likely have higher water requirements.

Not everyone uses them, but I am very fond of my water meter. I can make my "rounds" and check everyone (wiping off the sensor in between "stops"). This makes it much easier since I currently have plants in several different mediums and with different levels of vigor. Some of my trees I have become accustomed to their watering needs, but I still use it on several of my trees. It is very helpful.

Here are a few links with additional information:

This is a start. Please post some pics and we can go farther from there. Hope this helps. :)

Return to “Indoor Bonsai Forum”