DrJekyll
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Why did my plants die?

Hi, I did an experiment in my room and set up an area to grow a plant. It did great at first but slowly died. I want to figure out why this happened so I can get a better understanding of plant care.

My Supplies
1) I used the Santino Self Watering Planter Asti 7.1 Inch (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01B2 ... UTF8&psc=1)

2) The lighting
I bought this stand (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002 ... UTF8&psc=1) and bought the fixture for it (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003F ... UTF8&psc=1)

The bulbs I used where
- For Growth: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013O ... UTF8&psc=1
AND
- For Heat: https://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-ReptiHal ... +heat+bulb

The reason I added the bulb "for heat" was because I felt my room was cold throughout the day, and thought the heat would help the plant live because it would help evaporate the water since I felt the soil would be moist for too long and I wanted to prevent root rot.

3) The plant:
Codariocalyx motorius

Comments
I watered the plant properly. So it was not a watering issue. I would feel the soil if it was moist and check the bottom of the planter to see if there was water collected etc.

The soil I used was Miracle Grow.


My question is, How important is the surrounding temperature when growing a plant. I feel like this could be the only possibility that lead to death. Perhaps my room was too cold at night when the house air was on.

Also I even added a small fan to mimic wind because I thought that dust perhaps was one of the causes, and perhaps wind would help strengthen the stem by mimicking a natural environment, but wind from my small fan on a timer changed nothing, as the plant continued to look weaker and weaker.

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applestar
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Re: Why did my plants die?

Temperature can be extremely important, especially when growing a tropical plant in a cold room. But another important environmental factor is humidity, especially during winter in dry heat.

Also, you didn't indicate how close you positioned your lights. The LED light -- how close was it to the plant? Was it bright enough ? -- you can get an app for your cellphone to use as lux meter ...Also, the heat lamp might have been too close and too hot. Did you put your hand at same distance from the light bulb as the leaves to test the temperature? If it felt hot to your skin, then it would certainly have been too hot for the plant.

When setting up a new growing environment, it's a good idea to get a max/min thermometer and hygrometer and keep track of temperature and humidity.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

ButterflyLady29
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Re: Why did my plants die?

What was the temperature of the room? Did you make sure the soil drained fast enough? How long did you leave the lights on? How did the plant look when it started to decline? Did you dump the dead plant to check the roots?

DrJekyll
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Re: Why did my plants die?

applestar wrote:Temperature can be extremely important, especially when growing a tropical plant in a cold room. But another important environmental factor is humidity, especially during winter in dry heat.

Also, you didn't indicate how close you positioned your lights. The LED light -- how close was it to the plant? Was it bright enough ? -- you can get an app for your cellphone to use as lux meter ...Also, the heat lamp might have been too close and too hot. Did you put your hand at same distance from the light bulb as the leaves to test the temperature? If it felt hot to your skin, then it would certainly have been too hot for the plant.

When setting up a new growing environment, it's a good idea to get a max/min thermometer and hygrometer and keep track of temperature and humidity.
To answer each point:
1) Humidity - Yes that was another idea I had the could have added to its decline. I had a bottle to spray the leaves but I did not do it as often as I probably should have. So then it is safe to say that one factor that lead to death was humidity

2) The LED had to have been good enough since it was created for far more plants and it was created to be at a much greater distance, if anything it could have been too much light, but I had the light positioned as high as the fixture allowed me to put it., which is I would estimate 12 inches.

3) The heat did feel hot but not too hot, and I had to have it because the soil was staying wet far too long. Before I added it , I actually had to restart my project due to root rot, which is what made me come up with the heat light idea to aid evaporation from the moist soil.

4) "Get a thermometer and hygrometer" .... I looked before on Amazon and they were all rated as terrible quality products so I passed up on it , I was actually going to make my own and still plan to using an arduino when I have more free time to learn how.
What was the temperature of the room? Did you make sure the soil drained fast enough? How long did you leave the lights on? How did the plant look when it started to decline? Did you dump the dead plant to check the roots?
1) Temp in my room was probably always around70-77 F but more often it was about 73-75 F

2) Soil drained faster when I added the heat light, but maybe it was still not enough to cause evaporation to happen fast enough?

3) Lights turned on at 10am and they were off at around 9pm , maybe that is too much but again I needed heat to let the moist soil become dry faster and prevent root rot.

4) The seeds grew and then the plant started looking weak. To be clear, My conditions contributed to the plants decline BUT the plant died faster then the conditions killing it because, I have a strong strong suspicion the seeds were tainted with spider mite eggs because They ended up getting spider mites and HOW would those spider mites be in my room if I never had plants in my room before, so they must have been hitchhiker eggs or something with the seeds. I knew nothing about spider mites before but then when I researched more about them, I noticed something funny that confirms my belief more.... I bought them from here : https://www.amazon.com/Dancing-Grass-Te ... x+motorius .... and if you look at the product pictures .. THE PRODUCT PICTURES THEMSELVES SHOW THE PLANTS WITH MITES lol You can see the leaves have a bunch of white dots, and that is not normal and is indicative of the spider mite webs.

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applestar
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Re: Why did my plants die?

The accuracy of the thermometer/hygrometer is not that important -- heresy! Some might say -- but really. It's only important if the actual max/min are at borderline survival range for the particular plant. I even use cheap peel-and-stick on for aquariums and craft projects, zipper pulls for outdoorwear/gear. Yeah, I also use wireless sensor/base receiver combos and weather stations but divert old oven and grill thermometers, meat thermometers, too..... haha

It doesn't sound like your room was too cold unless there were cold drafts from windows or doors.

If the potting mix was not draining well and staying damp/moist/wet THAT much, I would lay more of the bottomline suspicion on the potting mix and the containers' drainage holes. It should have drained well after watering. If these were grown from seeds and were tiny seedlings, they might have "dampened off" -- a fungal infection. Heat to aid evaporation should not even be an issue. Stressed plants are more prone to disease and insect attack.

Spider mites -- they appear out of nowhere like magic. I wouldn't suspect seeds so much as packaging, potting mix and other supplies obtained from gardening section of stores, and you yourself might have carried them into your room from brushing up against house plants and office plants elsewhere. They are worse in dry air and can become more of a problem this time of the year when indoor humidity levels have been lowered by the winter-long heating. If these were seedlings and had been infested, they have less resistance and volume of greenery to endure their attack, not to mention tender foliage would have been difficult to treat and eradicate the pests.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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sweetiepie
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Re: Why did my plants die?

If I understand what you said correctly, you are watering from the top and your light is 12 inches above the plants.

From what I have read, most publications recommend, that you water from the bottom, when possible. Also I think it was rainbowgardener (it may have been applestar, sorry if it was someone else) who encourages adding cinnamon to your water. Since I have started doing that for seedlings I haven't had any dampening off. As I transplant my plants sometimes I have to water from the top but I tend to water then only if the plant is completely dry on top. Plants bounce back better with a little wilt then from root rot. It's easier to adjust if a little dry. I would think that a heater would make it hard to adjust for watering but I don't know, I have never tried it.

Also to keep light at about 2 inches above your plants to keep them from getting leggy and weak. I do not believe it matters how powerful your light is, they will stretch toward it. I think it is recommended that plants have 14 to 12 hours of light a day. Just my 2 cents, good luck.

imafan26
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Re: Why did my plants die?

The telegraph plant is tropical and humidity is important, but since this plant is in the pea family, I would guess that it would prefer a poorer soil. MG soil is good for most things but this plant prefers sandy soil. So maybe a cactus mix with a little more peat moss added to the mix would have worked better. This plant needs a lot of light. I think your fixture being LED is not the best choice. Although it is bright and you did get a grow light, LED's are not as good as flourescents in delivering a fuller sprectrum of light. Natural light would have been even better. Since this plant moves to light, and that takes a lot of energy, I would also give it a break and let it experience a night. Even though this plant is in the pea family, nitrogen fixers still need fertilizer and some nitrogen. There is not going to be much nitrogen fixing in a pot full of potting mix.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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