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Wilting Hibiscus


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#1 Guest_mem_*

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Posted 07 October 2002 - 12:20 PM

I repotted my hibiscus plant about a month ago. The plant stays in the house. It was doing great until about a week and 1/2 ago when the leaves became wilted.
The leaves remain wilted and some are becoming hard and brittle and are curling uo and falling off. Some of the leaves have brown edges and a couple have brown lines on the leaf.
I may have overwatered this as the water indicator says it is wet and it feels moist around the root. There is also water in the base saucer.
When it began to look wilted, I gave it water. That was four days ago. It remains in this wilted stage.
I have tried adding a few coffee grounds to the soil, but nothing is helping.
Any help would be appreciated. This plant has been super up to this point, but it was very much pot-bound, so I repotted it in a bigger pot.
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#2 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 08 October 2002 - 11:23 AM

When we repot, for a while the plants' roots are likely to be surrounded by too-wet potting mix, everything in the new layer that has no roots in. When you water, the root-filled portion of potting soil dries out fairly quickly but that new stuff doesn't, and the root tips most likely hurt in transplanting, at the outer edge of the old root ball, are in contact with that.

So root rot is a common occurrence in freshly repotted plants, wilt being one symptom of it as rotted root tips are unable to keep up with the plant's water needs. Repotting right before bring a plant in to lower light can make it even harder to water without causing this, since the plant doesn't have much time/energy to fill the new soil with roots.

You can tell the problem was water by lifting the plant up out of the pot and checking the root tips. You'll be able to tell they're not firm and crisp. Let the plant dry out -- get that water out of the collection tray. Keep it in bright light. Cut off the dead leaves and twigs.

Good luck!
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#3 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 08 October 2002 - 11:25 AM

I should have said that even plants kept indoors are at risk when repotted as light levels decline in fall.
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#4 Guest_mem_*

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Posted 09 October 2002 - 10:14 AM

Thanks for the suggestions. I have actually taken out much of the very wet dirt in the pot and added new potting soil. The indicator still reads very wet around the ball and more leaves are drying up. They do not turn yellow, they just get very brittle and dry. I have removed any excess water from the saucer and am keeping my fingers crossed for a recovery. Should I spray the leaves at all with water to keep them moist or will this just add to the problem
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#5 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 09 October 2002 - 09:56 PM

I don't think it will help to mist the leaves. Those that are drying up are doing so because the plant is sacrificing them, reallocating its resources to what the depleted roots can support. And if it's the suddent death of root-rot wilt, then the leaves would turn brittle -- but they were dead before they became brittle.
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