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Harsh winter.......

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by rozy221 on February 21, 2006 12:23 PM
It's turning into a rough winter for my houseplants. Can somebody help me out?
1: Aloe plant: lost a few bottom leaves (turned brown from the stem outwards)and a few babies just fell right out of the soil. Of more concern, on the top, in the center, where all of the leaves meet the crown, there is a blood-like substance. I dabbed it up one day, and it came back the next. I have it in a south window, behind a sheer curtain, near a radiator, and I water once-a-month-ish.

2: Rubber plant: Have slowly been losing leaves (turning yellowish-brown, from the tips down) all winter, but all of a sudden, I see a lot of sick leaves. From the looks of it, half of the leaves are going to be gone in no time. I have it in a north window, behind a shear curtain, near a radiator (there's radiators by most windows), and I water about once a week. I can't seem to get a clear idea about where to put this guy-I read high light, low light, medium light-I'm wondering what works for anybody else?

3: Ficus tree: noticed about 4-5 leaves with heavy webs on them-are these from spider mites? I've never seen such concentrated webs on leaves before. The tree's neighbors (a croton and false aralia) are currently under attack, and I'm thinking that something is going on with the calomondin tree, too. It's near a south window, probably the most humid part of the house, and I water about once a week.

All of these plants are on the second floor, and they're ALL having problems. The second floor is a bit warmer (especially at night) than the first floor (comfortable vs. freezing), but I'm pretty much out of room on the first floor. Does anyone have any defensive or preventative measures that I can take? Thanks for your help!
by loz on February 23, 2006 01:52 AM
Oooo, that doesn't sound good at all.... [Frown]

I have my rubber plant in the sunniest window of my house, it's pretty big now but this year it hasn't lost one leaf...Last year when I had it in conditions that weren't bright enough it lost so many leaves I thought I was going to lose it.

Last summer I put it outside in a mostly shaded spot and it grew fantastically. [thumb]

I don't water mine every week during the winter when it's not really growing...I'd say I give it a really good deep watering about once every week and a half to 2 weeks and that seems to work great for my plant.

Not sure about your aloe, but it does sound like spider mites on your ficus. To tell if you have them or not either take a magnifying glass and look at the bottom of the leaves, or hold a sheet of paper underneath a leaf and tap the leaf. If you see little specks about the size of pepper grains and they are crawling around then it's spider mites. They do their damage by sucking sap from the undersides of leaves. In warm dry conditions they can build up in large numbers--humid air will help prevent a large infestation.

Let us know how it goes okay? [thumb]
by cinta on February 23, 2006 12:21 PM
I feel your pain. Winter is so hard on my plants. I grow them outside all summer they grow big only to take a nose dive in all winter.

Last winter I took everything out of the pots, dumped the soil in a garbage bage and put it outside. Brought a big bag of Miracle-gro soil, washed the pots with clorox and soap. Then washed all the soil off the plants. Put the leaves under a strong force in the shower. Let them dry for about an hour and showered them again.

Let them dry for about 4 hours and replanted. They were happier plants.

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by rozy221 on February 23, 2006 01:24 PM
Thanks for the replies!
I will find a new home for my rubber plant ASAP!
My ficus, I guess I just got to mist it at least once a day. Between my seedlings and my tropicals, I might as well keep a spray bottle on my belt!
The aloe, unfortunately, is taking a turn for the worse-the youngest, inner-most leaves seem to be "rotting off" from this ooze that I can't get rid of (YUCK!) I'm thinking it's probably some sort of disease and quite possibly incurable, but we'll see-I'm sure someone will be by that has seen it before.
Cinta-you are very brave! What kind of plants did you do this to? I may need to try that soon on a few of mine!
by Cricket on February 23, 2006 01:36 PM
Cinta, why did you replace the soil in all your pots?

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