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by desperate christie
(geneva, fl)

I’m afraid I know the answer, but thought I’d ask anyway. I had a beautiful and extremely sentimental polka dot plant.

The leaves got brown on the edges I assume because one or more of my children decided it needed more water repeatedly. I put it outside to help dry it out and the whole darn thing went limp and it was pretty much all yellowish/brown sad looking. I see a little bit of green at the bottom of the stem close to the root. Is there any way to save the root from dying at least and “start over”? I’m really desperate.

Btw, I cut off the other stems except the main one to try to keep the whole thing from dying. I put those stems/branches in water probably for no good reason. They were only 1 1/2-2 inches. It had grown to about 6 inches tall with white dots. One of my son’s started growing it in kindergarten before the holidays and he died just before Christmas. It was given to me that friday before Mother’s Day.

So sorry for your loss – I can see why you would want to keep this little plant going, for this reason only.

Okay, where do I start? You may be right, that children trying to be helpful could have given it too much water. If the pot it’s in doesn’t have good drain holes, it could have root rot. I would carefully take it out of the pot, and inspect the roots.

You can tell if they are rotten because they will be dark colored, mushy and shriveled. Cut any off that look like this, and hopefully there will be a few that are still white, or pale colored.

I would rinse the roots off, carefully, and dry it with a paper towel to get rid of excess moisture, and then repot it into fresh soil.

Don’t try and re-use the same soil, if it has pathogens in, this will be the death knell for the plant. Water lightly, and then leave it alone to recuperate (keep the kids away from it!) Avoid bright sunlight, or really dry conditions (like near an air conditioner).

The good news is that there is still some green right at the base of the plant, so there’s still hope.

Sometimes, there is an astonishing amount of life left in plants, and they will recover.

Best of luck with your little plant.

Comments for dying polka dot plant?

Jul 14, 2012
Wait and see
by: Desperate Christie

I looked at the roots and they seem ok. White, “webby” and no black. Not limp and mushy. I took it out of the soil and rinsed the roots. Put it in new soil. My mom showed it to a local nursery guy who said it will die.

I decided to put the other stems in the soil next to the main one and see if any new ones sprout or the main one comes back. I put a plastic bag over the whole thing to help against overwatering and to add more humidity. The plant is on a windowsill with non see through glass in our bathroom which should help in case it was getting too much indirect sun too. I’ll let you know if it comes back to life. I couldn’t give up trying. At least the plant isn’t any worse. Thanks for your help.

Yes, wait and see is the best thing – it might surprise you!