Help, all my plants are killing themselves

Jul 10, 2012

in Home, Make

its hard to keep herbs alive

You guys, all of the herbs died and I was a little bit sad about it. Turns out neon can’t keep you alive. Let that be a lesson to us all. Just because you make it pretty on the outside doesn’t mean it will sustain itself. I’m going to choose to remember them in all their glory. For now the pots are hiding in the empty room we don’t know what to do with, and I’ll revisit their purpose later. But speaking of that room…

corner of our house that houses random things

Check out the corner in the big empty room that houses all of the random knick-knacks we don’t know what to do with. Oops… we’ll call it a “breakfast nook,” for now. I ate a bowl of cereal there once, but those chairs really aren’t that sturdy and I feared for my Raisin Bran’s safety.

Anyway, take a look at the plant. Looks nice eh? Whelp, up close its having some issues internet, the leaves started looking a little funky a couple of weeks ago so I moved it into this room with the most direct sunlight and I seem to have made it worse. Let’s zoom shall we?

plant is not looking so good

Nooooo, what’s happening here? Is it A) too much water B) not enough water C) too much sunlight D) not enough sunlight or E) user error. What’s that you say? You need more info?

Well let’s see, I came back from Iowa and gurl was looking suspicious, but I was only gone for five days and I gave her plenty to drink right before I left. So I figured maybe she missed me and was only depressed. Just in case I went to the ‘Depot and got some of those Miracle Grow sticks and gave her a couple shots of vitamins. And it’s just gotten worse from there. What’s that? You need a closer look? Gotcha, cue dead leaves photo shoot.

all the dead leaves from all the angles

So plant people with green thumbs, whats up? Please help, Patrice will be lonely if she’s the only one to survive…

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Alison Obr July 10, 2012 at 9:50 am

B Phi. Usually when the leaves start turning yellow it means too much water. This is all I know in my very little green thumb experience. When you bought the plant did it have one of this paper descriptions to describe its living conditions. Those can be helpful to let you know how much sunlight and water the plant actually likes. There are my two cents…hope it helps. I have a couple green pepper plants that really hate Houston, I think. They aren’t growing like my beautiful tomatoes. :(


B.Strave July 10, 2012 at 10:43 am

I desperately need a paper description. I bought it from a real plant store so no paper tag. I think my confusion is mostly centered around what exactly constitutes direct sunlight? Is there a chart somewhere, can I get a diagram? Do you think the cat is secretely sabotaging things?

AlwaysAmyH July 10, 2012 at 10:28 am

Hi there! I follow your friend (@copyKelly) on Twitter..

I think your plant just needs a perfect spot in your place and a little pruning. I had one of these in an office I used to work in and the plant guy gave us pretty specific instructions not to move it. Apparently it needs a bright spot away from direct sunlight. Is your plant near an airvent or door where there are more extreme changes in temperature? Once you find the perfect spot for it, the rest should be pretty easy.

From your pictures, I don’t think watering is the issue. The leaves will yellow if over watered and get sad and droopy if underwatered. If I had to guess, I’d say that there must have been either a change in air temperature or a change in humidity. It could be something as simple as your air conditioner drying out the air in your living space. If you don’t have a humidifier (or would rather not use a humidifier for the sake of a plant) just mist the leaves every once in a while and you should be good.

Good luck!


B.Strave July 10, 2012 at 10:46 am

Amy! Thanks for visiting and commenting! That @copykelly is the yeah?

It might be temperature… Its been awfully hot in New York, we’ve been running the AC but that side of the room doesn’t really get chilly. I will try misting. Thanks again!

judy July 10, 2012 at 11:40 am

I had one of these once and it didn’t do well. Saw one later in an office away from direct sunlight and they water from the bottom only. It was doing super!


B.Strave July 10, 2012 at 11:48 am

Water from the bottom? Like soaking it? I do that with my succulents…

Dimitri July 10, 2012 at 6:08 pm

A couple of questions: Was the air conditioner on when you left? Was it near the air conditioner at all at anytime? How often was it watered before? What temp is the room when not home?

Direct light through a window is not great, so I would leave this plant in the brightest part of the room. This is a schefflera arboricola. It likes bright to moderate light and likes to be more dry than moist. It is know to be tough. The black leaf looks like it could have burned through the window, but black is also the sign of either way too much water or the result of cold air. The plant will survive. My suggestion is to keep in the bright room and let it dry to touch before watering.

As for the watering suggestion, it is always best to thoroughly soak the plants in the tub or sink when watering. The day of watering the plant can stay there and you will probably have to water less frequently. Feeding from the bottom does not always work if you recently transplanted the plants since the roots are not at the bottom yet. If I recall correctly, Patrice has some drainage rocks at the bottom.

The dry herbs can now be used for seasoning and the soil can be composted.


B.Strave July 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Round of applause everyone for the plant’s baby dady, Dimitri from Urban Garden Center! Now that’s service. ;) Thanks for checking in. Patrice is doing quite well, she says hey.

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