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House Plants/Wilting plants


I have 2 plants that have suddenly wilted in the last 2 weeks. The first one was a ivy and the second is a radermachera. They were both fine. No brown leaves or tips. They were both growing very well until one day they just wilted.There was no insects or rootrot with either plant. I only had the ivy about 2 months and I have had the radermachera for 4 years. They were not kept in the same room either. What could have caused this to happen and how do I keep it from happening to my other plants?
I looked around on the web for a cause and saw something about salt build up in the soil. What would that look like in the soil ?

Hi Sidney,

I gave you a very thorough and accurate answer to a question that you posed without providing much background information. It would not be responsible for me to give you one definitive answer, although that is what you were seeking. Had you posted a photo as I requested, I could have helped you much more.

I think your low ratings are unfair and irresponsible.


Hi Sidney,

It is unlikely that pests, disease or excess soil salts are the cause of the problem.

Sudden wilting is usually caused by excessive dryness, exposure to a sudden temperature change, a toxic substance poured into the soil, inadequate light or keeping the soil too moist.

You didn't mention any dramatic change in temperature or foreign substances being poured into the soil, so they are unlikely causes.

Both your plants should be in bright indirect light. That means they should be no more than 5-6 feet from a nearby uncovered window. In inadequate light, that plant gradually declines, but it is rarely sudden.

Excessive dryness is usually remedied shortly after watering unless the dryness was severe enough to parch most of the roots. Not allowing the soil to dry out properly between waterings is the most likely cause of permanent wilt. In constantly damp soil, the roots slowly rot until one day they are no longer able to absorb water for the plant, so it wilts. Unnecessary repotting is the most common cause of root rot.

Unfortunately, neither Hedera Ivies nor China Dolls (Radermacheras) are very forgiving of watering lapses. If they wilt badly enough that they do not perk up after proper watering, then the roots are probably too damaged for the plants to recover.

Without additional information, I cannot say for sure which of these causes applies to your plants, but root rot is the most likely cause of what you have described. A photo of each plant (including the pots) posted here or emailed to my address below would help me make a better determination. Once I know the cause, I can advise you as to possible recovery and prevention in the future.

I have written detailed articles on watering and on Hedera Ivy care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

If this information has been helpful, please click the Rate Volunteer bar below and enter a rating and NOMINATION for me. I am a volunteer on this site so Ratings are the only compensation I receive for answering plant questions.

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Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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