House Plants/Ming Aralia
20yr old, 6ft aralia is suddenly dropping lots of it's leaves. I'd say 50% so far. The leaves are falling off still green. Plant has been in same spot for 6yrs, nothing changed in heat/ac/humidity from any other winter. I don't see any bugs, blight, fungus etc.
What to do please? Only plan I have is to take it outside and repot in new soil, deciding on pot size once I see roots. I have never pruned it at all and am afraid to do so drastically.
Your question was posted in the Question Pool rather than directed to me specifically so that is why you have not received a reply sooner. I hope you have not yet repotted or taken it outside in temperatures below 60 degrees.
Ming Aralia roots are very sensitive to moisture around them. If the roots get too dry for even a short time, the plant reacts by producing a flush of yellow leaves. Likewise, if the soil is kept constantly wet, then some of the roots will start to rot and leaf loss will be the same. It is sometimes hard to tell whether you have under or over watered because the symptoms are similar. After an initial loss of leaves, once the watering gets under control, the leaf loss will stop and healthy new leaf growth will emerge. Use your finger to probe the soil and try to get your watering back to what it was before the leaf loss.
Older plants never need repotting and it is best not to disturb the roots. That is why I advise against repotting. Mings are also quite temperature sensitive so I also advise against taking it outside even for a short period. Make sure it is not exposed to any cold drafts when indoors.
I have written detailed articles on repotting and on Ming Aralia care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com. 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.
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Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC
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