House Plants/Sick ti plant

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Question
About 40 years ago I grew a ti plant from a log I ordered from the back of Seventeen Magazine.  It has been the most beautiful house plant all these years, moving with me 9 times and growing bigger and wider with new stalks.  Now has 4 stalks with tallest about 3 feet tall.  It  grows pretty green leaves. We are in our nj home for 15 years and I water it once a week.  I have moved it to a bigger pot from time to time but haven't in years.  For the first time it's sick, leaves are quickly turning yellow ( probably lost 50 leaves over 2 weeks.  It has been in the same room near a south facing wall next to one of the two windows,never getting direct sunlight.  I don't see any insects and it's been in our same air conditioned home/room for years.  I will say we had the coldest winter and this summer has been less humid than most.  But we always run our air conditioning every day of every summer in any year..  Help!! I am sad to lose this plant!  What should I do?

Answer
Hi Mary,

A photo that shows the entire plant, including its pot, would be most helpful. You can post it here or you can email it directly to me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com.

I can tell you what is NOT the source of the problem. It is not pests, the cold winter, the air conditioning or low humidity. It may be inadequate light, but that is unlikely.

I am quite sure the problem is with the roots. You seem to have the watering on a rigid once per week schedule and that can eventually lead to problems, if you are providing water just a bit too often or not quite often enough. The water requirements of plants can change slightly over time and you need to adjust your watering accordingly. That is why I always advise people to water by need, not by calendar.

I cannot tell you just how often to water your Ti Plant because I don't know how it is potted - pot size, drainage holes, soil consistence, etc. Yes, those factors will affect how often and how much water a plant requires and that is why a once per week watering is often not appropriate.

I can appreciate that you have been caring for your Ti Plant successfully for a long time. However, that does not mean that its needs have not changed over time. I suspect that the roots have been slowly dying because they have been not getting quite enough water or not quite enough oxygen. Often, the plant does not show symptoms of this root damage until it reached a critical point and suddenly you get considerable foliage loss.

Another possibility is that there was a single episode of severe drought or over watering that caused similar damage.

I don't have enough specific information about the pot, the soil, the drainage holes and your watering routine to give you a specific answer. More information and a good photo would help.

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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Regards,
Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC

Visit my website at: A link to HorticulturalHelp.com  

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Will Creed

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Education/Credentials
BA, Amherst College

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