Plant Diseases/leaf curl


I have a black ivy ( I think) is the name. I repotted it awhile ago and it seems to be growing very nicely,after the leaves get so big the curl under ,dry up and fall off.I thought maybe it was mites,or aphids so I tried spraying it with an antibacterial soap and water mixture to no avail.

Dear Belindia, I am not sure what a black ivy is, as the name doesn't come up on a search, but I assume you mean one of the larger leaf climbing ivies.  If the plant has aphids, you should be able to see them on the underside of the leaf, and that will cause new leaves to shrivel and curl.  To test for spider mites, hold a leaf over a white sheet of paper and tap it a few times sharply to dislodge any bugs.  If you see anything moving on the paper, then you have spider mite.  To treat for either of these bugs, you should spray with NEEM, an organic substance found in many garden products, which is effective on insects, mites, and fungus.  Be sure to spray the plant thoroughly, especially the bottom of the leaves.  Do not spray with antibacterial soap.  It is not the same as insecticidal soap and can cause more damage to the plant.  I am concerned that you say the leaves are actually drying up and falling off after they curl under.  This suggests that either you aren't watering enough, or perhaps after watering, the plant is over a drip saucer which is holding excess water.  Be sure to empty all drip saucers after the plant is watered, as too much water can suffocate the plant.  Since this occurred right after repotting, I am thinking that you might have damaged roots or in some other way the plant is experiencing different growing conditions.  Was it in bright light and now it is in heavy shade or the other way around?  Big growing changes can cause plants to drop leaves.  Also, when you repot, don't go up to a much bigger pot size; only repot plants in pots about one size larger.  
I'm not sure exactly, what could be causing the damage, but it is probably mostly due to the transplant shock and/or different growing conditions.  Check the plant for bugs, and the light and watering conditions, and the plant should stop dropping leaves about a month or so after repotting.  I hope this information helps, but be sure to write back if you need more assistance.  Good luck, Melissa

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Melissa Johnston


Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.


35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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