Plant help please!

When my parents moved last year at about this time, they left me one of their plants. I have no idea what kind of plant it is (nor do they, unfortunately), but this plant has been very happy with me. Now that the weather is getting colder, though, she’s less happy. Especially since she can’t be outside, and the light I get in my apartment isn’t as much as she’s used to out on the balcony. Leaves have been dropping like mad, and I’m getting a bit worried. I know next to nothing about plants, and while this little lady and I had been getting along great, she’s now pissed as hell at me it seems.

I just got back from a short trip and went to move her into my bedroom which gets better light than my living room where she’d been hanging out and noticed that the pot she’s been in since before I got her is cracked. I don’t know if the crack was caused by the change in temperature or if she’s outgrowing her potted home and needs to be transplanted or what. It’s obvious I need to get a new pot, but I’ve never transplanted anything before and given that I don’t even know what kind of plant she is, I’m in a bit of a quandary. So, I’d like to enlist some help from you more plant-knowledgeable readers out there. I’ve pasted a picture of my baby below. I welcome all suggestions and information regarding her species, what kind of pot to get, what soil to use, if I should feed her with some sort of fertilizer, why the pot broke, how to transplant her, etc. She’s my first plant, and we’ve done so well together – I don’t want to lose her! Many thanks!

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5 thoughts on “Plant help please!

  1. I’m not sure what kind of plant it is, but I am sure that getting a new pot that is just slightly bigger than the one you have and something that is a similar material will work for it. As for feeding it, I am a die hard Miracle Grow fan. My plants always really perk up after I feed them. The instructions on how much should be on the plant food container. I would try to find a potting soil that is similar to what it is already in. If the roots on the plant are really tight when you take it out of the existing pot, gently pull them apart a bit and break up some of the soil around them before repotting it.

    Something to keep in mind is that some plants, even indoor plants, go through dormant or semi-dormant phases. Since I don’t know what kind of plant that is, I am not sure what this plant typically does, but I do know that all of my plants (I have at least 3 different kinds) go into a stage about this time of year where they just don’t look quite as good as they do the rest of the year. Good luck!

  2. I don’t recognize the plant, but I agree with Foxchild that it looks like it needs a new pot and probably some fresh, nutrient rich soil. Given the time of year, the plant probably will not grow like it would in spring, but the new soil will definitely give it a boost.

    I would go with a pot 2 or 3 inches bigger than its current home and give the root ball a good padding of quality potting soil in the new pot (3-4 inches at the bottom and 2 on all sides).

    Humidity may be a factor in the plant’s decline as well as the change in the amount of sunlight it’s getting. Air is dryer in the fall and winter, especially if you have the heat on. You can try taking it into the bathroom while you shower and leaving it there for an hour or so afterward to get a dose of humid air, then put it back in its normal home.

    Warning, I do not actually recommend this, but it’s a thought if decline continues. Cut back the flowers, they are diverting nutrients from the vegetative growth. With the flowers cut, you should see a marked improvement in the health of the vegetation in a week or so.

    As Foxchild pointed out many plants, even houseplants, do go through dormancy in fall and winter then spring to life in, well..spring 🙂

    Hope that helps somewhat and best of luck.

  3. Excellent advice! To transplant your little gal, soak her soil very well and edge a flat object like a putty knife or a butter knife between the soil and the pot, all the way around to loosen it from the edge of the pot. Make sure you prepare the new pot and soil ahead of time with a few inches of soil in the new pot. Place one hand over the base of your plant and turn it upside down. You may have to coax her out a bit, but eventually you’ll just work her out of her old pot. Place the plant in the new pot and make sure to cover her root structure well with soil. Give her some more water so that all the soil is well-moistened.

    My experience with potting soil is that peat moss and vermiculite mixed equally with general purpose potting soil makes a good, nutrient rich soil that almost anything can grow in.

    Good luck!

  4. Thank you, ladies! Flowers (that’s her name) has been successfully re-potted (I think)! I went to Home Depot and got a pot that’s a couple inches wider and deeper than her old pot (cause I’ve heard you shouldn’t change the size dramatically), which is far prettier than her old pot I might add. I got some potting soil that has yummy food in it for her that’ll feed her for 4 mos, and it’s specifically for both indoor and outdoor plants. I had no problem with the actual transfer which surprised me, happily. I’m still trying to figure out what she is, but the Home Depot guy said she looked like some type of succulent, since her stems are all spiky. So, as for that, my hunt continues!

    Thanks for all the advice! 🙂

  5. That’s a kind Euphorbia; several kinds of euphorbia are colloquially known as “crown of thorns”; when it’s well-watered, the leaves are large and broad, as in your photo–when it’s dry, the leaves stay very small. This difference sometimes causes confusion, but it’s the same plant. As long as the soil drains well, it has extraordinary ability to adapt. It will also make flowers all year round.

    Here are some links:

    http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/1925/

    http://www.blankees.com/house/plants/crown.htm

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