En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - July 30, 2011

From: Allen, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Container Gardens, Transplants
Title: Non-native house plants stressed from Allen TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have three house plants that were plants I received from my father's funeral services. They were healthy for about two years and then we added some soil and now they are turning brown and appear to be dying. While new sprouts seem to be growing, they continue wilt after being there a few days. I have two lilies and one philodendrum. Please help!

ANSWER:

First, we need to tell you we may not be much help-most house plants are non-native to North America. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but the the areas in which they grow natively. Your lilies and philodendron will not appear in our Native Plant Database. From the Black Thumb Guide to Gardening, How to Care for Potted Plants. From PlantCare.com Plant Care for Indoor House Plants.

Now let us make a couple comments from our own experience. The first is that flowering plants are very nice sent as a memorial because the blooms will last longer than cut flowers will. However, those blooming plants may not have much in the way of roots. Nurseries who provide florists with these flowering plants do not have the time and space to grow a plant that is meant to be a permanent feature. With greenhouses, special lighting and plant foods they can produce lovely plants, but they are only expected to live as long as the blooms last. All the energy in the plant has gone into producing those blooms and none in producing roots or leaves, which manufacture the food for the roots. You have done very well to keep your plants going as long as you have. As for adding new dirt, the plants may very well be undergoing transplant shock, as you have suddenly changed their environment.

One more thought-you might consider attempting to propagate new plants from the ones you have. In the articles we linked you to above, there will probably be instructions to do this with specific plants. Lilies are ordinarily grown from bulbs; since we do not know precisely what kind of lily you have, we can't make any suggestions on that. From lilies.org, here is a very comprehensive site on lilies, including Propagation.

 

 

More Container Gardens Questions

Indoor lantana tree dropping leaves
November 06, 2008 - I purchased a lantana tree,a lantana hybrid that is only tolerant to 32 degrees. We are zone 5 so I brought it indoors and it only gets the morning sun, and 85%of the leaves have fallen off. The leav...
view the full question and answer

Want to Grow Herbs in Pots on Balcony
November 26, 2011 - Nov. 20, 2011 I live in a large apartment with a front balcony. I was wondering what would grow well in pots and fresh herb this time of the year? And will lavendar work for a hanging plant as well...
view the full question and answer

Darkened leaves on blueberry bush
July 02, 2008 - I have a blueberry bush planted in a very large pot. It has been doing very well, producing berries and new growth. All of a sudden the leaves have begun to turn dark. I have it potted in good soil...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for container gardening in Houston
April 26, 2008 - Hi, we live a townhouse community in Houston, TX and have a decent sized backyard. I plan on devoting part of that to plant some potted flowers which are less than 6 ft tall (we can't plant anything ...
view the full question and answer

Containerized honeysuckle for Dassel MN
April 05, 2013 - We are renting our house but I would like to enjoy my own honeysuckle. Can they be planted in a big pot so that I can take it with me when we move.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center