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China Dolls (Radermacheras ) & Ivies Wilting

Question:

I have 2 plants that have suddenly wilted in the last 2 weeks. The first one was a ivy and the second is a radermachera. They were both fine. No brown leaves or tips. They were both growing very well until one day they just wilted. There was no insects or root rot with either plant. I only had the ivy about 2 months and I have had the radermachera for 4 years. They were not kept in the same room either. What could have caused this to happen and how do I keep it from happening to my other plants?

I looked around on the web for a cause and saw something about salt build up in the soil. What would that look like in the soil ?

Answer:

It is unlikely that pests, disease or excess soil salts are the cause of the problem.

Sudden wilting is usually caused by excessive dryness, exposure to a sudden temperature change, a toxic substance poured into the soil, inadequate light or keeping the soil too moist.

You didn’t mention any dramatic change in temperature or foreign substances being poured into the soil, so they are unlikely causes.

Both your plants should be in bright indirect light. That means they should be no more than 5-6 feet from a nearby uncovered window. In inadequate light, that plant gradually declines, but it is rarely sudden.

Excessive dryness is usually remedied shortly after watering unless the dryness was severe enough to parch most of the roots. Not allowing the soil to dry out properly between waterings is the most likely cause of permanent wilt. In constantly damp soil, the roots slowly rot until one day they are no longer able to absorb water for the plant, so it wilts. Unnecessary repotting is the most common cause of root rot.

Unfortunately, neither Hedera Ivies nor China Dolls (Radermacheras) are very forgiving of watering lapses. If they wilt badly enough that they do not perk up after proper watering, then the roots are probably too damaged for the plants to recover.

Without additional information, I cannot say for sure which of these causes applies to your plants, but root rot is the most likely cause of what you have described. A photo of each plant (including the pots) posted here or emailed to my address below would help me make a better determination. Once I know the cause, I can advise you as to possible recovery and prevention in the future.