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Creeping Charley

Question:

My sister and I have the only starts off of our mother’s Creeping Charley since she passed away.  They had been doing great – but as of late – my sisters has turned a very light green – some leaves yellow – with several leaves having brown wilted edges.  She just moved close by and she brought her plant to me.  It looks almost lime green compared to mine.  I have cut it back to try to make it more healthy – but I am worried.  Do I need to repot it?  Does it need different soil?  Do I need to give hers a specific fertilizer.  She did have her plant in full sunlight.  Mine is in more indirect.  Both are in about 6″ pots.  Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Answer:

I am going to assume that your “Creeping Charley” is a Plectranthus australis, although there are several other very different plants that people commonly refer to as Creeping Charley.

Your sister’s plant is suffering from too much direct sun and also maybe from getting too dried out. Plants in direct sunlight use much more water than those in indirect sun. This plant does best in very bright, but mostly indirect sunlight, such as on a north or east windowsill. It should be watered thoroughly as soon as the surface of the soil feels dry. If the soil gets too dry, it gets water resistant and hard to re-wet. If that is the case, let it sit in a saucer filled with water for about 30 minutes.

This plant also does best when kept potbound, so I don’t recommend repotting. You can fertilize monthly at half strength using any standard commercial fertilizer. Fertilizing doesn’t make that much difference so stay focused on proper light and water.

Any leaves on your sister’s plant that are already discolored will not get green again, so I suggest pruning back those stems with the discolored leaves. Healthy new growth will emerge at the ends of the cut-back stems as long as the light and water are improved.