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Ming Aralia

Question:

I took home a cutting of my Aunt’s Ming aralia about three months ago.  I set it in water and got it to grow roots after a month and then planted it.  About two weeks ago I repotted it (it was growing great, there was one leaf forming) and I think I planted it in harder soil and it started to die.  I took the plant (tiny) out of the soil and it appears that there are no roots.  I am sending a photo because I really can’t explain what I am seeing.  I am wondering if I need to place it in water again to root or is too late?

Answer:

You made the common mistake of repotting unnecessarily. It was growing well until you repotted. Plants should never be repotted until the pot is entirely filled with roots. Moving a plant to a pot that is too large is an open invitation to root rot.

You now have two options. The first is to set it in water and see if it develops new roots. A better option is to get a very small 2″ or 3″ pot and fill it with damp peat moss. Insert the cutting so that half is in the soil and half is above the soil. Place it in a bright, warm location and mist the soil every day or so to keep the soil barely damp.

No guarantee either way, but give it a try. Nothing to lose. If it does take hold and start growing foliage, increase the watering slightly and leave it in that same small pot for at least a year.