HousePlant newbie with a black thumb!

Dear Judy,
I’m new to houseplants and cannot seem to keep anything alive. I started out with beginner plants and have not done well. I got a pothos plant, a spider plant, and a chinese evergreen and a few days after their first watering they seemed to look limp and droopy and were yellowing. When I checked the soil it was still soaked. When I took the plant out of the soil…root rot. I chalked this up to my being a beginner and thoroughly researched proper plant care and watering (watering until the water comes out of the drainage hole). I tried to save these plants but it was too late so I bought another spider plant and another pothos to start again. I was so terrified to water them that I let them go without for a week or so and then did a deep watering allowing the water to go through the drainage hole. Again my plants fell limp and started browning and losing leaves on the bottom. Again mushy roots. I found that the spider plant was actually several plants that were planted together in one pot so I separated them and planted them into different smaller pots with several drainage holes and rubbed the remaining roots with cinnamon before replanting. I also pruned the remaining leaves heavily to promote root growth. The pothos, however, I found to be several clippings that were all planted in one pot. Can these be saved? Help. What am I doing wrong?


There are quite a few things you need to know about houseplants

1. There are always several plant clippings in each pot. This is done so that the plant looks full and bushy as it grows. Do not separate them!!

2. Depending upon the light and temperature in the room, it can take anywhere from one to three weeks for a plant to dry out and need water. Until you are sure, before you water, carefully remove the plant from its pot and check to see if the bottom of the soil is dry. If it is dry, it’s time to water. Water well, but do not allow the plant to sit in water.

3. The leaves of a spider plant turn a pale green when it needs water. Allow a new pothos plant to droop slightly and feel light when you lift it before watering.

4. Do not rub roots with cinnamon, it does nothing for the plant.

5. You can always save a plant that has been a little under watered, but an over watered plants dies!

6. There is a product called SuperThrive that you can read about in the Glossary of the website. Sounds like you need it! Let plants dry out (all the way to the bottom of the soil), and then add 10 drops to a gallon on water.

7. Avoid repotting until the roots of a plant have totally filled the existing pot.

Let me know how things go.