Plant Problems

If you follow my blog for a while, you may notice that I like alliteration. Sustainable Cities, World Water Day, Blowing Bubbles, SU-mmer Studies, Camping in Cuba, Warka Water, and now this post all have snappy titles that elicit a certain response. The feeling that my plant problems evoke is not good. There are times when I’ve prided myself for having a green thumb, but when issues with my houseplants arise from the abyss I question my ability to handle plants whatsoever.

Unlike everything else, my golden pothos is thriving.

I have two pothos plants; one golden and one neon (not pictured here). The neon had a yellow leaf (which I trimmed) and has slight sun scorch on another. This is odd given that yellow is usually because of low drainage, but sun scorch is from water limitations. Is my neon pothos too wet? Or too dry? No one knows. For now I’m keeping it exactly where it is- in my terrarium. Humidity and soil moisture are unavoidably high in the tank, so I tried to prevent sun scorching by dimming the terrarium lamp during the day. We’ll see how that pans out over the next few weeks. My rattlesnake plant and fettonia also have brown, wrinkled edges that are characteristic of sun scorching. Hopefully that’s all it is, and not another issue with the same symptoms.

I really love the marbled look on the golden pothos – it only appeared on some of the leaves recently. Leaf tendrils decorate my desk and make me feel as though I’m studying in a jungle. It’s a magical look. During the winter the plant hasn’t received much light but all is fine because it’s a low light plant.

My sad grasses.

I detached my grasses from each other because they had grown together. I then placed them in a new, larger pot as a treat. Little did I know: they needed each other in order to stand up properly!


Raising a succulent in the Midwest is a terrible idea. My echeveria is a rosette succulent with a strong penchant for sunlight. The succulent has stretched out toward the sun and lost many of its bottom leaves. This could be due to over-watering. I cut back significantly on watering since the summer. The sunlight is my biggest issue. Unfortunately I turn all my lights off when I leave for work so putting it under a desk light isn’t an option. Crossing my fingers for a sunny apartment next year!


All in all, keeping plants has taught me about patience. I also didn’t know about sun scorching before. Sun scorching happened in this situation because my plants were in close quarters with a heat lamp. However, sun scorching happens in the real world because trees can’t uptake enough water to make up for loss through evapotranspiration. The soil is either too dry or there are physical limitations to root expansion, such as cement pavement. It’s interesting because direct sunlight isn’t actually scorching the trees. It’s the fact that they don’t have enough water to prevent the burn.

How are your plants holding up this winter? I’d love to hear about it. Sincerely, Jess 🙂

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