Rhiannon and I got a nice palm-type tree to go in our bedroom a few weeks ago. It is tall enough to brush the ceiling in the corner and really fills the room nicely. We both agree that having something living in our house makes the place feel homey. Up until this point, we have had plants that are classified as being hard to kill. Water them every other day? Sure. Don’t water them for a month – that’ll work too.
The palm tree is a little pickier about its water. Apparently, a plant that needs constantly moist soil doesn’t like our sporadic every-other-week watering schedule. The leaves started to turn brown.
I admit we panicked. We watered. A little at first, a few cups. No water came out the bottom of the pot. A little more. Still no water. Ok plant, bring it on. We started dumping the water in quite liberally. No water from the bottom. The plant continued to brown. We panicked some more and did what any pair of 20-something-year-olds would do in our situation.
We consulted the interweb, because the interweb knows everything.
We read that the combination of peat moss and soil in the pot doesn’t always retain water well after it dries completely out. Of course!! The soil was no good anymore. At least it wasn’t us. (At this point we should have thought, “If the soil doesn’t hold water, why isn’t the massive amount of water we have been putting into the pot coming out the bottom?” We didn’t think this at all.)
I moved the pot downstairs so Rhiannon could get started repotting last Wednesday on her day off. She called me a little while into the day.
“When you moved the tree, did you hear water sloshing around?”
“No, but it was really heavy.”
“Yeah, the pot was inside another pot and that pot had a plug in the bottom so water doesn’t leak out. Ever.”
“So all that water…”
“Yeah, about three gallons just sloshing around in the second pot and around the roots.”
We’ve successfully killed off about half the tree at this point. There are two branches we still have hope for. I sure hope babies give better feedback on how you’re doing than plants do. Really. We need it.