Garden Diary: January – sickly plant, flowers and a nice surprise!

Top of the list for my Six on Saturday this week is my Sickly Epiphyllum Oxypetalum. It’s dying and I don’t know why. Any advice gratefully received.

This week we’ve had a mixture of weather including heavy rain (at night) with the night time temperature from a low of 3C to a high of 15C. It’s been mostly sunny all week which has inspired me to write a list of what needs to be done. Now I just need to find a garden gnome to help me.

1. Sickly Epiphyllum Oxypetalum (Queen of the Night)

I am not sure what has happened to this poor plant. The leaves have turned yellow and pink. Any suggestions, please?

Sickly Epiphyllum Oxypetalum (Queen of the Night)t
Sickly Epiphyllum Oxypetalum (Queen of the Night)t

This was the plant in Sept 2018 >here>

Oxypetalum (Queen of the Night) only flowers at night" width="500" height="375" class="size-full wp-image-10130" /> Epiphyllum Oxypetalum (Queen of the Night) only flowers at night[
Oxypetalum (Queen of the Night) only flowers at night

2. Hibiscus in Flower

My hibiscus plants growing in pots continue to flower.

Cream and red Hibiscus
Cream and red Hibiscus


Orange Hibiscus - January
Orange Hibiscus – January

3. Narcissus

I am not a great lover of daffodils or narcissus etc. but no spring garden would be complete without at least a couple of pots of sunshine.

Narcissus grow well in pots
Narcissus grow well in pots

4. Cymbidium Orchid

When this beautiful orchid finished flowering earlier this year I split the original plant into four. Two large plants and two off-shoots which I’ve nurtured all through the summer. So far they have all survived – which is a miracle!

Orchid Lily in January
Cymbidium Orchid


Cymbidium Orchid

5. Chlorophytum Comosum – Spider plant

I was given this spider plant several years ago and it hated living indoors. I moved it outdoors and it also complained… until I moved it into a shady position on the front terrace. Plants also sulk and like to make their feelings known. Judging by the number of babies its produced I think it is a happy and productive plant until the snails discover it.

Spider Plant
Spider Plant or Chlorophytum comosum

6. Kalanchoe Synsepala

This little beauty is a birthday present from my ‘cacti and succulent’ friend. The Kalanchoe Synsepala is also known as the walking kalanchoe sends out runners which then take root. It grows well in gravel and requires bright light. At the moment I will leave it in the pot until I find a suitable spot in the garden.

creeping succulent
Kalanchoe Synsepala

That’s it for this week. For more Six on Saturday gardeners, check out the propagator’s blog >here>


19 thoughts on “Garden Diary: January – sickly plant, flowers and a nice surprise!

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  1. Epiphyllum oxypetalum is not very demanding. It has potential to be epiphytic, like most other species of Epiphyllum, so knows how to make the best of limited resources. It lacks foliar scaring that would indicate that it had been damaged by frost or scald. I suspect that the medium (potting soil) is saturated or not draining adequately. It may have decomposed enough to become mucky at the bottom, and perhaps clog drainage holes. The iceplant that is in the pot with it can survive within the extreme upper layer of medium, so may not be too bothered by inadequate drainage below. Normally, I would recommend making a bunch of cuttings of the healthy parts, while pruning the rest back in an attempt to stimulate new growth. However, there does not seem to be enough healthy growth to make cuttings with, and if the rest of the plant is as distressed, severe pruning might be lethal. What I would recommend instead is repotting it into fresh and well draining medium. It does not need a larger pot, and you may find in the process that it has very minimal roots. In fact, if you pull it up lightly, you will likely find that it comes up with almost no roots at all, as if eaten from below by gopher. Do not be too alarmed. If it survives, it can replace roots rather efficiently. If there re only a few roots, and they are muddy, you might want to rinse them off, even if the little bit of attached soil gets rinsed away in the process, and leave them out to drain and dry for a few hours before repotting. You can either repair and drainage problem with the container it is in and rinse it out before repotting, or put it into a slightly smaller container until it recovers and fills it with roots. It is actually better for them to be slightly crowded than to be surrounded by unused but regularly watered medium during recovery. The medium that it is growing in now should be replaced, although, if it is not too mucky, other plants that are not susceptible to rot may not have a problem with it. Sadly, the damaged ‘foliage’ (which is actually stems) will not recover. New growth may develop from some of the older stems or from the base. It is best to leave the old foliage attached until it is obviously necrotic or rotting. Eventually, the old foliage will be replaced by new foliage. If your particular specimen blooms twice annually, it may try to bloom from old stems for the second phase, but will not likely bloom for the first phase. (Mine and most that I am acquainted with bloom only once annually. Please do not be too disappointed if yours does not bloom this year.) During recovery, watering should be monitored rather carefully. The new medium should not be allowed to get saturated. If it recovers, you might be impressed by how quickly it regenerates. I am sorry I do not have a better prognosis.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I am sorry that I do not have a better prognosis. I would recommend not giving up on it until it is completely dead and crispy. Watch the base for new stems. If they develop, the rest can be pruned away.


  2. On a French website, I found that for your epiphyllum, you probably had nights that could have been a little cold? or a brutal exposure in full sun. Or too much watering that caused roots rot?
    Many French internet users have also said that this plant needs vitamins after winter. Maybe this is it?
    Otherwise very beautiful orange hibiscus !!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If only plants could speak to us, Fred. I can cross out the sun as it only gets sun in the winter when it is low in the sky. Cold, nope it’s no colder than usual and this started last year. I am going to plump for root rot or vitamins. thanks for your help, Fred.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful plants and flowers. You have a wonderful variety of them. I bet your home-place looks like an enchanted garden.
    When I was a teenager, ‘spider plants’ was one of the groovy plants to have in a hand macramed hanger.
    I’m wondering if your ‘Queen of the Night’ might be root bound? Sometimes, my container plants start turning yellow when they get root bound. I hope you get it back to full health soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember the macrame hangers! They were quite fashionable at one time.

      I wondered if it was rootbound but then the recent new shoots are green. I wonder if I should water with hydrogen peroxide diluted solution as it breathes air back into the soil. Maybe I overfed it at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Since they can grow epiphytically, they do not easily get rootbound. I mean, they are very efficient of making the best of limited medium in which to disperse roots. I suspect that drainage is somehow insufficient. I will explain in another comment below.


  4. That orange Hibiscus is a looker. My wife has just been given an orchid and we’re both afraid we’re going to kill it off. I must do some research on how to look after them. I wish our weather was as considerate as yours. Rain at night rather than during the day sounds perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

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