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Taking care of a neighbour’s plants and not all is well...

 Hello, friends! So my neighbours are off to travel for a while, and so, have left their (many) plants in our care. The instructions they left were to water them every day. However, many online sources and fellow family members said this would lead to root rot. So what I’ve been trying to do is keep the plant soil moist. Also, I fear we maybe exposing them to far too much light and/or heat (we live in the Arabian Gulf), which begs the question, where in the house were they stationing these plants anyway? There is a particular plant I’m having trouble with since I can’t seem to identify it, and so, can’t seek help regarding it. The soil is rick hard at the moment and it’s leaves look poorly. Any help would be much appreciated !!! *sighs*....


  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530
    Can't help with the ID, but in such cases the remedy is simple.  The dried-out compost will have shrunk away from the sides of the pot, so when you water it the water will just run through the gap and out at the bottom.  All you need do is stand it in a bucket of water and leave it to soak.  It may well float at first, but eventually the water will soak in. Once the rootball is wet through, you can put it back in its saucer to drain, and after that, keep the soil moist.
  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150
    My first thought on seeing the photo was it looks like a sickly poinsettia.  Don't take that as a positive ID though, I'm not 100% sure.

    Josusas soaking method is a good way to rehydrate rock hard soil.
    I do feel sorry for you, it sounds like you're struggling with very difficult conditions to keep your neighbours plants healthy. Try not to worry too much, and good luck 😊
  • Joyce21Joyce21 Posts: 15,489
    I thought Poinsettia too Kitty.
    SW Scotland
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,915
    You have my sympathies.

    You are doing your best and that is all you can do.

    If your neighbours choose to go away and leave them in the heat of summer then they can’t expect to come home and find a garden of Eden.

    Maybe send them an email with a photo and a note of your problems. At least that way they won’t get a surprise when they get home again.

    Next time anyone asks you to “just do a bit of watering” you will be ready to find an excuse to avoid the responsibility.

    Best of luck.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • B3B3 Posts: 25,263
    I was looking after my neighbour's aged cat - and it died :o 
    I'm sure they thought I'd killed it.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,056
    You seem very conscientious in your duties and your neighbours are very lucky to have you take care of their plants. It’s very difficult to rot plants in hot climates, unless the compost is soaking and there is standing water constantly in the trays. Most problems occur through underwatering. When I go away, I leave specific instructions, such as ‘this plant needs a 12 litre can of water three times a week’ these seedlings need watering daily, keep the compost moist but drain off any excess water in the tray’ so perhaps your neighbours were a little vague...

    Don’t worry, it’s only a plant, not a beloved pet - but sometimes these things just happen anyway. B3 I was clipping a friend’s dog for her and the wee thing just expired on the grooming table. We think it’s heart just gave out. I think I was more upset than her, she was comforting me. Horrible! 
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • aatika.ayoubaatika.ayoub Posts: 6
    edited June 2018
    Oh my days, you’re all so lovely! I’ll definitely try the soaking remedy! I honestly don’t mind looking after them since I’m a fan of plants, it was just the lack of instruction offered that made for an issue. And in reference to the aged cat and the poor pup, I’m very sorry you had to deal with that (although I must admit, the circumstances were a tad humorous in the B3’s case hehe). Anyway, thank you guys, you’ve been a great help 😊
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