I'm a plant killer...

MicheleSmith

New Member
Every 6 months, in intervals, I rotate my dead plants outside to hopeully revive them, and purchase 2 new plants to place in my Panther's and Veiled's enclosure. I'm currently working with a dead/dying Ficus and Umbrella that have about 7 leaves on the entire plant and hate throwing away a plant that could potentially survive if I adjust my care to it- And trust me, I've tried everything to help care for these guys: overwater, undewater, correct amount of water, tons of UVB light, room to breath, ect with absolutely no success. I know a lot of chameleon owners have difficulty with this sort of thing as well- any advice or a solution? Thanks :D
 

Frank Castle

New Member
I dont want to make fun, this is just a personal observation. My Mother has a Brown thumb, any plant that she comes in contact with dies. My Father on the other hand can take a stick off the ground and turn it into a beautiful plant. I dont know what it is. Some have it, Some dont.

On the plus side. I believe you should feed the plants every 6 months or so. The soil might need a recharge of energy to keep the plant going. There was also an article about this on Chameleonsnews.com I believe. You might want to check that out. If I find it I will post it. Good Luck

Frank
 

lowendfrequency

New Member
Most of the issues with plants dying inside of chameleon enlcosures come down to two main factors, light and moisture. While it seems like a UVB light would be best for growing, it really isn't. At least not from a flouro or two. The amount of penetration isn't deep enough for a large plant to sustain itself. Mercury Vapor bulbs help this immensely, but may be too much for your cham depending on your setup. Also, flowering plants like hibiscus cannot fully cycle through the vegatative and flowering stages with only a cool spectrum of light. A good practice is to have a spare set of plants for your chams enclosure, and cycle them out every other month to let them recouperate with some sun.

The other major factor is over-saturation. While plants use Co2, the roots still also need oxygen as well. Soil that doesn't dry between watering cannot aerate and will choke the roots, inhibiting growth and eventually causing rot. Since we can't simply stop misting our chameleons for a few days, you have to increase the drainage of your plants. First, I remove the collection tray at the bottom of a pot. Then I pull up the plant and fill the bottom 2-3" with gravel. I then wash all the soil off the root ball and replant with a mixture that is high in perlite but low in vermiculite. Make sure to top it off with a screen or river stones so your chameleon doesn't eat the perlite.

Fertilizing is essential as well, but in moderation and organics only for the chameleons.
 

Jerm

Avid Member
Michele,
I have the same issues with most of my plants and I am constantly cycling them into the shower, then outside and if revived, back into the cage. Although I have one species of ficus that does extremely well in my cage and has never been cycled outside. In fact, I have had one for over 7 years inside and most of the time it was in a cage. At one point it had grown to the shape of the cage which looked pretty funny when I took it out. I don't know the exact name of it but it has a long leaf like a peach tree. They are generally more expensive than regular ficus benjamina, but well worth it. I will find out the name and post it for you. Good luck!
 
I use UVA bulbs specifically made for "Plant Growing" on my cages aswell as "UVB reptile bulbs". Ficus are fragile in my opinon. If you handle it alot, expect a hanful of leaves to fall off each day. But don't worry about that. Its going to happen. Instead focus on getting new growth.

If you are really having a hard time, you might think about dry icing them. Take long pencils and poke a bunch of holes into the potted soil. Next, put the plant in a bag large enough to contain it and seal off, then position it so dry ice will fill the bag entirely with the Co2 mist, when it starts to overflow out the top, seal off the bag. Let site for the afternoon, and release the next day.

Not only will this kill all the little nasty bugs on or in your plant, even the soil, it will create a growth spurt over the next week. Try it, let me know how it goes. :)
 

edub2017

New Member
remember everytime you move your plant, even somewhere else in the room, the leaves will fall. This is so the new leaves can adapt to the change in lighting. Your ficus may regrow it's leaves outside but once you move it back in expect it to drop it's leaves again. I'll bet your problem is moisture, finding the proper balance can be tricky. For fertilizer i round up any bugs in my collection that didn't make it to feeding (dead) and bury them under the soil. You can also use leftover veggies scraps. I've had success using this method, and i am certian you will too. ;)
 

MicheleSmith

New Member
I pretty much have 2 UVB bulbs- a 10.0 faced downward and a 5.0 clipped to the side facing the plant. I suck at keeping plants. Oh well, I'll try a little snippet out of everyone's reccomendations and hopefully work out a way to keep them alive. I don't think I'm ever going to buy a Ficus again, either...LOL, thanks guys...
 

Jerm

Avid Member
Ficus binnendijkii 'Alii' or Ficus alii. I would recommend this trying one of these, It is the only kind that I will spend money on now. I am trying to convert all of my cages over to this type. The benjamina are just too picky and always lose their leaves. I've found "alii" at Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowes.
 

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Brad

Administrator
Staff member
lowendfrequency said:
A good practice is to have a spare set of plants for your chams enclosure, and cycle them out every other month to let them recouperate with some sun.
I have been doing this for about a year with my schefflera and hibiscus. The hibiscus, at least in my setup, need a more frequent rotation. Pothos seems to do well.

Will Hayward said:
I use UVA bulbs specifically made for "Plant Growing" on my cages aswell as "UVB reptile bulbs".
Why am I not doing that? What bulb do you use? Anyone else doing this?

Jerm said:
Ficus binnendijkii 'Alii' or Ficus alii. I would recommend this trying one of these, It is the only kind that I will spend money on now.
I have heard of other people using and recommending this species, but I have never tried it myself. I have not been able to find much info on it. Does anyone know of any toxicity/irritant concerns for this plant?
 

MicheleSmith

New Member
Soooo...about those fertilizers. I think it would make a tremendous difference if I included a subtle amount within the plant. Suggestions?
 

lowendfrequency

New Member
MicheleSmith said:
Soooo...about those fertilizers. I think it would make a tremendous difference if I included a subtle amount within the plant. Suggestions?

For ficus, I highly recommend Fox Farms Fertilizer's Gro Big formula. It isn't 100% organic because it contains trace minerals from a synthetic source, but close to like 98% organic and I've had excellent results.

http://foxfarmfertilizer.com/
 

Chamomile T

New Member
I had both types of ficus in the cage, Ficus binnendijkii 'Alii' or Ficus alii (thanks Jerm for letting me know the correct name) and benjamina. Both were purchased at the same time and given the same care. Ficus alii is growing like crazy and needs to be trimmed back often, and as for the benjamina, it is outside in the back yard looking like a sad, out of season, Charlie Brown Christmas tree.:(
 

Joshdadresen

New Member
Is the trinette a safe plant for veiled?? The coloring is different on the leaves than te normal umbrella plant "schefflera arboricola".
 
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