What Happens to a Plant When it Dries Out?

by | Mar 21, 2019 | 0 comments

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you my calathea that had completely dried out and needed to be re-hydrated. You can see that postĀ here. Since then, I was at TJ Maxx, saw this adorable pot, and bought it. Don’t you love that chevron design? I do! The best thing is that when I got home I realized it was perfect for the calathea. (Yes, I buy pots without knowing what I will put in them. Don’t you?) I did have to drill a hole in it so will need to take it off the wooden stand to water it, let it drain, and return it to the stand. That’s okay and I’d rather have to take it to the sink than worry about guessing when watering. So what happened to the plant after drying out?

Up-potted into a new container

Consequences are inevitable

I want to show you what happened to that plant. Consequences are inevitable. They may not happen right away, but they are going to happen eventually. Whether it is yellowing leaves or brown tips, there WILL be results you may not appreciate if you let your plant dry out. As you can see in the pictures below, the leaf tips have turned brown on my calathea.

The ends of the leaves have turned brown

Damaged end

Trimming off the consequences

So I’ve rectified the problem by rehydrating and repotting the plant, but what will I do with those brown ends?

I trimmed them off, trying to emulate the original shape of the leaf. That is important. Don’t just cut off the ends of the leaves straight across. Blunt ends do not look natural.

This plant came from Florida in my carry on and the brown marks on the leaves below are from physical damage. There is nothing I can do about that unless I cut a lot off the leaf. I decided to leave it alone.

Damage from coming home in a suitcase


These clippers below are perfect for trimming leaves to the correct shape as they have a slight curve to the blades. I love them!

CurvedĀ  clippers help trim a leaf in the correct shape

The trimmed leaves look better.

Trimmed the damaged leaf

Trimmed leaf

More info about calatheas

These tips are the results of inconsistent watering and letting the plant dry out too much. Another thing to know about calatheas: they are in the marantaceae family of plants which also includes the prayer plant. Where I live there is fluoride in my city water. Plants in the marantaceae family do NOT like fluoride and will react with brown spots and tips, so if you can, water these plants with bottled, distilled, or rainwater if you have city water. Also, they would like a bit more humidity so place them on a pebble tray to add humidity.

The key is to keep your plant consistently moist. It doesn’t want to be too wet or too dry. Obviously, I wasn’t paying attention and my plant suffered. Have you done that? I think we probably all have at one time or another. Let’s commit to being better plant parents!

Have a great day!


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