Brown spots/tips on leaves (pic inside)

pitchpine(z6)May 4, 2006

Hello all,

I posted a while back about my mystery South American citrus, which I'm starting to think may be a variety of Citrus aurantifolia Rutacea (aka Mexican or Key Lime).

I have three of these seedlings which I've been growing indoors for just about a year.

Two of the seedlings are in identical plastic pots (holding about two cups of soil). One of these two has had problems with brown spots on the leaves, as well as dry, brown leaf tips. Leaves also drop every week or two, some of which have brown tips, some of which just have a couple brown spots. The second of these has perfectly healthy leaves, but the new buds turned brown and dried up many months ago, so it has not had any growth in a long time.

The third seedling has been growing in a smaller pot, as it seemed genetically dwarfed to begin with, and is healthy but much smaller. Actually, I believe it was one of two seedlings that came from a single seed (I gave the other plant to a friend).

Growing conditions: All three seedlings are growing in a window in my bedroom that gets only a few hours of direct sun in the morning, under a supplemental compact florescent grow bulb. They are planted in plain old Schultz potting mix, which was all I could get at the time I sowed the seeds. I realize they should have something better-draining, and I'm planning on repotting them today with a better mix. I water when the top inch or two of the soil gets dry to the touch. In terms of atmospheric humidity, I have a cheap little gage (sold for animal habitats) that reads about 55% relative humidity right now.

I've done plenty of searching through pervious posts on the board, but I'm still not sure what the problem is. I'm attaching pictures, which are from my camera phone, as my real digital camera is having power problems.

Any help would be really appreciated. These plants have strong sentimental value for me.

Best regards,


Here is a link that might be useful: Picture of dropped leaf

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Laura, how tall are your plants..though soil needs to dry out, you don't want it drying out too much.
Also, how accurate do you think your hygrometer is? 55% is a good amount of humidity.
Do you mist the leaves on a daily basis? I'd start misting if you're not. Plus take the plants to sink once a wk and spray if you have a sink hose.
Remove marred leaves.
Do you fertilize plants? If so what do you use and how often? You don't want to overdo it w/plant foods.

Morning sun, and I'm assuming you mean the plant is sitting in an east window, isn't all the strong, so sunburn isn't the problem. How close are the lights to the plants? Toni

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 2:49PM
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Hi Toni,

The tallest plant, the one with the leaf problems, is about six inches tall. The others are maybe 4.5 and 3 inches respectively. The light is about 15-18 inches from the top of the tallest citrus. The flourescent light puts out almost no heat, so I don't think that's the problem. Is it possible that it's just too bright? It *is* very glaring, but I didn't think flourescent lights were that powerful.

In terms of fertilizer, I have been using a Schultz liquid 10-15-10 every two or three weeks, like I do for most of my plants. I recently switched to a top-dress dwarf citrus fertilizer 21-7-12 w/micros that I bought from a citrus farm in Florida.

I haven't been misting the leaves, but I will try that. I don't know exactly how accurate my hygrometer is, but it did change when I took it out of my hermit crab tank and placed it near the plants.

Thank you so much for your help, Toni!


    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 9:45AM
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Laura, I don't think the lights are causing this problem, but I'd cut down on the food..did you feed all winter?
I'd flush the soil in case there is salt buildup. To be on the safe side, checking for insects won't hurt either. I hope I'm wrong, but it's worth the look.
Inspect for scale, (bumps) mealy (white cottony patches) mites (webbing) Toni

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 9:27PM
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