Tea plant, leaves with brown tips

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Tea plant, leaves with brown tips

by Drax » May 9th 15 10:28 pm

I'm curious for those who have experience growing (indoors) tea plants. I've got a 3 year old plant that has pretty large leaves, but they tend to be very brown on the tips (sometimes up to half of the leaf). New shoots are currently appearing, and some of them already have tiny bits of brown on the end. Any ideas what's causing it?

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Re: Tea plant, leaves with brown tips

by Bef » May 9th 15 11:48 pm

Not sure about tea plants. But when it occurs on some other plants, IIRC, it's either because the R/H is too low, or because of excessive fertilizer usage.

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Re: Tea plant, leaves with brown tips

by entropyembrace » May 10th 15 12:20 am

+1 for what Bef said, try getting a spray bottle and misting the leaves of your tea tree :)

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Re: Tea plant, leaves with brown tips

by jayinhk » May 10th 15 1:58 am

Sounds like too much nitrogen...are you using a chemical fertiliser?

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Re: Tea plant, leaves with brown tips

by Drax » May 10th 15 10:53 am

Oooh, good, I started doing a spray bottle about a week ago, but I wasn't sure if it was really doing anything. I'll keep it up (I wish I could be home to do it more frequently).

I have been doing a "plant food" additive designed for a 7-12 day cycle. The balance looks like 12:4:8 for N:P:K. Those are the percents listed. Should I spread that out for more time between feedings?

I haven't quite figured out the timing for watering, either. It seems to do okay with weekly watering, whereas my lime tree needs water about every four.

Thanks for the ideas....!

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Re: Tea plant, leaves with brown tips

by entropyembrace » May 10th 15 7:26 pm

Yes if you're using fertilizer you need to be using a lot less. Too much makes it hard for the tree to absorb water from the soil.

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Re: Tea plant, leaves with brown tips

by jayinhk » May 10th 15 11:56 pm

Try using the fertilizer at 1/4 strength. I'm into organic gardening myself, so I'm not a fan of the chemical stuff, but it certainly will do the trick if used correctly, even if it's horrible for the environment. ;)

Is your tree in a large enough pot? You may want to flush the pot to wash out residual fertilizer salts and then go lighter on the fertilizer from now on.

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Re: Tea plant, leaves with brown tips

by Drax » May 19th 15 1:17 am

Hrm, even the new leaves are starting to brown, definitely not a good sign!

Could direct sunlight be causing a problem? The plant is indoors, but I've got it near a window sill, and sunbeams sometimes strike it full on. It would seem kinda odd....

I might try to transfer the pot, but it really should be adequate. Getting concerned the plant isn't going to survive much longer.... :( Very odd when my lime tree is growing by leaps and bounds.

Anybody know what typical tea plant requirements are for watering? Do they prefer more or less? For example, I can't over-water my lime tree. But over-watering my rosemary will kill it. I haven't quite figured out the tea plant because it doesn't respond quickly to changes, unlike my other plants...

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Re: Tea plant, leaves with brown tips

by jayinhk » May 19th 15 1:20 am

Considering tea grows in and around the tropics, I'd say it can handle a good watering. Flush your tea plant...pour 2-3x the volume of the pot's worth of water through it and lay off the fertilizer.

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Re: Tea plant, leaves with brown tips

by Chip » May 19th 15 2:36 am

Check for pests such as spidermites.

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Re: Tea plant, leaves with brown tips

by jayinhk » May 19th 15 2:43 am

I'd also dig around for root aphids...if you see white crawlies in the soil, it may be too late.

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Re: Tea plant, leaves with brown tips

by teaformeplease » May 19th 15 4:14 am

It could be lack of humidity. Try setting up a cheapy humidifier nearby.

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Re: Tea plant, leaves with brown tips

by Drax » May 19th 15 11:17 am

Excellent, thanks for all the ideas!

I'll re-pot it this afternoon and check for pests. I'm going to use a different soil that should drain better, too (the current soil really seems to retain a lot of water for a long time). And I've got a humidifier I can set up.

*fingers crossed*

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Re: Tea plant, leaves with brown tips

by Drax » May 19th 15 10:34 pm

All right, when I re-potted it, I noticed that there were a few small fly-like creatures running around the base. Odd, because I've never seen them airborne.

So before re-potting, I washed off some of the old soil. Interesting how the roots looked -- very... icicle like. Kinda hard to describe, kinda wish I had taken a picture. I flushed the soil a few times with water, and then a final rinse with a bug killer. I'll keep my fingers crossed, as it's getting pretty bare at this point (many of the older leaves have been dropping as well). I know it's going to be a close call.

I'm not sure humidity is the problem, as my A/C is currently not working and it's 60% RH in here based on my hygrometer. But I'll try plugging in the humidifier anyway and see how that goes, too. Time to pull out all the stops.

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Re: Tea plant, leaves with brown tips

by kyarazen » May 20th 15 1:43 am

feed it some tea? :D....or spent tea leaves?