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Re: Madagascar Brown Lace

Tim Mullins wrote, May 8 about his Madagascar lace plant developing dark
brown patches on the older leaves, which then die back. It was planted in a
pot with laterite and given a well-lit position with CO2 enrichment.

>1) My lauterite substrate isn't especially
>   rich, ought it be? Maybe the Tetra tabs
>   are depleted. I'm considering injecting
>   PMDD directly into the substrate via a hypo.
>   Would Steve Pushak's "worm casings" help?
>2) Maybe I've depleted some nutrient: K
>   possibly? I've added 7mG/ltr of K via
>   K2SO4 just to see if there is a reaction.
>3) Might it not like one of it's neighbors?
>   This tank has some Anubas nana, patches
>   of "pigmy chain" swords (quadricostatus
>   I think), an Amazonicus sword, Bocopa,
>   lots O' Zosterfolia, Spiralis val, dwarf Sag,
>   an Aponageton boivinianus bought at
>   the same time showing similar browning,
>   some Willisii crypts (with iron red leaves),
>   and a few other odd and ends.
>4) Maybe it's doing one of those strange
>   Aponogeton things like going into a
>   dormate cycle. Should  I put it in a
>   cool basment for awhile?
Tim, your third guess is the the really good one.  I experimented with lace
plants for many years, and finally stumbled on the discovery that they need
"companion" plants whose roots are in contact with those of the lace plant.
I find that small crypts, such as C. x willisii (formerly C. nevillii) are
especially good for that role.  A. boivinianus has similar needs.  Most of
the Aponogetons like a mud that is mostly inorganic with little organic
matter, and when given a high-organic matter substrate, they develop the
characteristic brown dead areas on the older leaves.  Even when given a low
organic matter mud, the lace plant will develop these symptoms unless it
has some companion plants.  I kept a lace plant in a pyrex baking tray with
C. nevillii going for five years without any resting period.  I got about
50 seedlings from it , many of which I was able to grow to full size.

Paul Krombholz                  Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS  39174