Pandanus Veitchii

(Question)

Hi,

I am starting to worry about my Veitchii plants I have in my office. They have been growing good for the past few years. This past month or so, I have found that a lot of the bottom leaves of the two big plants I have have had their leaves turning yellow then then to brown. The brown leaves had dried up. I water them once a week and have been cutting off the dead leaves. I really haven’t that kind of problem and I have had them for the past three years. I just don’t know what to make of this. Do you have any suggestions as I do not want to have them die on me. I have been taking real good care of them all these years and do not know the solution. I tried to send a picture of those leaves but am having trouble downloading them on your attach a picture.

Thanks

(Answer)

It is not uncommon for mature specimens of Pandanus veitchii to lose bottom leaves as time goes on and this is not necessarily an indication of disease or plant health problems, but it could be an indication that your plants are potbound – i.e., that they have outgrown their original containers.  Cutting the browned leaves off carefully as you have been doing is the right way to tidy your plants.

There are a couple of things you could consider doing for your Pandanis veitchii.  If you have not repotted them since you acquired them, they will likely benefit from a slightly larger pot and some new potting mixture.  You can do this now, or wait until the beginning of the growing season in the early spring.  Screw pines do not need to be repotted often, but at the three-year mark, and if they are still in the pots that they came in, this will be helpful in keeping them healthy.  You should choose a good commercial potting mixture formulated for house plants, which you will be able to find at this time of year at any large garden centre.  When you remove your plant from its existing pot (do this very gently) you may notice that there are roots protruding from the soil’s surface (this happens in time with Pandanus veitchii) and you can make sure they are covered with the new potting mixture in the new pot.  Good drainage is essential for all house plants to prevent problems that result from overwatering, such as root rot or limp and yellowing foliage.  We recommend that you use a pot with drainage holes, filling it with potting mixture.  If you choose to set this pot into another decorative container without drainage holes, it is important to ensure the the outside pot has no water sitting in the bottom after watering.

This is also a good time to check for dust on the leaves, which can impede the plant’s ability to “breathe”, and give them a gentle clean with a damp cloth, watching out for the prickly edges of the screw pine foliage.

In addition, during the dormant season, i.e., the winter months, your plants will benefit from a monthly application of a balanced house plant fertilizer (that is, a fertilizer containing a balanced ratio of the three nutrients expressed in numerical form, such as 5-5-5).  During the growing season (spring and summer) this can be increased according to the directions on the product.  Screw pines do not need large amounts of fertilizer – a weak mixture will suit them well.