Small Tangerines & Big Leaf House Plants

Question:

I have a four-year-old tangerine tree that s planted in the ground. Two years ago, the tangerines were just about the right size. Today, they are really small, and the leaves are covered with black stuff. Also, my tree is the same size as when I planted it. What am I doing wrong?

Answer:

  • You have several problems that are not related to each other.
  • The black stuff on the leaves is Black Sooty Mold. Sucking insects, like Aphids or Scale, causes it. They feed on the new growth, passing the plant juices through their bodies.
    • The clear sticky substance then drops on whatever is below where the black mold grows on it.
    • You prevent the black mold by controlling the bugs with Horticultural Oil during the year. In March, start feeding the tangerine monthly through October with Citrus food. The flush of new growth will mask or hide the discolored leaves.
  •  The second problem is your plant is planted too deep in the ground; hence it hasn’t grown. The top of the first root should be on the soil surface. In late March, I would dig the plant up and replant it.
    • Remove as much excess soil as possible from the drip line if that is not feasible. And lastly, the small, dry fruit is from irregular watering and fertilizer. After replanting, place a six-inch high watering basin around the plant. It should extend from the trunk to the drip line.
    • You would fill this basin to the brim every time you water once the rainy season concludes water weekly. May through October, water twice a week and add supplemental watering when the temperatures are over 95 degrees.
  •  Next year, you will see a vast improvement in your tangerines.

Question:

What kind of indoor plant can I grow where there is no direct sunshine through the windows, just the reflected light from the building across the street? I love big plants with huge leaves. 

Answer:

  • In low-light areas, avoid any plants with any leaf variegation. These plants need more light to survive.
  • You might consider; Fiddle Leaf Fig, the Rubber Tree, Philodendron Selloum, the African Mask, Alocasia plant, or Cast Iron Plant.
  • If the area is bright from the indirect light, you can add Dracaenas, Pothos, and Ferns.
    • You can increase the morning with the widely available ‘grow light’. You should find flood, bulb, or tube-type lights at large retailers and some garden centers. Indoor plants are generally tropical so an indoor climate can be challenging with our forced air Heating and Air Conditioning Systems.
    • I’d avoid placing any plant in front of a vent. During the winter, the closer the plant is to the ceiling, the faster it dries out as heat rises.