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Help needed for ailing houseplant growing in water ball

Marilyn H. Fetterman AN700018 at brownvm.brown.edu
Mon Apr 24 13:05:48 EST 1995

I am hoping someone here can either help me directly or point me to
a book, listserv list--anything--to help me with this houseplant problem.

I have some kind of ivy growing in a clear, glass ball filled with water.  It
used to be my grandmother's and she had it hanging in a holder right beside
an eastern exposure window, so that's where I have it.  For the past
four years, it has been slowly dying.

The ivy leaves are small, about an inch long and 3/4" at the widest
part.  These leaves grow along a 5/16" diameter, segmented stem. When
my grandmother had it the stems grew and when they got long, she would
pinch them off and stick them back in the water (if she wanted to
replace certain stems).  Since I have it, the stems are not growing
but slowly dying and what new growth I do get is on small segments
(3/4 to 1" pieces of stem), some of which are _inside_ the water ball
instead of hanging outside the ball.

After a few months, green, algae looking stuff starts to grow inside the
ball and along parts of the stems and on some of the roots.  Some areas
of stalk segments under the water have developed some kind of black,
rough growth (hard, not slimmy).  Other areas of the stems have
brownish areas.

I have a lot of iron in my water to I buy spring water to top-off the
water ball.  When the algae gets advanced, I change the water after
first cleaning the ball with Clorox mixture.  Last summer I soaked
the stems/roots in a weak Benomil solution for almost a day before
returning the ivy to the ball--problem not solved.  Last week I
tried a similar soaking, this time with a weak Funginex solution.
The algae along the small stalks (all I have left) did not die.

If anyone can point me in the right direction to cure and futuristically
prevent the reaccurance of this problem it will be greatly appreciated.
None of my books give any information on growing house plants in water.
A second water ball, with a different variety of ivy, is doing fine.

Marilyn H. Fetterman
AN700018 at Brownvm.brown.edu

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