Why Is My Cat’s Whiskers Plant Dying? Tips for Rescuing Your Dying Orthosiphon Aristatus Plant

The gorgeous cat’s whiskers plant is an exceedingly large foliage with tall stems that have flowers sprouting outward from the tippy top. The petals of the flowers extend as wispy bits that look just like… well… cat’s whiskers!

So, if yours is dying, you are likely in distress. But don’t worry. There are plenty of approaches we can take to breathe it back to life.

A Cat’s Whiskers Plant Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office

A Cat’s Whiskers Plant Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office

Native to tropical regions of China, Thailand, Indonesia, and Australia, the cat’s whiskers plant is found along the edges of forests, offering a bit of fancy to the surroundings.

It can grow taller than 6 feet in the wild and as wide as 3 feet, so expect it to take up some space in your home.

It will clean the air by absorbing common household and office toxins, and it will breathe out oxygen at night while you sleep.

The white and lavender colors of the flower, as well as the green, bring positive feng shui energy to your life and work, encouraging luck and wealth. And because the cat’s whiskers plant is from the mint family, it will also exude healthy energy into your environment.

Signs of a Dying Cat’s Whiskers Plant

The most obvious signs of a dying cat’s whiskers plant are as follows:

  • Brown leaves
  • Crispy leaves
  • Mushy leaves
  • Mushy stems
  • Crisping or burning flowers
  • Rotting soil

Common Causes of a Dying Cat’s Whiskers Plant

The most common causes of a dying cat’s whiskers plant include:

  • Too much sun
  • Not enough sun
  • Too much water
  • Not enough water

Watering Needs of a Cat’s Whiskers Plant

Because it is native to those tropical regions, the cat’s whiskers plant needs plenty of moisture and humidity, but not too much to the point of drowning.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to work with your thumbs, or your fingers to be more exact. Get used to sticking your finger in the topsoil and checking for moisture.

If you notice the soil is still moist, you can wait to water it. If the soil has dried out, go ahead and water it. The last thing you want is for your plant to be sitting in water, which will lead to root rot.

To read more about watering your plant, take a look at this article on watering mistakes that might be killing your plant.

Am I Underwatering My Cat’s Whiskers Plant?

If you are underwatering a cat’s whiskers plant, you’ll notice the plant getting limp. The stems may begin to fall over, and the flower’s petals may fall off in excess.

Restoring Water to Your Underwatered Cat’s Whiskers Plant

If you do notice these changes, be sure to water your plant immediately. In all likelihood, the plant will bounce right back.

Am I Overwatering My Cat’s Whiskers Plant?

In the much more likely event that you are overwatering your plant, you may notice soggy soil and mushy stems or leaves.

Restoring Balance to Your Overwatered Cat’s Whiskers Plant

If your cat’s whiskers has been overwatered, you can set it closer to the sunshine and in fresh air to let it dry out.

If the roots have begun rotting, you can remove the root ball from the soil and lay it on a screen in the sunshine for a couple of days until it dries out. Then repot the root ball in fresh, indoor houseplant soil and be sure to follow a regular watering schedule going forward.

Soil Needs of a Cat’s Whiskers Plant

For the cat’s whiskers, be sure to plant it in fresh, neutral indoor houseplant soil.

Soil Drainage Needs for a Cat’s Whiskers Plant

The root system cannot sit in water, so be sure to use a well-draining soil and put it in a pot with plenty of holes, so the soil does not hold water.

Resolving Soil Drainage Issues for a Cat’s Whiskers Plant

You can also place pebbles in the bottom of the pot as an added measure, so the soil has plenty of drainage.

Lighting Needs of a Cat’s Whiskers Plant

The cat’s whiskers plant loves full sun, so be sure it is sitting next to a big, bright window that gets many hours of sunlight. It will tolerate a bit of shade, but not much. You will get brighter, fuller flowers with more sun.

Resolving Lighting Issues for a Cat’s Whiskers Plant

If you notice your flowers are wilting or lackluster, move the plant into fuller sun, maybe near a different facing window. If, however, the flowers get crispy and burned, they are likely getting too much sun, so move them a bit farther away, or place a curtain over the window to filter the light.

Pests or Diseases that Can Cause Issues with a Cat’s Whiskers Plant

Fortunately, the cat’s whiskers plant is not prone to any particular pests or diseases. If you do notice any common plant pests, like mealybugs or whiteflies, simply spray the leaves and soil with neem oil and wipe them away. Continue to spray the plant with neem oil a few times a week until the pests disappear.

Fake Cat’s Whiskers Plants May Be an Additional Consideration

Fake Cat's Whiskers Plants May Be an Additional Consideration

In the end, if you find you can’t maintain or care for a cat’s whiskers plant, you can always opt for an artificial version of this foliage. You will still get all the benefits from the plant, like the positive feng shui and happy mood lifting energies.

If you’re worried a fake cat’s whiskers plant is not trendy, check out my article on whether artificial plants and flowers are tacky.

Do you have any thoughts on bringing a cat’s whiskers plant back to life? Any hot tips to rescue the Orthosiphon aristatus? Let me know in the comments. I love to hear from my readers.

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