Why Is My Coral Plant Dying? Tips for Rescuing Your Dying Russelia Equisetiformis Plant

A gorgeous bushy plant that sprouts lovely coral-colored, tube-shaped flowers from tall stems, the coral plant, also known as the Russelia equisetiformis, is a wonderful plant to have in your garden or in a large space in your home.

So, if yours is in distress, you are probably pretty upset. But don’t be! There’s a good chance we can bring it right back to life, happy and healthy. Let’s get started!

A Coral Plant Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office

A Coral Plant Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office

The coral plant grows like a weed, so it is naturally hardy and easy to grow. It will make a great plant for a large corner by a window, and it can stand on its own as a lovely foliage even when it is not flowering.

Be mindful to give it enough space as it can grow up to 10 feet tall and several feet wide. If you allow the windows to remain open during the warmer seasons, you might even attract butterflies and hummingbirds. It is toxic to humans, though, so don’t ingest it yourself.

Fortunately, these plants are still wonderful for your environment as they will absorb most common household toxins and breathe out oxygen. They also offer positive feng shui energy as they are considered water plants, bringing flow and harmony into your life. For all intents and purposes, the coral plant is a great choice for your home and office.

Signs of a Dying Coral Plant

The most obvious signs of a dying coral plant are as follows:

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

Common Causes of a Dying Coral Plant

The most common causes of a dying coral plant include:

  • Too much sun
  • Not enough sun
  • Too much water
  • Not enough water
  • Pest infestation

Watering Needs of a Coral Plant

Native to Mexico, the coral plant is drought-tolerant, so it only requires watering when the soil has become completely dry. It can also take plenty of heat, but it is not frost tolerant, so be mindful to check the soil during extreme temperatures to watch for its changing water needs.

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 Coral Plant?

You’ll be able to tell if you are underwatering your coral plant by the way it lays. It is supposed to kind of waterfall outward in a spraying pattern. Underwatered coral plants will lay down instead.

Restoring Water to Your Underwatered Coral Plant

If you notice your plant lying limp and lazy, simply water it thoroughly until the water drains through the bottom of the pot. Then get onto a regular watering schedule.

Am I Overwatering My Coral Plant?

In contrast, if you’re overwatering your coral plant, you’ll notice the stems getting mushy and the soil getting soggy.

Restoring Balance to Your Overwatered Coral Plant

If you notice the stems are mushy, simply move the plant into brighter sunlight and allow the soil to dry out fully. Then get on a regular watering schedule.

If the soil is soggy, you might be getting root rot. Remove the root ball from the soil and lay it out to dry on a screen in the sun for a few days until the roots have dried out, taking care to remove any mushy parts. Repot the root ball in fresh houseplant soil and get onto a regular watering schedule.

Soil Needs of a Coral Plant

The coral plant calls for well-draining, indoor houseplant soil.

Soil Drainage Needs for a Coral Plant

Make sure the soil in your coral plant pot drains thoroughly through the bottom of the pot every time you water it. Then be sure it does not sit in water.

Resolving Soil Drainage Issues for a Coral Plant

If you notice that the coral plant is not draining well, that it’s holding onto water, you can try placing pebbles at the bottom of the pot, under the soil, to help the draining process.

Lighting Needs of a Coral Plant

The coral plant is used to full sun in its Mexican regions, so provide the plant with plenty of sun near a large window.

Resolving Lighting Issues for a Coral Plant

If you notice the coral plant is burning or crisping, you can move it farther away from the window. Alternatively, you can hang transparent curtains to provide a bit of filtered light.

If you notice the color of the flowers or leaves is getting lackluster, it might not be getting enough light, so consider moving it closer to the window or to a different part of the house with the sun streaming in from a different direction.

Pests or Diseases that Can Cause Issues with a Coral Plant

The coral plant may attract aphids, mealybugs, or scale, insects common to this family. If you notice these bugs, spray the plant, and all its parts, with neem oil. Wipe off the bugs and continue to spray the plant a few times a week until the pests go away.

Fake Coral Plants May Be an Additional Consideration

Fake Coral Plants May Be an Additional Consideration

In the end, if you decide a live coral plant is too much work, you can consider investing in a fake one. Artificial coral plants can be just as beautiful as real ones, and they can offer many of the same energetic and mood-lifting benefits.

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

Either way you go, real or fake, you can’t go wrong with a coral plant in your home or office, and as a hardy plant, you have a great chance of bringing yours back to life if it is dying or in distress.

Do you have a coral plant that you have breathed back to life? What worked for you? Share your tips and tricks in the comments. I love to hear from my readers.

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