Big, bold, and beautiful, the red sister plant will take up space in your home and in your heart if you let it. And if you have let it gain a place in your heart then find it in a sad state, you’re probably worried about how to breathe the life back into your plant, just like the life your plant breathed into your home.
Fortunately, the cordyline fruticosa is as easy to bring back to healthy status as it is to care for in the first place. You probably just took a single wrong step, and now we need to get you headed back in the right direction.
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A Red Sister Plant Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office
This large-and-in-charge succulent-like palm shrub is gorgeous and healthy anywhere you put it. It will clean the air, removing contaminants, and brighten up any space, no matter how bright it already is.
You can keep it in a big corner, place it under a large window, or position it at the entrance to your home. The Indonesian culture considers this plant sacred and a symbol of good luck, so place it wherever you hope to attract the most fortune.
Signs of a Dying Red Sister Plant
Common signs of a dying red sister plant are similar to those of most palm trees or succulents:
- Crispy leaves
- Wilting leaves
- Mushy stems and leaves
- Soggy soils
- Visible pests
- Lacking in vibrant color
Common Causes of a Dying Red Sister Plant
The most common causes of a dying red sister plant are:
- Too much sun
- Not enough water
- Not enough humidity
Watering Needs of a Red Sister Plant
The cordyline fruticosa needs plenty of water. Unlike most succulents, this one actually wants soil that stays moist. For more watering tips, take a look at this article on watering mistakes that might be killing your plant.
With this palm shrub, you can learn the needs of its soil by touching it regularly. If you touch the topsoil of the red sister and notice it is drying out at all, you can water it again.
If you notice the soil is a bit moist, you can leave it. Be careful not to overwater it, as that will cause problems with pests and disease.
Am I Underwatering My Red Sister Plant?
If you notice the leaves are crisping or that the soil is drying out, it is likely a sign you have been underwatering your red sister.
Restoring Water to Your Underwatered Red Sister Plant
If you have been underwatering, simply water the plant until the water runs through the bottom of the pot. Then, be sure to get on a regular watering schedule.
Am I Overwatering My Red Sister Plant?
The most common sign of a red sister plant being overwatered is soggy soil, but you might also notice mushy stems or wilting leaves.
Restoring Balance to Your Overwatered Red Sister Plant
In the event you have overwatered the plant, you can often simply place the plant in a brighter space, as long as it is not in direct sunlight.
If the soil is soggy, the leaves are mushy, and you have pests, you may have root rot. In that case, you will need to remove the root ball from the soil and cut away any mushy roots and stems. Then allow the root ball to dry out on a screen in the sun.
Finally, repot the root ball in fresh, indoor plant soil in a well-draining pot. Make sure you adopt a regular watering schedule from then on.
Soil Needs of a Red Sister Plant
The red sister plant needs a well-drained soil that remains moist. A common indoor houseplant soil should be fine, but you can always add perlite.
Soil Drainage Needs for a Red Sister Plant
A pot with holes can help the soil remain well-drained as well.
Resolving Soil Drainage Issues for a Red Sister Plant
If you notice your soil is still not draining well, you can also add pebbles to the bottom of the pot to ensure your plant’s roots do not sit in water.
Lighting Needs of a Red Sister Plant
The cordyline fruticosa plant wants plenty of bright, indirect sunlight to keep its nutrients and colors up.
Resolving Lighting Issues for a Red Sister Plant
If you notice the plant’s colors fading, be sure to move the plant closer to the window. Alternatively, if the leaves are burning or crisping, move it farther away from the light.
Pests or Diseases that Can Cause Issues with a Red Sister Plant
If you have overwatered your plant and the soil is soggy, you might find pests like mealybugs, aphids, whiteflies, and others in your plant. If that happens, spray the plant liberally with neem oil every other day for a week or two.
Then, spray the plant with water to clean off any remaining pests or eggs. Be sure you check the soil and get on a regular schedule that keeps it moist but not overwatered.
Fake Red Sister Plants May Be an Additional Consideration
Still, if you find, in the end, you just cannot manage to stay on top of caring for your red sister plant, you can always opt for the artificial version. The fake cordyline fruticosa plant looks just like the real thing.
With as large as this plant can get, an investment in this lovely bush, even a fake one, will more than earn its worth. And if you’re worried that you won’t be on trend with a fake plant, check out my article on whether artificial plants and flowers are tacky here.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you have any tips or tricks for keeping the red sister plant alive? Let me know in the comments.