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Author Topic: Catha edulis loosing leaves  (Read 543 times)

valec

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Catha edulis loosing leaves
« on: December 19, 2020, 06:16:55 pm »

Hi all,

In May 2020 I obtained a catha edulis cutting, already rooted. I grew very fast, pushing out new branches from the ground. At the moment it's indoor behind a south window for the winter. What worries me: recently it's loosing a lot of leaves. The old leaves stay on, the very young tips stay on, but the young leaves just drop off the plant. They don't dry out, they look all healthy, they simply drop. Does anyone have experience what might be causing this? Insufficient light, cold drafts, too much watering, too little watering, bad substrate?

Thanks!
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valec

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Re: Catha edulis loosing leaves
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2021, 12:15:59 pm »

Short update: I got a small grow light (only 5W LED) and for the moment eaves dropping stopped. Let's hope lack of light was the only reason. A bit surprising, it's a south window which even in winter gets a lot of light. And mimosa hostilis in the same place has always been happy. Well, let's see how things develop during the next week.
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JMZ

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Re: Catha edulis loosing leaves
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2021, 07:49:21 am »

My wide leaf khat has done what you describe when temps get into the 40’s, but I doubt it’s that cold in your house.
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valec

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Re: Catha edulis loosing leaves
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2021, 01:19:06 pm »

No, certainly not. I have it by the kitchen window. Even at night that should not go below 64°F = 18°C.

It is also facing south, so light situation is not too bad. Of course, the winter has been really foggy, maybe that was the problem...

Anyway, for now it has a small 5W LED grow light and it seems a little happier now. Dropping of leaves has slowed down and there is a bit of new growth. Also days are getting longer again and the sky clearer...

Let's see. I'll get a 36W LED grow light soon and then spring will be coming, it just has to survive until then.

Unless I am doing something else wrong? It grows in a big pot, mix of coco coir and some sort of expanded clay material, all rather light. Watering only when the top 3cm / 1" are dry, so not very often at the moment.
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valec

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Re: Catha edulis loosing leaves
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2021, 12:45:24 am »

Recently there has been a bit more sun. The cath still loses some green leaves, but now there is at least some grow at the tips. They push out really big new leaves now, very healthy looking. Just the lower parts of the branches have lost all their leaves and look pretty disappointing now. But now I'm optimistic that with spring coming, the plant will grow well again. Looking forward to the summer :).
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valec

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Re: Catha edulis loosing leaves
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2021, 10:03:44 pm »

So, on the positive side, with the help of a small 7 Watt LED grow light during the darkest weeks of January, and now recently more sunny days, growth has picked up again. Big healthy leaves are growing at the tips.

On the negative side, I've found some spider mites on a few of the leaves. Gave them a solid treatment with Neem-based pesticide today. I have good experience with that, it's usually pretty efficient in dealing with spider mites. Let's hope that this is also going to help the plant.

It's already the 3rd time it picked up spider mites. It's strange, since I don't have a problem with mites on my other plants. Did anyone ever observe if catha edulis is particularly susceptible to spider mites?

By they way, my watering strategy has been to keep cath on the dry side. So during the winter that has meant watering only every 2-3 weeks. What is your experience on that? Should I water it more frequently? I've always been waiting until the top 5cm / 2" of the soil have been almost completely dry. Also my soil mix has been on the "not so rich" side: coco choir + perlite + a bit of potting soil. I've been in the believe that this corresponds to the natural conditions for cath, but maybe I am wrong?
« Last Edit: February 09, 2021, 10:07:37 pm by valec »
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valec

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Re: Catha edulis loosing leaves
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2021, 03:19:45 pm »

My catha edulis has troubles again. I have placed it in a nice spot with direct sun on the roof, assuming it would grow well there. I water it every 3 days to keep the soil lightly wet. However, the plant looses a lot of leaves and grows very slowly, producing only very small new leaves.

Does anyone have a auggestion what is wrong? Should I wait for the soil to dry out completely? I would have assumed that full sun is just right for catha edulis.

How often do you fertilize?

Any special soil conditions required?

(My plant is 1 year old, grown from a cutting, has pushed out quite a few new branches from the ground this spring.)
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modern

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Re: Catha edulis loosing leaves
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2021, 04:43:52 pm »

Can you post a picture?

I've not grown catha edulis myself however seeing it is a tree you can allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering... as for your leaves falling and new leaves being small all comes down to root health and adapting to new conditions. Also if pot is too small the growth may become stunted. From what I've seen others growing they use large pots.

Assuming your soil mix is well draining and aerated enough just don't keep moving the plant around unless you are protecting from frost and during winter months reduce watering to only when it wilts. Dropping leaves is normal for plants as it is just adapting to new conditions in my experience with other plants.

Seeing as it has new branches ignore the leaf drop and keep treating it as you are now.


Don't make big changes in watering ... full sun is fine for catha edulis but IF it wasn't use to full sun will drop leaves and start again. If in summer season I'd fertilize lightly every watering.

Maybe someone with experience with the plant can be a better help but without photos I'd say it sounds like your plant is doing fine just let it get use to the conditions... if you think something is wrong check root health... trim any rotting roots and trim back all the root tips before repotting.
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valec

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Re: Catha edulis loosing leaves
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2021, 12:21:39 pm »

Hi, thanks for the reply. I have moved it to a bigger pot some weeks ago in the hope that it would help. Unfortunately not. Soil should be well drained, it has a large fraction of coco choir and perlite in it (see the pictures). It is in full sun already for a month or so, I would have expected that it has adapted already. I'm fertilizing with a universal fertilizer every 1-2 weeks in standard dosage.

There seem to be many new tips growing, from the ground and the branches. But the young leaves always curl, the older leaves become dry and drop. They also seem to have discolorations, I don't know if that is normal?

Maybe it has some bug? In the past I had spider mites, but I though I had killed them all some months ago with neem oil. Maybe they are back, but I don't see the typical webs.

I attach some pictures... any help is appreciated.
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modern

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Re: Catha edulis loosing leaves
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2021, 05:14:32 pm »

I personally would leave it alone for now as you can see lots of new growth coming in at the nodes. If you wanna be precarious spray a fungicide on your plant as you do have some black spot and maybe rust fungus growing.

Increase dry period slightly unless super hot there since the bark/cork is starting to form the plant can handle a few days of dry soil... just don't let it dry out too long if you want to keep it constantly moist as it will change the root structure and may cause rot. It kinda depends on your climate.

Overall doesn't look too bad IMO. Keep in same sunny spot, keep using light fertilizer eat watering since you are using mainly coir, and maybe spray a fungicide on your plant however the new growth may not be affected and the old leaves should be removed and discarded once you have new growth to prevent it from spreading.

Again I haven't grown this plant just using general plant experience.
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valec

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Re: Catha edulis loosing leaves
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2021, 03:03:13 pm »

Thanks for the help! I'll read up about rust fungus and see if that may affect it, and for the rest have patience and give it a few weeks more. I'll post an update then :).
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Bach

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Re: Catha edulis loosing leaves
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2021, 06:02:56 am »

Maybe back off on the nutes and see if that helps. That kind of leaf curl can be caused by too much of something. I think it's nitrogen? Damn neurons can't remember stuff anymore....
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valec

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Re: Catha edulis loosing leaves
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2021, 11:17:58 pm »

Thanks, that's a useful comment, something I wasn't thinking of. A quick google search indeed brings up leaf curl (although upward) for tomatoes that are overfertilized with nitrogen. So then it's patience for acclimatization and no fertilizer for some weeks. I suppose the natural soils in which catha edulis is grown tend to be sandy and low in nutrients, right?
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