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I've recently picked up indoor gardening as a hobby after a few successes growing some houseplants.

I have a mango seedling that sprouted about 3 weeks ago. I just noticed that a couple of the top leaves are a bit weak looking and 1 is curling a bit. Just want to know if this is a sign of overwatering, fertilizer burn, or pests, and what I can do to fix it. My pot also doesn't have a drainage hole so I'm wondering if that could be a problem as well.

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Update* It's been a couple weeks and the trees looking much better. I'm actually contemplating doing some pruning/tipping to encourage branching. It's about 10-12 inches now. I got a little lamp with a cfl bulb been using as a grow light. I'm in the process of building a set of shelves, and then I'll install some more lights, I bought an LED strip. The intent of my tropical trees is too turn them into bonsai, but we will see, perhaps I'll grow them fool size then give them away. Just wanted to share a pic of it too show the improvement.

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    @pnuts Nothing suspicious on the underside of the second leaf. I didn't actually add any fertilizer, but I used all organic soil mix that said it was enriched with miracle gro – Glenak1911 Aug 6 '17 at 17:08
  • How long ago did you use this soil? Could you send us the information on your soil? Little weird twists like this in leaves are normal for one or two. If it gets worse it is indicative of a virus (usually). Is there just soil in that pot? No rock or gravel below the soil and above the drain hole? Your plant is showing it isn't happy with the chemistry of your soil, the fertilizer. How are you watering? How much light? I wouldn't be using tap water either, try to find bottled water or a friends well water. Check on the bottled water for NO FLUORIDE. Do you smoke? Tobacco Mosaic... – stormy Aug 6 '17 at 18:20
  • ...virus is a big problem. Just not washing your hands before touching the plants is enough to infect plants. The smoke itself carries the virus. Friends that smoke could also vector this disease. Whoa, back the truck up! No hole?? HAVE to have a drainage hole! I think that is what is wrong! Also lift the bottom of the pot off the surface with bits of tile to increase drainage. I'd transplant this guy ASAP but use a cheapo potting soil, no additives like fertilizer or water holding gels/sponges. Check out the roots as you do this. No mushy or brown roots...pull those off. – stormy Aug 6 '17 at 18:28
  • @stormy Thanks for the info, and troubleshooting steps. I actually just bought a few more pots with drainage holes, I'll transplant asap. I've updated the question with the soil brand I've been using. I have a bag of sphagnum peat moss as well, would that be sufficient? I was watering daily for about 2 weeks and then about 3 times per week since I read they like periods of very moist and very dry. I have a bit of gravel at the bottom I think. My room gets bright light, and the spot it's in gets a few hours of direct sun. I don't smoke either so I don't think that's a problem. – Glenak1911 Aug 6 '17 at 18:43
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Good information. Watering daily, especially indoor plants is way too much. Especially without drainage. The gravel at the bottom causes a perched water table that exacerbates or worsens drainage. Your soil looks like good stuff but try to find plain potting soil. Not peat moss! Your soil has very little chemistry/fertilizer but it also has water holding gels/sponges. You don't want either in potting soil. Potting soil has very little actual soil and provides a great medium for potted plants. Fertilizer, I recommend for newbies is Osmocote 14-14-14. Use half of what they recommend.

When you transplant this plant, check the roots for mushy and brown or shriveled roots. Keep the pot size the same as what you've got. You'll have to up size as your plant grows but you do not want a small plant in a large pot. We've ruled out smoking but when I finally slowed down and reread your question saying NO HOLE...that is this plant's problem. Transplant, moisten the soil and firm. Pick the pot up. This is what it feels like with moisture. When it is dry it will be very very light. Water deeply and allow to dry before watering again. I never put plants on schedules. Human schedules.

We want you to have success and continue to become a gardener extraordinaire!! If I were you, I'd look into a REAL grow light. We've got lots of answers on what to look for. And please stay in touch! It isn't much fun to make mistakes especially at the beginning and we can definitely help to add to the successes.

  • Thanks so much for the encouragement and tips, it means a lot. I was able to transplant the seedling into new potting soil and in a pot with a drainage hole, and I watered until it was draining out of the bottom. There was one problem though. There was some gravel at the bottom of the pot and it looks as if the roos were growing into it. I tried to be careful, but part of the root broke off, and I was all out of root hormone to seal the break. I'll watch it and update this thread in the coming weeks with its progress. – Glenak1911 Aug 8 '17 at 1:29
  • Plants are way tougher than that. I had my crews planting thousands of plants I always lay out and if they were rootbound I taught my guys how to use a shovel to chop, a saw to butterfly roots. And they were not gentle. It is just fine for those roots to grow into the gravel and break off. Just please don't water until your plant needs it...that means lifting it now fully watered and not watering again until that pot is obviously lighter. – stormy Aug 8 '17 at 22:58

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