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We're having a tough time with our Pilea. We were afraid that it had spider mites so my friend sprayed it with some kind of organic pesticide. Since then, it's been in shock. No progress on growth at all.

It lost quite a few leaves and it appears to be quite droopy. It had a baby growing for awhile but it shriveled at the stem. The leaves never browned or fell off before, but it was only a matter of time. Now, I'm afraid the same thing is happening to the main stem.

What should I do? Is there any chance of survival if I propagate the main plant? Is that crazy? Please help!

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1 Answer 1


Judging by the height and thickness of the stem this is an old plant. The bottom of the stem looks like it is no longer sending nutrients up to the top. It is shrivelled, possibly due to root rot. The pot is way too big for the amount of foliage. I don't see any evidence of spider mites and have never seem them on this species. The usual problems seem to be present, not enough light, soil stays too moist. This leads to root rot which causes the sad leafs look.

I recommend:

  • take razor or sharp knife and cut the stem where the leaves start.
  • remove all leaves from the bottom inch or two of the stem
  • place in a jar of water so that only the stem is in water
  • change water regularly so it does not go green or skunky
  • move to a high indirect light area
  • be patient: it may take four to six weeks or more for a new root system to grow

When the plant has enough roots transplant to a pot that is two or three inches in diameter and keep in high indirect light.

  • Thank you for this advice! This pic was taken at night time which is why it is low light. II have recently changed its soil to try and rid it from any pesticide residue. I didn't notice any mold or anything on the roots...they seemed normal. BUT, I'm sure there's more than one type of root rot. I will follow your instructions and let you know what happens! Fingers crossed I can save this little guy :) May 10, 2018 at 14:10

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