Root Awakening: Jackfruit cracking could be due to uneven moisture levels in soil

Fruit cracking is often a result of moisture imbalance due to heavy rainfall or excessive irrigation after a prolonged drought. PHOTO: WINSTON TAN

Jackfruit could be cracking due to uneven moisture levels

Some of the fruit from our jackfruit tree crack before they turn ripe. Why is this happening and how can we stop it?

Winston Tan

Fruit cracking is often a result of moisture imbalance due to heavy rainfall or excessive irrigation after a prolonged drought. The fluctuation and sudden take-up of water can cause fruit to crack.

Another possibility may be that your plant lacks the nutrient boron. However, this does not appear to be the case, as affected plants have brittle yellow leaves and young shoots develop poorly.

Pandan plant is pot-bound, dries out easily

PHOTO: CHEONG ENG KIAT

Why are my pandan leaves drying up?

Cheong Eng Kiat

Your pandan plant's pot seems to be too small for it. Its roots may have filled the container and it may not be taking up enough water, especially with its sunny location. You may want to move it to a larger pot with soil that is better at retaining water. You can also use an irrigation system to water it at regular intervals.

Ensure Alocasia has enough air and sunlight; roots must not be too wet

PHOTO: TAN LI SIANG

The edges of my plant's leaves are yellow and rusty-looking. What is causing this and how do I prevent it?

Tan Li Siang

Your Alocasia may have a fungal infection, which can strike when plants are grown in a shady spot with little air circulation. You may want to move it to a spot with filtered sunlight and better air circulation. Ensure the plant is grown in an aerated and well-drained soil mix, such as one for growing aroids. The Alocasia is prone to root and crown rot if it experiences wet feet for too long. Let it dry out slightly before watering again.

Chilli may be stressed by lack of water

PHOTO: LIM HONGKENG

For the past five months, the leaves of my chilli plant have shed multiple times and some flowers have bloomed, but they do not last long or bear fruit. My plant is in a Housing Board corridor, which gets about six to eight hours of sunlight a day, and I water it every two to three days. How can I get it to bear fruit?

Lim Hongkeng

Your chilli plant's pot looks too small. Also, with its sunny location, your plant needs more water. It seems to be suffering from moisture stress, which is causing it to dry out and wilt. This can cause leaves to fall, and flowers and fruit to be aborted.

Ensure the plant has a large enough pot and that its water needs are met. The growing mix should be kept moist at all times. Protect the plant from wind as well, as this can dry it out and affect fruit production.

Hoya leaves may be sunburnt

PHOTO: JIM CHIA

My Hoya Kerrii has been growing well. After re-potting it to a bigger pot with the same soil medium, the leaves started to look thin with clear veins. I watered it and gave it more sunlight, but large white patches appeared on the leaves and the shoots dried up. What can I do to save it?

Jim Chia

The white patches on the leaves may be a sign of sunburn. Was the plant previously grown under shadier conditions? Such plants should be moved gradually to locations with higher light intensity and given enough time to acclimatise.

When moving the plant to its new pot, did you also remove its growing mix? This may have damaged roots and impaired your plant's ability to take up water. Under sunny conditions, the plant may also not be able to take up water quickly enough, which can damage leaves. As a rule of thumb, a recently moved plant should be put in a cool and slightly shady site for it to recuperate and grow new roots before being moved back to its original location.

The scorched leaves will not recover. Let the plant adapt to its growing conditions and there will be new growth over time. If the leaves are not rotting, there is no need to trim them away.

  • Answers by Dr Wilson Wong, an NParks-certified practising horticulturist, parks manager and ISA-certified arborist. He is the founder of Green Culture Singapore and an adjunct assistant professor (Food Science & Technology) at the National University of Singapore.
  • Have a gardening query? E-mail it with clear, high-resolution pictures of at least 1MB, if any, and your full name to stlife@sph.com.sg. We reserve the right to edit and reject questions.

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