Root Awakening: Boston Fern has wind burn

Boston Fern
Rose Allamanda

Boston Fern has wind burn

I bought this Boston Fern (pictured) two months ago.

It was growing well until the leaves turned brown and dropped off. The fern is in an area that is windy at times and it gets filtered sunlight for an hour a day.

I water it on alternate days and mist it every day. What is wrong with it?

Jagjit Kaur

Your plant appears to be suffering from wind burn. The constant winds have dried out the leaves.

The Boston Fern has very thin leaflets that lose moisture easily, so it is best to grow it in a sheltered yet humid place.

It needs more light than what it gets now. In an apartment setting, the Boston Fern should be exposed to at least four hours of filtered sunlight daily.

Move the potted plant to a less windy area that has more sunlight. This will allow the plant to recuperate and thrive later on.


Grow Mock Lime from seeds or stem-cuttings

What is this plant (left) and how do I propagate it?

I have seen it in parks and its flowers are fragrant.

Melissa Lee

This plant is commonly called Mock Lime, China Box or Kemuning.

Its botanical name is Murraya paniculata.

This sun-loving shrub, which can grow into a small tree, can be propagated from seeds or stem-cuttings.

Most commercial nurseries sell this fragrant plant.

Tip: Rose Allamanda has showy blooms and poisonous sap

Strophanthus gratus is a member of the frangipani family (Apocynaceae) and produces bunches of scented pink flowers (pictured).

It is commonly known as the Climbing Oleander or Rose Allamanda.

Often trimmed as a shrub, this plant naturally adopts a climbing habit. Its long stems will twine around supports.

It needs direct sunlight for healthy growth and flower production.

Use well-drained, moist and fertile soil and propagate the plant through stem-cuttings.

Like many members of the frangipani family, this plant has poisonous sap and needs to be kept away from pets and young children.

Direct sunlight may be necessary for mint

I bought a mint plant from a nursery and immediately repotted it in soil used to grow herbal plants.

Within the month, the mint plant withered.

I placed it on my balcony, where it got plenty of indirect sunlight. I watered directly on the soil twice a day.

Partial blinds were drawn in the afternoon to protect the plant from strong sun rays. How do I grow mint?

Mak Soon Onn

The mint plant is different from other Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary.

It is sensitive to drought and the plant must not be exposed to constant drying winds.

The roots must always be kept moist.

Grow the plant in friable soil - you can do this by incorporating more organic matter into the soil - that is more moisture-retentive.

The mint plant can take direct sunlight if it gets enough moisture.

Under insufficient light, the flavour and smell of the leaves will be less intense, while the plant becomes prone to various pest infestations.

Avoid disturbing the roots too much when you are transplanting it.

The process can lead to "transplant shock", which causes the plant to wilt after the move.


Money plant has leaf burn

I place my money plant (left) in the corridor and water it once a day.

Some of the leaves turned brown. Why did this happen?

Pao Venying

Did you recently move the plant from a shadier area?

The leaf burns could be caused by the sudden change in light intensity.

Plants grown under shadier conditions will produce leaves that cannot adapt to higher light intensity.

They need to be gradually introduced to it.

The sudden onset of hot and dry weather could also be a cause.

To avoid further damage, you may want to put a shade net - available at most big nurseries - above the plant.

Keep the plant well watered every day.

Also, ensure that it is not pot- bound, where its roots fill the pot totally. If it is, transplant it into a larger pot.

•Answers by Dr Wilson Wong, a certified practising horticulturist and founder of Green Culture Singapore ( He is also an NParks-certified park manager.

•Have a gardening query? E-mail it with clear, high-resolution pictures of at least 1MB, if any, and your full name to

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2016, with the headline 'Root Awakening'. Subscribe