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Acclimating Imported Plants

How to Care Imported Plants

Unboxing Package (s)

Things to prepare before anything else:

  1. Scissors / Cutter
  2. Superthrive
  3. Root serum
  4. Bucket
  5. Water

Unbox the package soon as it arrives to your door! Consider spending some time just for this very crucial step. One of the reasons why imported plants cannot be revive is due to the late unboxing. You have to understand that imported plants have gone through very rough travel. Tossed around by couriers and entering totally new climate and temperature we don’t know the numbers.

If you could help these babies to get fresh air soon as possible, that will be very crucial for their acclimating process.

Inspecting Imported Live Plants

Once you have unboxed the package, unwrap any covers or inner packaging. Not only that covers the plants but also anything used to wrap the roots. That must be removed immediately. Then inspect the roots of every plants.

Inspecting the roots for any rots. It’s common that roots may rot during the travel. The moisture and temperature is entirely out of exporters’ hands. And that may cause the roots to rot a bit.

If you find any rotting, cut them off. Only leave the good roots. These rotten roots if kept, it will cause other parts of the plants to also rot. In addition, it’s wasting nutrition taken by the plant as a whole.

In addition to the root rots, also cut off any leaves that are yellowing. Again, these leaves will inevitably waste the nutrition you use to acclimate the plants as a whole. Since the acclimated plants are still in a state of stress, you don’t want them to use too much energy to revive leaves that are dying. Don’t worry about it, leaves will thrive once it’s fully adjusting to their new environment.

Using Superthrive & Root Serum to Release stress & Boost Root Growth

In using superthrive & root serum, mix these two together in a bucket filled with water. Not all the way up filling up the bucket. Just enough to dip the roots and a bit part of the tuber into the water.

It is highly recommended to use each substance accordingly to respective instruction. My personal experience, dip the imported plants up to 5-6 hours in the mixed water.

Potting Imported Live Plants

Once the imported plants have been dipped in the water mixed with superthrive and root serum, pot ONLY THOSE WITH GOOD ROOTS.

For the first 1-2 weeks or for permanent growing media, preferably use one that does not hold up water inside the pot. You want water to come in and just sip through the pot. If the growing media used hold water, then it may as well just rot the healthy roots. Especially when the plants just arrive and still acclimating for new environment.

For those plants with lesser condition of the roots, preferably keep them in the water mixed with superthrive and root serum. By now, superthrive is optional. As it is believed that after 5-6 hours, plants would be filled up with the substance.

The only substance needed left would be the root serum. This will be very helpful in recovering dead roots. It’ll thrive new roots in just about a week or 2. I personally do not change the water as it’ll waste my superthrive and root serum. And these are nutrition anyway, meaning that the water quality shouldn’t degrade over time. If you believe it should be changed over time, then you are free to do so.

An optional choice of growing media to use when acclimating imported live plants is sphagnum moss. However, sphagnum moss without any nutrition is just a plain material without nutrition inside. I strongly suggest to add the superthrive and root serum. These can be used only when you’re watering the plants. Make sure the sphagnum moss have been previously dip with the substances to keep them for longer period of time inside the moss.

Quarantine & Exposure to Sunlight for Imported Live Plants

Again, depending how well the plants arrive to you, placing them in special shelf is optional. Some plants can adjust well like any plants you already have with sunlight but some other newly imported plants can’t do so. These need to be put on quarantine and expose them to sunlight later on after about a week or two. Depending how well they acclimate (consider the condition of the leaves, roots & weather), you are free to choose which is the best spot for the imported plants.

Best quarantine place would be one with indirect sunlight or low light but good air circulation. The plants still prefer good air circulation and fresh. Putting them in a closed shelf or area is not suggested.

Common Condition of the Imported Plants

Imported plants can exhibit various conditions and issues upon arrival due to the stress of transportation, changes in environment, and potential exposure to pests or diseases. Here are some common conditions you may observe in imported plants:


Wilting is a common symptom of stress in plants, and imported plants may experience wilting due to changes in temperature, humidity, or watering conditions during transit. When plants wilt, their leaves become limp, droop, and lose turgidity. Here are some ideas on the cause of wilting plants.

Water Stress

The most common cause of wilting is water stress, either from underwatering or overwatering. Underwatering deprives plants of necessary moisture, while overwatering can lead to root rot, which hinders the plant's ability to take up water. To address wilting due to water stress, check the soil moisture level by inserting your finger into the soil. If it feels dry, water the plant thoroughly. If it feels wet or the plant is in waterlogged soil, allow the soil to dry out before watering again.

Environmental Conditions

Wilting can occur due to extreme temperatures, high light intensity, or low humidity. In hot weather, plants may wilt as a defense mechanism to reduce water loss through transpiration. To alleviate wilting caused by environmental conditions, provide appropriate shade or move the plant to a location with more favorable conditions. Increasing humidity levels around the plant can also help reduce wilting.

Root Issues

Damaged or poorly developed roots can impede a plant's ability to take up water, leading to wilting. Check the roots for signs of rot, damage, or inadequate growth. If root issues are detected, consider repotting the plant in well-draining soil, trimming any damaged roots, and providing appropriate conditions for root recovery.

Transplant Shock

Plants that have recently been transplanted may experience wilting as they adjust to their new surroundings. Transplant shock can disrupt the plant's root system and temporarily hinder its ability to absorb water. To minimize transplant shock, ensure the plant is adequately watered and provide a stable environment with appropriate light, temperature, and humidity levels.

Remember that different plants have varying water requirements and sensitivities to environmental conditions. It's important to understand the specific needs of your plants and adjust care accordingly. Regularly monitoring the soil moisture, providing suitable environmental conditions, and addressing any underlying issues promptly can help prevent and alleviate wilting in plants

Leaf Discoloration

Discoloration of leaves can occur as a result of environmental changes, nutrient deficiencies, or pest infestations. Leaves may turn yellow, brown, or develop spots or streaks. Here are some ideas on the cause of leaf discoloration:

Yellowing Leaves

Nutrient deficiency

Lack of essential nutrients like nitrogen, iron, or magnesium can cause leaves to turn yellow. Consider adjusting the plant's fertilizer regimen to address the specific nutrient deficiency.


Excessive moisture can lead to root rot, which affects the plant's ability to take up nutrients, resulting in yellowing leaves. Adjust watering practices to prevent overwatering and improve drainage.

Browning or Scorching of Leaves Edges

Environmental stress

High temperatures, intense sunlight, or low humidity can cause leaf edges to dry out and brown. Provide adequate shade, increase humidity, or relocate the plant to a more suitable environment.

Nutrient Imbalance

Excessive levels of certain nutrients, such as salts or fertilizers, can lead to leaf scorching. Ensure proper fertilizer application and consider flushing the soil to remove excess salts.

Pale or Chlorotic Leaves

Phosphorus deficiency

Insufficient phosphorus can result in purple or reddish leaves. Provide a balanced fertilizer that includes phosphorus to address the deficiency.

Cold temperatures

Exposure to cold temperatures can cause purple or red discoloration in some plants. Protect the plant from extreme cold or move it to a warmer location.

Leaf Drop

Imported plants may shed leaves as a response to stress. This can happen due to changes in light intensity, temperature fluctuations, or other environmental factors. It's important to monitor the plant's overall health and provide stable conditions to minimize leaf drop.

Overwatering or underwatering

Improper watering practices can lead to leaf drop. Overwatering can cause root rot and suffocate the roots, leading to leaf drop. Underwatering, on the other hand, can cause drought stress, resulting in leaf loss. Ensure you are providing the right amount of water based on the specific plant's needs and the moisture level of the soil.

Environmental changes

Sudden changes in temperature, light exposure, humidity, or air circulation can cause leaf drop. Plants need time to adjust to new conditions. Gradually introduce them to different environments, especially when moving them indoors or outdoors, to reduce stress and minimize leaf drop.

Nutrient deficiencies or imbalances

Insufficient or excessive nutrients can cause leaves to drop. Lack of essential nutrients like nitrogen, iron, or magnesium can result in yellowing and dropping leaves. Ensure your plants receive proper nutrition through balanced fertilization and soil amendments.

Transplant shock

When plants are transplanted or repotted, they may experience stress and drop some leaves. This is a natural response to the disturbance of their root systems. To minimize transplant shock, provide adequate water and ensure the plant is in a suitable environment with proper lighting and humidity.

Seasonal changes

Some plants naturally shed their leaves during certain seasons as part of their growth cycle. This is common in deciduous trees and plants that go through dormancy. If leaf drop occurs during the expected season, it may be a normal and temporary occurrence.

When dealing with leaf drop, it's important to identify the underlying cause and address it accordingly. Monitor the plant's overall health, provide appropriate care, and make any necessary adjustments to environmental conditions, watering routines, or nutrient levels. If the leaf drop persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it may be beneficial to seek advice from a local gardening expert or horticulturist for further guidance

Pest Infestation

Imported plants can sometimes bring along pests such as aphids, mealybugs, or mites. Inspect the plants carefully for signs of pest activity, including visible insects, webs, or sticky residues on leaves. If pests are detected, take appropriate measures to control them, such as using insecticidal soaps or natural pest control methods.

While it’s true that you may receive the plants with pests, this is a rare case. Normally, live plants with pests will be 85% of case destroyed without notice. This is done by procedure in the department of agriculture of the destination country. Therefore, you need to consult with your supplier in regards to this issue.

Root Issues

During transportation, the root systems of imported plants may become damaged or disturbed. Inspect the roots for signs of rot, damage, or inadequate growth. If root issues are observed, consider repotting the plant using appropriate soil and providing proper drainage to support root health.

It's important to note that these conditions are general examples, and the specific condition of imported plants can vary depending on the plant species, transit conditions, and other factors. Assess each plant individually and provide appropriate care, including acclimation, suitable environmental conditions, proper watering, and pest management techniques, to help them recover and thrive in their new environment.

Patience and Observation in Acclimating Imported Live Plants

Last but not least in adjusting your imported live plants are patience and observation. Acclimation is a gradual process, and it may take time for the plants to fully adapt. Be patient and observe the plants closely, looking for any signs of stress or improvement. Make adjustments as necessary based on your observations.

Patience and observation will be a great deal of how you do with the plants. Some plant lovers can’t handle particular situation just because the plants are “acting up” that the plant lover doesn’t what it is. That worries them. It’s normal, but at least don’t panic. Remember that it’s patience and observation only.

Don’t be too quick in making judgement but be swift to research more or directly contact a professional. Some key points I’d like to highlight during the phase:

Allow Time for Adaptation

As I’ve mentioned above in this article, imported plants sometimes experience shock and stress due to changes in environmental conditions, transportation, or handling. Just imagine yourself being tossed around and in a room you’re not comfortable with, you’d need time to adjust and recover.

By being patient, you absolutely give the platns the opportunity to acclimate at their own pace. You don’t rush them for swift recover but you keep providing what they need.

Observe Plan Behavior

Carefully observe your imported plants during the acclimation process. Look for signs of stress, such as wilting, yellowing leaves, or leaf drop. Make swift action either to research or observe more of what could cause such thing to occur. I’ve mentioned above of what may cause these things to happen. It is recommended to adhere to those.

On the other hand, watch for positive signs like new growth, healthy foliage, or improved vigor. Noting these changes will help you assess how well the plants are adapting.

For good signs, I strongly suggest to not do anything else than just keep doing what you just did while acclimating the imported plants. No improvement is urgent nor needed. Any different treatment may inevitably cause the acclimating to reset.

Document Changes

Keep a record or journal to document the changes you notice in the plants over time. This can be a valuable resource for future reference or if you need to seek advice from experts. Include details such as dates, environmental conditions, plant behavior, and any modifications you make to their care.

Seek Professional Help

If you have concerns about the acclimation process or notice persistent issues with your imported plants, don't hesitate to seek assistance from local gardening experts or horticulturists. They can provide tailored guidance based on their expertise and help troubleshoot any problems you encounter.

Remember that each plant is unique, and the acclimation process can vary. Some plants may adapt relatively quickly, while others may take longer. By exercising patience and closely observing your imported plants, you can better understand their needs and provide the appropriate care for their successful acclimation.

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