Houseplant Problems

Whether you forget to water them or struggle to remember that they exist, keeping houseplants alive can prove to be a bit difficult for some. There are many problems that can make it complicated to keep your houseplant alive, but it may be difficult to figure out what the cause of problem is. To keep your houseplant healthy, it’s important to determine what exactly is the problem and how to solve it.

The following are common houseplant issues many are faced with, as well as their causes and how to handle them properly.

6. Wilting


Initially, you may assume your plant is in need of water, but wilting can also be a sign of overwatering. Excessive moisture for prolonged periods can cause some roots to die from a lack of oxygen, and will ultimately cause the roots to rot. The rot can spread to other roots, and soon cause your entire plant to turn yellow and wilt.

To fix this problem, make sure your plant fully dries out in between watering sessions. If you feel moisture on or close to the surface of the potting soil, or if the pot feels heavy when you lift it, be sure to give your plant more time to dry before watering it again. Repotting the plant can also help by removing as many dead roots as possible. Try washing the pot thoroughly with hot water and soap to remove the remaining fungus or bacteria.

5. Weak, Spindly Growth


Poor light exposure can cause a plant’s new growth to become long and leggy. Sufficient light is essential for photosynthesis to take place, which is the process by which plants convert light into sugars for growth. When a plant is an area that is very dark, it will begin to stretch to try and find the light.

To fix this problem, make sure the plant is near a window with excellent sun exposure throughout the day. Try finding east or west-facing windows, as north-facing windows don’t get enough sun at times and south-facing windows can get too much hot sun. There is also the option of purchasing a grow light to help the plant.

4. Scorched Leaves

Scorched Leaves

Plant leaves can get burned by too much sun if left directly under it. With thinner leaves, a burn can cause them to have dried-out patches on them. Thicker leaves can develop discolored or dried-out spots on the sun-exposed sides of the leaves. Some leaves, such as certain succulents, can turn red when exposed to excess sun.

To fix this problem, move your plant to a window that isn’t in direct sunlight. It’s important to note that the afternoon sun is commonly more intense than the morning sun.

Related: These 12 Houseplants Can Improve Your Health and Air Quality

3. Brown Leaves

Brown Leaves

Are you noticing your plant’s leaves drying up and turning brown? This can happen for various reasons, but the most common is brought on by inconsistent watering. If you try alternating between heavily watering your plant and then letting it get too dry, the leaf tips will start to die from stress. Other reasons can include low humidity or a buildup of salts from fertilizer or softened water.

To fix this problem, start by trimming dry edges off the leaves with clean, sharp scissors. Next, make sure to keep your plant on a regular watering routine. Once the top of the soil becomes dry, or the pot feels light, be sure to thoroughly water the pot until water comes out from the bottom. Keep an eye on the plant so as to not let it get too dry or too wet for prolonged periods. You can also mist or wash the leaves of your plant regularly to help raise the humidity. If salt should build up, try taking your plant to a sink or bathtub and water it until water runs out from the bottom at least three times, as this can help flush out the salt.

2. Yellow or Dropping Leaves

Yellow Or Dropping Leaves

If a plant is under stress, it may start reducing its leaves as a way to conserve resources. A plant can also react this way due to inconsistent watering, low light conditions, temperature fluctuations, disease or poor nutrition.

To fix this problem, make sure the plant has as little stress as possible. Also, try watering your plant evenly and consistently, position it to get enough light and keep it away from any drafts or sudden temperature changes. Be sure to fertilize it regularly with a balanced houseplant fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 formulation. However, if your plant continues to turn yellow and drop leaves, speak to an expert.

1. Unusual Curling or Distortion of Leaves


Odd growth patterns may be a sign of insects or disease. You can generally see the damage on the plant before noticing obvious insects or pathogens. If you find webs, small bugs on the undersides of the leaves or along the stems, or if the leaves show black spots, and white fuzz, take a piece of the plant to a garden center for a proper diagnosis.

To fix this problem, ask your nearby garden center or gardening expert about your plant to find the best solutions for the pests. There are organic options to get rid of insects, such as washing the plant with soapy water, removing infested leaves and stems, or spraying it with neem oils. Baking soda, sulfur or copper sprays are also great options to consider to remove bacterial or fungal infections.

Related: 7 Plants to Keep Your Home Naturally Cool


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