Apartment Gardening

Not Sure Why Your Houseplant Isn't Happy?

2018-12-07 11:13 #0 by: Evelina

Don't worry, I got you!

WinkingThumbs up

Here's a checklist of things to do if you can't quite figure out why a plant of yours isn't very happy. 

To be honest, this happens to quite a few plants of mine frequently. You should be able to save your plant, as long as you don't ignore the stress signals that your plants might be displaying, such as wilting. 

First off, keep an eye out if you plant is drooping,  yellowing or browning leaves, displaying small spots, or just in general doesn't look too happy. 


  1. Check the soil

Is it dry? Then it probably needs water. Water your plants whenever the soil is dry. You can check the soil by putting your finger in about an inch deep. If you still feel a bit of moisture, then wait a day or two. Typically, plants will droop and wilt if they need water. But you should be watering your plant before it gets to that sad state. 

Is it moist even though you watered it several days ago? Is the soil smelling a bit like mold?

 Well, you probably are watering it too much or too often. Or, the plant doesn't have enough drainage. In either case, if it does smell a bit moldly. You must repot it and take some of that extra wet soil out of there. During this process you can also check for root rot. Make sure the new pot has drainage holes and you have something mixed in the soil, such as perlite or bark, in order to ensure that the soil can breathe. 

Having the soil too moist can also create bacterial infections, which can manifest in yellowing leaves or black leaves. 

2. Check how much sunlight the plant gets. 

If the plant gets a lot of sunlight and the leaves are browning, it could be that you need to move it out of the sun. Or, if the plant doesn't have a lot of sun and it has yellowing leaves, you may need to bring it closer to a window, or purchase a grow light if you don't have enough bright window light. Like in my case, thank you Swedish winter! Crying

3. Check for pests

You might not actually see the bugs, but you can look for some signs that they are feeding off of your plant. Typically, you could see them on the back sides of the leaves. The plant could have spider mites (small red or black bugs), or trips (little white larvae), or mealy bugs, which are white and are typically on the branches of plants. 

You can look out for things like: 

  • Small pricks or dots  in the leaves
  • Slime or shininess on the leaves
  • Spider webs
  • Yellowing of the leaves and splotches 

4. Another important thing to keep an eye on is the humidity

While I know not everyone has a humidity thermometer (No wait. That's not right, what is it called?Scared... Ok, Google saved me! It's called a hygrometer), it could be that your plant needs some more moisture in the air. If you don't have a humidifier, you could leave out extra glasses or water to raise the humidity levels in the air. Or, let your clothes air dry near your plants. They will thank you for it! Pests love a dry environment so keeping the air moist will help protect your plants from pests. 

2018-12-07 13:26 #1 by: Niklas

Great! I like short checklists that you can walk through to find a problem. 🙂

2018-12-07 14:27 #2 by: Evelina

#1 Good!

Oh boy, I need to edit this for spelling and grammar errors 😅

2018-12-10 20:57 #3 by: jordan

Great tips! Sometimes the plant in my room seems a little flooded, so now I know exactly what to do!

2018-12-10 22:07 #4 by: Evelina

#3 Great! 🌿 Glad I could help 😄👍


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