Apartment Gardening

Not Sure Why Your Houseplant Isn't Happy?

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

Don't worry, these gardening tips help keep your indoor plants thriving.

This is a checklist of things to do for those of you who can't quite figure out why your plant is displaying stress signals, such as drooping, wilting, losing leaves, or forming yellow and brown leaves. In many cases you can save your plant, so don't fret.

First off, you need to keep an eye out if you plant is drooping,  yellowing or browning leaves, displaying small spots, or just in general doesn't look very well. These are signals that your plant might be overwatered, suffering from pests, or hasn't been watered enough. 

  1. Check the soil
  • Is the soil dry? 

 If the soil is 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 or wilt if they need water. But you should be watering your plant before it gets to that sad state. 

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

If the soil is moist and has been for some time, you are probably watering it too much or too often. Or, the plant doesn't have enough drainage. In either case, if it does smell a bit moldy. You should repot it and remove some of the extra wet soil. During this process, you can also check for root rot. 

Make sure that the new pot has drainage holes. Also you want to have something mixed in with the soil, such as perlite or bark, in order to ensure that the soil can breathe. Perlite is a small crunchy white material that is great for mixing with soil for aeration. Aeration is important because if the soil is too moist, it can lead to harmful bacteria. This can manifest in yellowing leaves or black leaves. 

2. Check how much sunlight the plant gets. 

  • Is your plant in an area that receives enough natural sunlight? 

If the plant gets too much direct sunlight, the leaves will start to turn brown and crunchy.  You may need to move it out of the sun or hang of a curtain.  If the plant doesn't receive a lot of sun and it has yellowing leaves, you may need to bring it closer to a window or even purchase a grow light if you don't receive enough bright and natural sunlight. 

3. Check for pests. 

  • Are there any small pricks or dots on the leaves? Are there any visible tiny pests on the underside of the leaves? 

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 (tiny red or black bugs), trips (little white larvae or thin black bugs), or mealy bugs (white bugs which typically appear on the branches of plants). 

Here is a list of signs that indicate pest infestation: 

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

4. Check the humidity levels

  • Do you live in an area that is dry, very cold, or hot? Are your plant's leaves turning brown and dry?

One easy way to check the humidity levels in your home is with a hygrometer.  If you don't feel like dishing out the money for one then you can look for signs that your plants are suffering from a lack of moisture in the air. One major sign is dry or browning leaves. A simple way to remedy this is with a humidifier. Again, if you do not want to spend the money on one then you can leave our extra glasses of water to raise the humidity levels. Alternatively, you can let your clothes air dry near your plants. They will certainly be thankful for it. Pests love a dry environment so keeping the air moist will also help protect your plants from pests. 

If you thought this was helpful or if you have any questions leave a comment below. For more on how to care for specific houseplants, check out my weekly plant tips

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

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

Report
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!

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

#3 Great! 🌿 Glad I could help 😄👍

Report

Become a member

To participate in the discussion, you must first become a member. It is quick, simple and free. The membership gives you access to all our communities.