Deciding to spruce up your home decor with fresh green plants is a great, seemingly easy choice. Until you actually bring a few home, only to realize that they’re all dying after a few days. And having droopy plants with wilted leaves in varied shades of browns and yellows kind of defeats the whole purpose of indoor gardening unless you were going for a “haunted mansion” look.
You may argue you were just born with a black thumb, or perhaps you inherited it from someone in the family. But don’t give up yet. The solution is quite simple, as long as you know how to read the symptoms right. Your houseplant can’t talk, but it can do a good job in communicating with you.
So here are 6 common causes of the death of a house plant, and how to nurse it back to health.
1. The Leaves Are Brown And Crunchy
Diagnosis: Your plant needs more water.
If the leaves of your plant are drying out at the tips and turning to a brown crisp, it’s very likely that it is drying out. You don’t need to over-water your plant, but each time you water it, make sure the soil is soaked thoroughly. The wet-dry cycle will help encourage your plant to put out stronger roots and prevent them from rotting.
Sometimes your plant may also dry out too quickly if it’s getting too much sun. If this is the case, move it to a more suitable environment immediately.
2. There Are No New Leaves Growing
Diagnosis: You’re not watering your plant enough.
If your plant doesn’t get enough water, it compensates by stopping itself from growing new leaves or by even shedding the few it has. So if your plant appears skimpy, it’s time to start paying more attention when you’re watering it each day. Once again, water your plant till the soil is thoroughly soaked, but not drowning in water.
3. The Leaves Have Yellowish Edges
Diagnosis: You’re feeding the plant too much water.
Over-watering can be just as bad as under-watering. Once you’re done watering your plant, check the drain tray to see if the water is draining out properly. Adjust your water scheduling if you need to. You should also remove the yellowing leaves as they’re not going to turn green again. Don’t feel bad, it’s for the best!
Tip: Using a good soil for potting instead of just topsoil helps boost proper drainage.
4. The Leaves Are Weirdly Shaped Or Discolored
Diagnosis: You’re over-watering the plant.
Once again, this can mean you’re over-watering your plant. Over-watering is usually the number one killer of plants, and it’s important to remember that while your plant needs a drink every day, you don’t necessarily have to flood it.
The best solution to this is to check if your plant’s pot has adequate drainage. The pot should have enough holes at the bottom to allow the excess water to drain out into the drainage tray.
5. The Leaves Are Turning Different Colors
Diagnosis: The plant may have been invaded by pests.
Sometimes, your leaves may turn into strange colors or display webbing or protruding bumps. This is usually a sign of a bug infestation. Plant-eating pests may range from spider mites to scale insects. Look for the pests and figure out what kind they are by doing a comparison with pictures online. Treat your plant the appropriate insecticide or pesticide, but ensure it’s organic.
6. Nothing Seems To Help!
Diagnosis: Your plant may need a new home.
If your plant just doesn’t respond to your care, ask yourself when you last repotted your plant. Plenty of plants grow well once they’re moved into a pot that’s about 20 percent bigger than their current home every one or two years. When you find yourself having to water your plant a lot more often than earlier, or when you notice active roots beginning to sprout out of the soil, it’s certainly time to give it a new home.
Tip: When repotting a plant, loosen the roots by massaging them gently before you place it in the new pot. That way the roots understand that there is going to be more space from now on, and will willingly expand.