9 Houseplant Problems and How to Ensure Their Survival

Having plants in the home are beneficial to our décor and our health. They actually take care of us by cutting out air pollutants, therefore keeping the air cleaner and illnesses at bay. We should return the favor by taking proper care of them, nipping problems in the bud as they arise. Do your plants look like they’re on the brink of death? Before sending your plants to the graveyard, try one of these tips to see if you can breathe new life into them.

 

Broken stem

Sometimes accidents happen, and your plant babies get injured. Pets, children, nature, or your own mishaps can cause breaks. To fix them there are two things you can do. You can clip the stem and plug the break with some powdered cinnamon to heal the stem and curb infection. Another popular trick is to make a tourniquet. You can use a straw, popsicle stick, or pencil to make a splint, and some tape (electrical or plant) to keep it in place. If all goes well, the plant should fuse itself back together!

Pests

Pests can take over a plant to the point it’s not worth saving or worse – they spread to all the others. Cinnamon again, is good deterrent for fungus that feeds critters like gnats. Sprinkle it into the soil or create a mix of cinnamon, dish soap, and water to use as a mist. Get rid of any infected parts and apply an organic insecticide like neem oil. Dabbing an alcohol swab on larger bugs will also kill them.


Browning

There are a few reasons that your plant’s leaves are turning brown. Age, pests, or watering habits could all be part of the problem. The most obvious sign is not enough water; water or spritz your plant more regularly to make sure it’s not thirsty. If your plant is showing signs of browning on the tips or edges, fertilizer buildup could be the cause. Too much fertilizer could also be starving your plant of water because the roots could be damaged. Water the plant and make sure it has ample drainage to help flush out the excess food; do a little pruning on the brown spots.

Overwatering

Overwatering is one of the biggest causes of plant death. Frequent waterings and/or inadequate drainage can drown the plant. Too much water can kill the roots or breed fungus and mold, and cause the leaves to turn yellow. Let the soil dry in between waterings and never let the plant sit in the saucer, bathing in a pool of water. Make sure your pot has drain hold and put pebbles in between the saucer and pot to help with drainage.

Under-watering

Symptoms of under-watering can be confusingly similar to overwatering. Yellowing and wilting leaves can occur with thirsty plants, as well as dry or cracked soil. Follow the plant’s instructions or pay attention to its rhythm to know how often it needs water.

Dry Air

Keeping plants near heat sources like radiators or electric heaters will dry them out. Your room’s conditions might also have low humidity causing them to wilt or brown. Thinner leaved varieties tend to need more humidity. For humidity issues, using a humidifying device or rotating your plants into humid spaces like the bathroom or kitchen will work best.

Temperature

Indoor temps that are too high or too cold can spell death for your plants. Dropping leaves are one of the symptoms. When combined with other problems like overwatering or low sunlight, it can compound the issue. Moderate temperatures are best for indoor plants, somewhere between 65° – 75° Fahrenheit. Some can do well in cooler temperatures.

Lighting

Like humans, there is such a thing as plants getting too much sunshine. Commons signs are curling, brown or white leaves, or leaves that fall. Move to a shadier area and taper off with the water until the plant looks livelier again. Plants that aren’t receiving enough light will look frail or that they’re losing their color. Move closer to the light.


Not Thriving

Don’t give up! If it seems like your plant isn’t growing, it may just need some extra food to help nourish it. According to Food52, a larger pot might do your plant some good, giving it extra room to grow. They suggest massaging the roots first to loosen them up for their new digs.

What are your thoughts? Have you learned any plant remedies through trial and error?