5 Cures for Ailing Houseplants

Houseplants can really add to our indoor decor. But for many folks, growing them is not as easy as the gardening websites would have us believe. Yellow, brown or dropping leaves, insects, fungus, and general bad health can plague us all. Fortunately, most houseplant problems can be traced back to a few easy to solve causes.

Below are 5 ways to cure your houseplant woes and enjoy the beauty that healthy thriving plants can add to your environment.

1. Right Plant  Right Spot 

I can't stress enough how important it is to put your plant in a spot where it gets the right amount of light. For some plants that can be lots of bright sunlight. If they don't receive enough light, they will struggle to grow and be spindly. For others, like this Cast Iron Plant, low light is best.

cast iron plant houseplants

Plants that get too much sunlight can show browning at the tips of the leaves.

So before you buy, decide where you want to put the plant and then observe how much sun that spot received. Then buy the plant that will work for that spot. If you've already purchased your plant, do a quick bit of research to find out the amount of light it needs and then move it to a spot that fits.

2. To Water or Not To Water 

The thing that kills most houseplants is overwatering or underwatering. Both can cause leaves to turn yellow and drop. Each plant is different in how much water it needs. For example, succulents benefit from letting the soil dry out completely between waterings.


succulent houseplant

Other houseplants should be watered when the top layer of soil dries out. Be sure to check what each plant needs and water accordingly. Be sure that the pots are well drained and that plants roots do not sit in water.

3. Too Much of a Good Thing

While many of us appreciate our warm homes in the winter, our heating systems can be a detriment to our houseplants. Putting plants too close to heating registers can dry them out quickly. Keep houseplants away heat sources.

Boston Fern, houseplant

Some plants like this Boston Fern, benefit from misting.

Others like this African Violet will show leaf damage from misting but do benefit from humidity.

African Violet, houseplants

The easiest way to provide this is to put a layer of pebbles in a tray with a small bit of water. Be sure that the base of the pot does not sit in the water. 

4. I Need More Room

As your plants grow so do their root systems. Eventually they will become pot bound and need to be moved to a new pot. How do you know? If your plant takes up all of the water you give it and then wilts a short time later it’s probably pot bound.

houseplants potbound repot

Remove the plant from it's current pot and plant in a new pot using potting soil (not garden soil - which is meant for outdoors and is too heavy for indoor plants). For African Violets use soil labeled specifically for them.

5. Pesky Pests

Plants that are under stress already can be susceptible to pests such as insects, mites, and fungus. When purchasing new plants be sure to get them from a reputable garden center or greenhouse and quarantine them from your other plants when you get them home until you are sure they are pest-free.

greenhouse garden center houseplants

The best way to avoid these pests is for plants to be getting the right amount of sunlight and water. Do not crowd plants and make sure that all plants have the right amount of air circulations.

If you find that your plant has pests, remove all affected dying leaves and do not compost. For mite and insects you can get rid of them by wiping the leaves with a damp cloth. Treat leaves with insecticidal soap or Neem oil.

houseplants care

Neem oil sprayed on the leaves is great for getting rid of fungus and controlling most fungal and insect pests.  

Comment below and let us know about your houseplant successes. Or ailments and how you solved them.

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