On top of their aesthetic appeal, indoor plants come with a list of scientifically proven benefits. They lower stress, increase concentration and improve air quality. But lately, your indoor plant haven looks more like the tales of the crypt. Your Chinese Money Plant is fading away and your Ivy Plant is about to croak. Why is the home office looking so drab?
Before you turn to cacti or succulents, keep reading. This article explains some of the most common reasons your indoor plants may be withering and provides suggestions for restoring that healthy green quality.
Oftentimes, indoor plant owners misdiagnose issues and resort to the go-to panacea: monsoons of love. However, the leaf-curling and overall droop in their plants could actually be caused by regular overwatering.
Overwatering leads to root rot because the soil’s air pockets are being routinely congested and the fine root hairs can’t metabolize enough oxygen. The roots suffocate and so does everything else. Pots that aren’t draining properly are the primary culprit for water retention issues.
How to Revive
Here are some maintenance tips for if you’re overwatering your plants:
- Cut back on watering: Save your plants from early death by scaling back on the watering routine or just using smaller amounts of water. Think gentle rains. Less is usually more. If the soil is allowed to dry, the roots can breathe.
- Check your pots for drainage holes: Make sure your pots come equipped with drainage holes so the plant can recover from excess water.
Now, let’s take a look at underwatering.
One telltale indicator of underwatering is dry soil, leaf edges and tips. If the plant isn’t getting enough water, the growth process will be slow so you won’t be finding many new leaves. Another problem could be your plants are getting too much sunlight.
Before entire leaves fall off, nurse your plants back to health by increasing the regularity of watering. If you’re gone for long periods of time, consider succulents or orchids. Hardier and more accustomed to drier climates, they last longer on low water supply.
How to Revive
Here are some maintenance tips for if you’re underwatering your plants:
- Water more often
- Move plants to shady area
- Set reminders on your phone
Now, let’s move on to pests.
This is probably every indoor plant owner’s worst nightmare: bugs. Among the most common vermin are aphids, scales, and fungus gnats. Indoors, the environmental conditions for your plants are inevitably going to be less than ideal which makes them more vulnerable to insects.
If your plant stems appear off-color or strangely speckled, check for creepy crawlies. For example, when your plant has aphids, they secrete a gross sticky-looking substance known as honeydew. As if that wasn’t bad enough, honeydew contributes to the appearance of black, sooty mold spots on leaves.
Scales are the vampires of the pest underworld. They literally suck the life out of your plant stems and emit the same kind of zombie goo. Don’t confuse fungus gnats with the harmless kind. With their long spindly legs, they resemble mosquitoes more. The damage they leave looks like root rot with lower leaves turning yellow and falling off.
How to Revive
Here are some maintenance tips for if your plants have pests:
- Rinse plants thoroughly
- Invest in insecticidal soap
- Gently scrape off more stubborn pests
Now, let’s take a look at imbalance light exposure
Imbalanced Light Exposure
Another key contributor to mass indoor plant death is the lack of or overexposure to sunlight. Some plants, like umbrella plants, require proximity to bright light while others need more indirect sunlight.
Catch the signs early. If a plant is receiving too much sun, you’ll see dark spots developing on the leaves. If your plant is yellowing or looking sickly, it could probably use a tan so place it in an area with access to more sunlight.
How to Revive
Here are some maintenance tips for if your plants are receiving too much or too little sunlight:
- Move plants from heavily lighted areas
- Add curtains to the nearby windows to diffuse light
- Prune leaves that are too far gone
Now you know all about why your indoor plants may be dying.
Don’t give up on the indoor plant idea just yet. If you’re watchful, you’ll nip these issues in the bud. You’ve got a comprehensive list of warning signs now. Keep an eye out for brittle leaves, stems that are keeling over, and unwanted slime.
Research your plants as to how much sunlight is optimal for their best growth. Track your watering routine: not too much, not too little. Reviving your plants is usually just a matter of awareness and slight changes in habit. So yes, the hanging ivy was a great idea but cacti are cool too.