You’ve done everything you can think of. You’ve watered it. You’ve placed it next to your window for optimal lighting. You’ve even sung to it, yet still, the beautiful plant that you bought to brighten your home is doing anything but.
In fact, if we’re honest, that plant is looking quite sad since you’ve taken ownership. Fear not! We’re here to help you figure out exactly what is going on with your plant buddies and how to save them before it’s too late.
Kindness Can Kill
We know that you love your plant. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have brought it home. However, the affection that you’re showing it might be doing more harm than good.
We’re talking overwatering. We know you’re not doing it on purpose. It’s hard to believe, but too much of a good thing can also be bad. Overwatering and poor drainage are major culprits behind dead house plants. This combination kills your plants because it drowns your plants’ roots.
A good indication that you’re overwatering your plant is from the soil. You want the top inch or so of soil to be a little dried out when you go to water your plant. If it’s still damp, put the watering can down!
Not only does overwatering cause your plant to drown, but it can also cause several types of diseases, as well. Root rot is one of those common diseases. It causes your plants’ stems and/or roots to turn black or brown and get soggy.
Unfortunately, with this particular plant disease, it’s almost always fatal. There is still some hope if you catch it early enough. Trimming the leaves and transferring the plant to a new pot might just be its saving grace.
Other water-related diseases to watch out for are various fungal diseases that are often identified by discoloration of the leaves. Powdery mildew is also an indication of poor air circulation around the plant.
Your overly caring heart isn’t the only thing to worry about when it comes to your house plants. The environment in your home has a lot to do with how well your plant is going to thrive.
If you have a plant that is long and spindly, then it may be stretching to reach for extra sunlight that it’s not getting. If you notice this, just move the plant to a better lit area of your home.
On the other hand, if you’ve noticed that your plant is brownish with scorched-looking tips, then this could be a sign that it’s getting too much vitamin D. Move that buddy where he’s not in the direct line of the sun. Once you’ve moved your plant, don’t forget to prune out the brown areas, so it can flourish.
Even to a novice plant owner, sunlight is a usual go-to when thinking of what might be wrong with their plant. A less obvious problem could be the temperature in your house.
Most house plants are tropical plants that have been adapted to live in the home. If your plant seems to be struggling, then the temperature might be too low, or the air might be too dry.
A simple solution is to raise the humidity for your plant. This can be done by purchasing a humidifier. Check out The Best Plant Humidifiers For Your Indoor Garden if you’re unsure of where to start.
If you have made all the changes listed above and your plant is still struggling in your home, perhaps you need to have a closer inspection.
Pests are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to house plants. It’s easy to think our plants are safe from pests since they’re inside with us. This is a common misconception that’s not entirely that hard to believe. Some of these pests are so small they’re hard to see unless you know what you’re looking for.
Spider mites fall under this category.
Don’t dismiss these tiny creatures because of their size. Their presence on your plant can cause huge issues. Some of their calling cards are fine webbing all over your plant, hence the first part of their name, and tiny specks that take over the leaves due to moisture escaping.
A spider mite infestation can be devasting because they are hard to recognize, and they take over quickly. One of the common ways a spider mite infection is spread is through the regifting of plants.
If they’ve picked your plant from a local grower or florist then you won’t have anything to worry about. However, if you’re accepting a gift from a friend’s personal collection, be wary unless you know that the person’s plant cleaning style is up to par with your own.
If it’s a gift that you can’t just say no to then put your new item in a little area by itself. Keep your plant in quarantine for a few days to make sure the plant is safe then you can intergrade it back into your collection.
Other bugs to watch out for are mealy bugs, scale, fungus gnats, whiteflies and aphids.
The Root of the Issue
Some plants are more likely to get infestations than other plants. Keep that in mind when picking out plants for your home. Areca Palms are a magnet for pests like the dreaded spider mite, and they are also on the more expensive side.
The succulent is another plant that can be a magnet for pests, particularly mealy bugs. This infestation can spread fast to other plants in your home so be mindful when buying these.
If you couldn’t prevent the infestation, to begin with, there’s still hope if you catch the pests early.
There are two main solutions for getting rid of pests. The first one is using pesticides. Insecticidal soap is an option where you can use it without worrying about it getting anywhere besides the specific plant that you are targeting.
If you cringe at the very thought of pesticides, using other plants to prevent pests might just be the route for you. Basil, garlic, marigolds and lavender are all plants that will help naturally deter pests in and around their environment.
If you’re limited on space but still want to keep the natural approach to ridding your plants of pests, try some catnip. Catnip is a great repellent for things like aphids, ants and Japanese beetles. Of course, if you have a furry feline friend, be sure to keep the catnip insect repellent in a spot that’s not too enticing and out of your catch’s reach.
Plants Vs. Animals
So far, we’ve talked about how you might be harming your plant or how your environment might be harming your plant. Now, we’re going to discuss how your plant might be harming you, your children or your furry friends.
Other than the typical hot words for poisonous plants, such as poison ivy or poison oak, we don’t think of plants as being very dangerous. Certainly, if they are dangerous then they wouldn’t be in our homes.
There are quite a few plants that we bring around our family and friends that could be potentially harmful and some even fatal. Most of them we don’t even give a second thought to.
Poinsettias are a great example. Who hasn’t been around a poinsettia during the holiday season? They are everywhere during the winter months, but did you know that this festive symbol can be harmful if the proper precautions aren’t taken?
White sap from poinsettias can cause skin rashes on people, and if your dog or cat decides to snack on the plant’s decorative leaves, then they might experience vomiting, diarrhea and skin irritation.
Jade is another plant that, although gorgeous to have around your house, can be detrimental to the health of your animals. If eaten, it can cause gastric distress, heartbeat irregularities and even depression. Nobody wants a depressed pooch!
There are so many options when it comes to what types of plants you can bring into your home. If you’re new to the world of house plants, you might just jump on board with what’s trending now or perhaps, just the plant that captivates your eye.
None of these are bad choices, just make sure you’re doing your research. This will prevent you from investing money into something that will wilt and die in a few days. More importantly, you’re not bringing something unknowingly harmful to your house.
Plants are meant to brighten your environment and bring you joy. Let that be the experience you have when you decide to bring in plants by doing the research ahead of time. Our florists at Johnson's Florist and Balloon Co. in Port Wentworth, GA, are happy to assist you in the process of researching and finding the perfect plant or flower arrangement for your home. Embrace the fun and discover your green thumb today.