Why Your House Plants Keep Dying, and What to Do About it

While some people are really good at keeping plants healthy and happy, others are unfortunately just as good at killing them. We all have good intentions when we bring a plant home, but without learning a little about them, their demise is virtually inevitable.

There are a few things you might be doing to cut their lives short. Here are a few ways you could be killing your houseplants.

Not Watering Enough

Lots of homeowners water their plants only when they remember to. Watering once a week or two isn’t going to cut it if you want your plants to stay healthy and vibrant.

This is where a plant watering schedule can come in really handy. Rather than trying to wrack your brains figuring out when the last time you watered was, a schedule will keep you on track. You should also find out exactly what types of plants you have, and how often each specific breed should be watered in order to provide them with the ideal amount.

Stick your finger in the soil to see if it feels dry. Make sure you water the soil thoroughly every time, and ensure that it drains from the holes at the bottom of the pot.

Watering Too Much

At the other end of the spectrum, you also want to avoid overwatering your plants, which will do little more than rot the roots. You might think that more water is better, but this could actually be harming your plants. Different plants have different needs when it comes to how much water they need.

The best solution is to identify the right moisture level of your plants. While some like to dry out completely before being watered again, others need to stay moist. Check the care instructions to find out how much water you should be giving your plants for them to thrive.

A word about drainage: just because the pot that’s housing your plant has a hole at the bottom doesn’t mean that it’s enough to supply adequate drainage. On top of these holes, you need actual drainage material at the bottom to give the water a place to go so the roots don’t rot from too much moisture.

Not Enough Sunlight – or Too Much

You can’t just plop a plant down at any window sill and assume that the sunlight coming through is appropriate for that particular plant. Little do you know that it’s either wilting from lack of enough sun, or frying from the rays.

Every plant you buy will come with a little tag that specifies precisely how much sunlight that particular plant likes. Some will need partial sunlight, while others are hearty enough to handle full sun. Consider what angle your windows are hitting the sun at.

For instance, if you have northern or eastern light, choose plants that enjoy shade or partial sun. On the other hand, plants that like full sun are ideal for southern or western facing windows. Just remember that the light must be bright enough for you to easily read a book with the lights off in order for the plant to survive.

Temperatures Are Too Extreme

Think about what your ideal temperature would be to make you comfortable. Most plants like the same kinds of temperatures that we do. Your safest bet is a temperature range of between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit — not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

If the plants are placed by the window, keep tabs on the weather outside. Sweltering heat in the summer and frigid cold in the winter can have a negative affect on the life of your plant. Also keep in mind the effects of the air conditioner or heater – these can dry out your plant.

If you’re comfortable, the plants are probably fine. Just be sure to check the care card for specifics on temperature.

Ignoring Insects

Plants are like targets for insects, and the most notorious indoor plant eaters include white flies, spider mites and gnats. If you notice any mysterious holes in the leaves of your plants, you can bet that it’s been fed on by one of these pesky pests.

To make sure insects don’t attack your plants, consider waiting 30 days before introducing new plants to the area that other plants are kept in. Removing weak plants, keeping leaves clean by wiping them with soap and water, and using seaweed mulch can also help to keep insects at bay.

If you do notice bugs damaging your plants, first find out what kind they are, then use a natural remedy to get rid of them. It’s worth mentioning that certain insects are beneficial to your plants, such as praying mantises or ladybugs.

Plants bring life into a home, and are a huge part of its decor. Just because you’ve been a serial plant killer up until now, that doesn’t mean you can’t take some steps to turn things around. Start off with plants that are hearty and easy to care for, then once you get the hang of it, it will actually be easier and more fun to maintain them. Just make sure you do your homework first.

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