The Most Common Mistakes People Make With Plants
Updated: Jun 29
Growing plants is a rewarding hobby, but it does come with pitfalls and mistakes that can hinder your plant's health and growth. The following are some of the most common mistakes that people make with plants.
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Keeping your plant in the same pot or planter for years
Plants need to be given a new pot or planter every now and then, regardless of the type of plant you are growing.
For most plants, replanting should be done every 12 to 18 months. This may vary depending on the size of the plant and whether or not you have experienced issues with overcrowded roots.
If you keep your plant in the same pot or planter for years, you are increasing the risk for problems such as pests, mold, and root rot.
Ignoring signs of plant disease
Plant disease can seriously impact your plant, even to the point of killing it. It would be best if you never ignored early signs of plant disease such as discolored roots, spotting, and mushy or dark roots.
If you spot these problems, you need to take the time to figure out what is wrong with the plant and then plan your course of action.
The sooner you spot these problems and work on resolving the issue, the higher the chance that the plant will recover from its disease entirely.
Not giving your plant's roots regular check-ups
Roots are an essential component of a plant's health, but many people tend to ignore the roots entirely.
In addition to checking the leaves for signs of discoloration and making sure that the soil is moist enough, plant owners should also take a peek at their plant’s roots.
Roots issues can be a hidden sign of something wrong with your plant, such as disease, overwatering, underwatering, and so on.
Some of the most common problems that plant owners may spot on the roots include overcrowding, discoloration of the roots, and root rot.
Moving your plants around the house too frequently
Plants like stability – both in a literal and figurative sense. If you are prone to moving your plant from room to room because you want to change up your home decor, then you may actually be harming the plant in the long run.
While it's a good choice to move your plant when the seasons change so that it can receive the right amount of light and humidity, a plant that is moved around too much will become stressed and is less likely to thrive than a plant that is allowed to adjust and acclimatize in one place.
Not researching the plant before you start growing
Before you start growing any plant, you need to do your research. You want to find out basic facts about the plant and its best conditions for growth, including its watering needs, its lighting needs, whether or not it requires low or high humidity, and any other facts which will help the plant thrive under your care.
Not knowing how to "winterize" your plants
Most indoor plants – except for plants that flower or grow during the wintertime – need to be "winterized".
This will typically involve a few things, such as: stopping the use of fertilizer or cutting doses in half, minimizing or eliminating watering, and even moving your plant to a dark location where it won't be exposed to sunlight. Steps such as these will help protect the plant during the winter and help ensure that it will be ready to grow again during the next growing season.
Watering your houseplants too much
One of the most common mistakes people make with their houseplants is overwatering them. Many people assume that plants need as much water as possible to survive and that plants with any level of dry soil may shrivel up and become dehydrated.
However, soil can be visibly dry on the top but still moist underneath; before adding more water, make sure you check the soil sticking your finger or a screwer into it, or use a soil moisture gauge.
Not giving your plants the right amount of light
All plants have different lighting needs. Some plants require direct sunlight, while others require indirect sunlight. Some plants may need a few hours of direct sunlight at most, while others are best kept away from the sun for most of the day.
If you give your plant too much or too little light, it can cause problems with growth, discoloration, leaf drop, and more. You should research your plant to find out how much light it needs and choose its location accordingly.
Watering your plant too little or improperly
If you don't water your plants enough, the roots may become dry; the leaves may become brown and crunchy, and your plant won't thrive.
If you water your plant improperly – such as using the wrong kind of water, water in the evening, or not using a drainage pan – you may run into similar issues.
Using too much fertilizer
Fertilizer can help plants get a boost of nutrients, but using too much fertilizer will overwhelm and shock plants. This can cause plants to become dried out, burned, and otherwise fail to thrive.
In some cases, using too much fertilizer may permanently damage a plant, and it will be nearly impossible to bring it back to health.
For these reasons, it is very important to use the right type of fertilizer, follow the recommended dosing instructions, and to use fertilizer when a plant is in a growing season, not when a plant is dormant.