• Pilea.com

What To Do If Your Houseplants Keep Dying

Updated: Sep 4, 2019

There are many things to keep in mind when it comes to plants care. If you are wondering why your houseplants keep dying even after taking so much effort, you might be forgetting something. Here's some advice to help you grow happy plants!


1. Make Sure To Know Your Plant's Needs

Every plant has its specific needs. Be realistic about how much attention and time you can give to your houseplants, and shop accordingly.


Make sure to acquire the knowledge from a florist, books or the internet before choosing and buying your plant.



2. Choose The Right Location

Once you have learned your plant's needs, find the best spot. Placing your plant in an unsuitable location will kill it, sooner or later.


Some plants require shade, indirect light or direct sunlight, while some need moisture. If you make sure to provide the right environment, your plant will thrive. You can consider buying tools like a thermometer and a humidity sensor, that will help you monitor your room conditions.


Once you have chosen the right spot for your plant, avoid moving the plant frequently - it can hurt the growth of your houseplant. Plants might take a while to adjust to their spot; if moved often, they won't have enough time to adapt to the new environment and will start suffering.



3. Use The Right Soil

Soil is the key! Make sure the soil you choose is according to your plant’s needs. You can make your own mixture or choose a high quality, organic soil mix.


Some plants do better in moisture retaining, dense soil, while other plants, such as cacti, need light, well-draining soil with high sand and peat content, to prevent root rot.


4. Don't Overwater

Even the most experienced plant parents make this mistake – thinking that giving more water to the plant will keep it healthy and let it grow faster.

However, keeping indoor plants a little bit drier is often a good idea.


It's hard to tell what's the exact watering schedule for your plant. The watering requirements always depend on the climate in which you're growing it.

It’s a good idea to touch the soil every 3-4 days, and wait until the top inch of the soil is dry. You can also look for signs of thirst in your plant, like drooping or wilting leaves.

When you water, water the plants thoroughly, until it runs out of the bottom of the pot.


Make sure to place a saucer or tray underneath your plant to catch the drops from watering and condensation.

Also, remember that larger plants in large pots need to be watered less often than plants in tiny pots, which will dry out quicker.



5. Provide The Right Amount Of Light

It is true that plants need light, but exceeding light can kill or debilitate them.


Placing your plant near to a window is probably the best idea, but you need to check how much natural light is needed for your plant and choose the right sun exposure.



6. Don't Forget To Repot

If you have a houseplant for a long time and you never repot it, it will become bound to the pot you have planted it in, and it won't be able to receive adequate nutrition from the soil. Leaves will get yellow, and you might see some roots popping out.


Also, several potting mixtures contain peat, which breaks down over time and becomes more acidic. With time, if the soil is not replaced, it will be harder for your plant to get the amount of water and oxygen it needs.


The best solution is to repot your plant when it needs it. Typically, plants outgrow the pot within a year or two.



7. Avoid Drafts Or Extreme Temperatures

Indoor plants like indoor conditions, and unvarying temperature. Having a constant temperature will encourage healthy growth.


The best daytime temperature for indoor plants is usually around 65-75 °F (18-24 °C); during the night, a difference of 5-10 °F will work fine.



8. Prune And Clean The Leaves Regularly

It's important to clean the dust away from the leaves. Not only they will look more attractive, but they will also grow healthier.


The layer of dust accumulated on the foliage can block the light and reduce the plant’s ability to photosynthesize. Gently wipe the leaves with a soft cloth every two weeks, and your plant will look shinier and happier.


Also, dead leaves should regularly be removed: never forget to prune your plant. Pinching off brown or yellow leaves will encourage new growth!



9. Check The Roots Frequently

You should check the roots of your plants regularly, to make sure they are healthy. Damaged roots can cause new growth to be wilting or dying.


Healthy roots should look white, numerous, hardy and long enough to hold the soil in the shape of the pot. Every once in a while, remove the plant from its pot and cut away any circled or tangled root.


Every once in a while, remove the plant from its pot and cut away any circled or tangled root. If you see that the roots are mainly brown, mushy or crumbly, your plant might be suffering from root rot.



10. Watch Out For Pest

Gnats are really common and can get into your home in many different ways.

If you see your plant drooping, unfurling its leaves and getting yellow, take a closer look: you might discover you have guests.


Check underneath your plant's leaves and in the soil to make sure no flies have invaded your plant. Pests could kill your plant if left untreated: you should manually remove as many gnats as possible and then, treat the plant with an insecticide.



11. Use The Right Pot

Bad drainage kills a lot of plants. Poorly drained pots can easily retain water, creating the perfect conditions for root rot.

That is why you should never put your plant in a pot that doesn’t have a drainage hole at the bottom.


Generally, terracotta pots are an excellent choice for plants which like to dry out. Their porosity allows the roots to breathe well and absorb exceeding water and moisture.


This article will help you choose a pot for your houseplant.



12. Remember To Feed The Plant

Plants need six macro-nutrients to survive. They get carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen from air and water, but they also need nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for optimal health and growth.

Using a balanced houseplant food (which can be purchased at any nursery or online) regularly will ensure your plant is getting the nutrients it needs.


Every plant has different feeding needs. Some plants, such as orchids, require fertilizers specifically formulated for their needs. Be sure to follow the specific feed requirement of your plant, as over-fertilizing can kill it.



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