Monday, 25th September 2023

Why your Houseplants keep dying

By Sereba Agiobu-Kemmer
19 November 2016   |   3:25 am
Why are your houseplants dying? As beautiful as houseplants are, both for your health and your décor, sometimes it seems that houseplants just love to die especially if you new to indoor gardening.

Why are your houseplants dying?
As beautiful as houseplants are, both for your health and your décor, sometimes it seems that houseplants just love to die especially if you new to indoor gardening. Worse, in many cases, gardeners are mystified by exactly why their beloved plant died. The good news is that plants really just don’t die without a reason. In fact, houseplants are fairly predictable, depending on their species, and the vast majority of houseplant causalities are all caused by the same few factors. Here are the top reasons houseplants die.

Why you are killing your houseplant:
Wrong plant
It is important to pick the right plant in the first place.
It is not every plant you find attractive that will be suitable for your peculiar home environment. One needs to consider a number of issues, for instance the spot you are going to place the plant, how much light it will be getting? Are you one of those who always forget to water your plant? You have to put good thought to important facts such as mentioned before you can decide the kind of plant to pick or you might end up picking the wrong plant, not every species will fit the condition in every home. It is not a bad idea to ask the advice of the gardener at the plant nursery to help you to the right plant for your conditions. If you intend to give it as a present or looking for something almost foolproof, pick on philodendrons, which are quite hardy and no fuss. Philodendron handles shade very well and you barely need to water it, about once a week will do. There are interesting new varieties with red, gold or orange foliage to make a choice. By picking the right plant, you’ve already eliminated most problems.

You probably aren’t giving it sufficient light. While philodendrons will thrive happily in low light. it’s not so with species like Aloes, Cacti, Euphorbia Millii (Crown of thorns) Boston ferns (Nephrolepsis Cordifolia) need lots of sunlight so placing them in the corner of your living room won’t work for them. On the other hand Begonias, the Swiss Cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) and Epiphyllums (like jungle cactus) thrive in low-light or filtered-sun environments. Sometimes, by simply moving the plant to another spot in the house could work wonders. If a plant that needs plenty of light get moved out to direct sunlight after living many months indoors, it gets scorched easily and quickly. It might also start rotting if there is too much rainfall. If you want to move your plant to open air, make the transition gradually and keep an eye on the moisture levels.

You are either over-watering or under watering. You could be doing your watering wrongly. Cacti and succulents are used to dry (desert) conditions and so prefer dry soils, daily watering will do more harm than good. Once a week might be too much, too frequent. If you are the type that forgets to water or travel and spend days away from home, they are good choice. Some plants like Zamioculas (ZZ plant), pothos , jade need minimal watering every 2weeks or so. Whereas plants that are flowering like African violets require frequent watering more than when they are not in their flowering season. As a rule of thumb (no pun intended), check the soil and tips of leaves to see whether they are drying, indicating that the plant needs water.

Tip: When watering, be careful not to get water on the leaves; this promotes fungal growth.
Pests You didn’t protect your plant from pests. Pests like spider mites, mealy bugs, scale insects, can attack your household plants; Neem oil concentrate is a popular and effective organic pest control. Mix it in a spray bottle with water and spay on an affected plants every one or two days. Neem oil compounds repels insects by disrupting their reproductive or development cycles. It also deters some insects from feeding on the foliage. It is also pleasant to use it has a citrus scent.

The wrong kind of pot.
You could have used the wrong kind of pot for growing your plant. Plastic pot will retain moisture, so they are better choice for plants that like moist situation .Clay pots, on the other hand, are porous and are perfect for plants that prefer drier conditions like cacti, orchids and succulents.

Size of the pot
The size of the pot also matters. Don’t chose a pot thinking that the plant will grow into it, rather, what is more likely to happen is the plant will take in too much water with all that extra room in the pot leading to rot. When transplanting choose a pot that is 2 to 4 inches larger in diameter then the current one.

The soils from your backyard and packaged topsoil aren’t necessarily the best choices for growing houseplants. Instead you want an indoor potting mix that is porous enough to allow the roots to grow easily, but not so loose that water just runs right through to the bottom. You can purchase this from garden centers. Or you could make the mix yourself, if you are so inclined. Then you could change the soil every year or two.

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