House Plant Help:  Diagnosing a Sick Plant

House plant help will enable you to diagnose a sick plant to determine the root of the problem.  In order to figure what is wrong, you must start with the simplest solution as a starting point.

An ailing indoor plant will let you know if something is wrong.

The leaves wilt, turn yellow,  edges turn brown,  fall off,  or some other symptoms will manifest itself. 

There are various causes,  some that can be rectified to nurse your plants back to health and others that cannot.

Incorrect Watering

1. Under Watered Plants

The most common cause of a problems is incorrect watering, either too much or not enough.

If the plant’s leaves are starting too look wilted or are drying up, check the soil and if it is dry, give your plant a good soaking and let it drain into a saucer. Always empty the excess water because it will cause root rot which kill your plant. And this cannot be rectified. 

If your plant is extremely dry, you must soak it in a pail of water for 2 minutes until the bubbling stops, then drain; this is necessary to revive it.

2.  Over Watered Plants

When a plant looses its leaves it could be because the roots were damages from over watering, the plant is not getting enough water to support the amount of foliage.

Waterlogged soil is deprived of oxygen and cannot get enough water and the plant wilts. If your soil is all wet and soggy, inspect the pot to make sure the drainage holes are not clogged. There must be room for the excess water to run out.

Plant pot size matters because a pot that too large will cause overwatering. Make sure your pot fits the plant.

The way you water matters too, Some plants must be watered from the bottom because certain plants do not like to get their leaves wet.  Place pot in a saucer filled to the brim with water and leave it there for 30 minutes then drain off excess water.

House Plant Help for Diagnosing a Sick Plant

The following plants are sensitive to fluoride/salt in water, which
can cause brown leaf tips:

  • Spider plant
  • Easter lilies
  • Dracaena
  • Spathiphyllum (peace lily)
  • cast iron plants
  • parlor palms
  • prayer plants
  • Freesia

Salt sensitive plants do not like water from water-softening systems because it adds sodium which builds up in the soil. This can also happen from excess fertilizer. This slows growth and eventually kills your plant. Leach plant by pouring lukewarm water through the pot to wash out the salts. This must be repeated several times.

Flushing the soil occasionally with rainwater or bottled water helps reduce fluoride salt buildup also.

Evaluate the Plant’s Environment

                  Temperature Too Hot or Too Cold

Too Much Heat If the edges of the leaves are turning brown and are starting to look dried out it is from too sunlight and place in indirect light. Adjust the temperature inside the home if possible. 

These symptoms can also show up if there is not enough humidity in the house.  As a quick fix you can put a small dish of water near the plant and as it evaporates the plant leaves will take in the moisture.  Also you can place plant on a humidity tray.
Cold Temperatures:  This will cause plants to look limp and weedy.  Move to a warmer place.

Plant suddenly turns yellow: Gas fumes or cold drafts can cause this to happen.  Move to a location free of these conditions.

Pests can cause plants to dry out, become brown and crisp and fall off. Watch for pest problems and deal with them quickly. Spider mites and aphids can usually be washed off the plant with a stream of water in the sink or shower. Always treat the tops as well as the undersides of the leaves.

The right kind of house plant help with diagnosing a sick plant will encourage a more healthy, vibrant, lush indoor garden.

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