How To Save Your Plants From Dying
Just like any living thing, plants can get sick. Environmental stresses, adverse weather conditions, insects, diseases, and other facts can cause plants to become unhealthy.
If your plant is showing significant signs of stress, don't give up, and try these solutions.
1. Take Some Time To Identify The Problem
Every plant has its specific needs, so make sure to acquire the exact care requirements from a florist, books, or the internet.
Remember that if your plant is looking unhealthy, the best thing you can do is to take some time and try to save it. Start by inspecting it carefully, and make an effort to identify the problem.
2. Check The Root System Closely
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.
Generally, roots should be white – except for Crispy Wave, that has brown roots – sturdy and spread enough to hold the soil in the shape of the pot. To make sure the root system of your plant stays healthy, remove the plant from its planter and cut away any circled or tangled root.
If you see that the roots are mainly mushy or crumbly, your plant might be suffering from root rot.
3. Search For Bugs And Insects
Gnats are common and can get into your home in many different ways.
If you see your plant drooping, unfurling its leaves and getting yellow, check underneath the leaves and in the soil, and make sure no flies have invaded your plant.
4. Correct Your Watering Habits
It can be tricky to tell exactly how much water your plant needs. The watering requirements always depend on the climate in which you're growing it.
Generally, it's better to water a plant less often, but when you do, soak it thoroughly, until it runs out of the bottom of the pot. The wet-dry cycle encourages stronger roots and prevents root rot.
It's a good idea to touch the soil every 3-4 days to check if it's moist or dry. You can also stick a pencil into the dirt and pull it back out. Unless your plant likes to stay moist, a clean pencil means your plant needs water, while soil on the pencil means the plant is okay for now.
Your plant should be watered well during the growing season, but less water is needed when the plant is dormant, which typically happens in the winter. Learn about your particular plant with time and experience to give it the best care.
When watering your plant, always use lukewarm water, since cold water may chill the roots.
Make sure to place a saucer or tray underneath your plant to catch the drops from watering and condensation.
Also, remember that big plants in large containers need to be watered less often than small plants in tiny pots, which will dry out quicker.
5. Check The Drainage
A poorly drained pot can accumulate water at the bottom, which causes the root rot.
Make sure to choose a pot with proper drainage holes. Poorly drained pots can easily retain water, creating the perfect conditions for root rot.
Never place your plant in a pot that doesn’t have a drainage hole at the bottom.
6. Prune And Clean The Leaves
Dead leaves should be regularly removed to encourage a bushier and healthier plant. Pinching off brown or yellow leaves will stimulate new growth.
Also, dust and dirt on the leaves might reduce the absorption of light and attract diseases and insects. A good habit is to wipe the leaves routinely with a soft cotton cloth. It sounds like a minor issue, but if neglected, it can affect your plant's overall health. Use lukewarm water and mild liquid soap to clean the top and undersides of the leaves.
7. Make Sure You Are Fertilizing Properly
Fertilizing your plant regularly is extremely important, and will ensure your plant is getting the nutrients it needs. Lack of fertilizer will lead to pale leaves and slow growth.
If you forgot to feed, let three empty eggshells sit overnight in a couple of cups of water (multiply the amounts as needed). Then, the next day, use the eggshell water when it’s time to water the plants.
Every plant has different feeding needs. Some plants, such as orchids, require fertilizers specially formulated for their needs. Be sure to follow the specific feed requirement of your plant, as over-fertilizing can kill it.
If you have overfed your plant, flush the plant a few times to wash away any excess salts from the soil. Fertilizers contain salts, which can obstruct the flow of water into the roots.
8. Increase Humidity Levels
The majority of plants like humidity, while home environments are generally dry.
You can also place the plant in a well-lit bathroom, or cluster your houseplants together; this will raise the humidity levels around them.
9. Avoid 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.
10. Make Sure You Are Using The Right Soil And Pot
You should choose the soil according to your plant's needs.
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. You can make your own mixture or choose a high quality, organic soil mix.
Also, you want to place your plant in a pot of the right size. Small plants placed in a big container will suffer, and large plants in small planters won't have enough space to grow.
The material is important as well. For example, 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. If you have doubts, this article will help you choose the right pot for your houseplant.
11. Choose The Right Location
If you have tried everything, but your plant is still having issues, you might need to change its environment.
Firstly, it's important not to abruptly move the plant, as this can stress it even more. Make small changes and observe how your plant reacts.
Start from the exposure. Plants indeed 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.
If your plant looks lean and pale, try moving the plant to a brighter area and see if it has a positive effect on future growth. On the other hand, if your plant develops faded scorched spots, you'll need to choose a shadier spot and cut off dead and damaged leaves.
Also, your plant should never be too close to air conditioning vents or high-speed fans. Avoid placing the plants near fireplace, radiators, and hot or cold air vents.
Make sure your plant is not exposed to cold drafts and leaves are not touching cold windows. Chilled wind can freeze plants: always keep the windows closed on cold nights.
12. Repot The Plant
The last step you can try is repotting your plant with fresh soil.
Generally, you want to repot your plant only when it needs it (every 1 or 2 years). Repotting is a stressful procedure for plants, and shouldn't be done too often, but can bring your plant back to life if the situation looks desperate.
On the other hand, 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. 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.
If you decide to repot your plant, find a new container that has more room for the roots to grow: usually, 1.5 times the actual size works fine. Make sure to remove any damaged roots before repotting, and check for bugs, or you will end up carrying the gnats into the new soil.