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15 common mistakes that will kill your houseplants

Houseplants are great and beneficial. They are decorative, they make the house look beautiful and pleasant. They are healthy. They purify the air we are breathing at night which helps us sleep better. Besides, most of the houseplants are low maintenance and easy to grow. However, there are some quite common mistakes that will kill your houseplants. You have to be aware of them in order to avoid them. Therefore, we included these common mistakes in this article. Go ahead and see if you know them all.

  1. Overwatering

This is the most common mistake that leads to the death of houseplants. Most of the people often water their houseplants too much. Overwatering kills any container plant. It is the main cause of root rot and fungal diseases. Besides, it also makes the soil quality poor.

  • If you want to avoid overwatering, don’t water your plants until the top inch of the soil is dry or you can simply use one of these decorative self-watering containers.

2. Poor Drainage

Containers without an adequate drainage will make soil retain moisture which leads to root rot. Therefore, make sure the pot that you are planning on planting your houseplant in has adequate drainage holes. Drainage is essential for your plants to grow healthy.

3. Too much or too little light

Many houseplants die because they are either exposed too much to sunlight or they are not exposed to sunlight at all. There are two main types of houseplants, the first requires access to direct sunlight, the second requires a shady spot to grow. Therefore, make sure that you know the growth requirement of your houseplants beforehand.

4. Lack of fertilization

When you don’t fertilize properly your plants, they will grow weak developing plea leaves. Although they are not heavy feeders, houseplants require regular fertilization. All the plants grown in containers require to be fertilized regularly to get the nutrients they need.

  • Houseplants’ need of fertilizers is different. Make sure to apply the right dose according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

5. Over-fertilizing is not the solution

This is another common mistake committed by many people. Just like little fertilizing, too much fertilizing is also a problem. Fertilizers contain salt that will be absorbed by the plants’ roots. If you fertilize too much, the salt will lead to Browning leaf tips, yellowing and wilting lower leaves, and defoliation.

  • If you suspect that your houseplants are overfertilized, you need to wash the salt out of the soil by applying fresh tap water.

6. Underestimating the pests

There are a lot of pests that may attack your houseplants such as Mealybugs, Spider Mites, Aphids, Fungus gnats, and Scales. Undermining these pests is one of the common mistakes that will kill your houseplants. They are notorious and harmful.

  • You should always check out your plants for pests. Try to remove them once you spot them.

7. Reusing old potting soil

When reusing a potting soil many times, it loses its nutrients, thus it becomes a really poor quality soil that is not fit to grow anything especially houseplants. Therefore it is best to avoid using old soil.

8. Not using the right kind of water

We usually use tap water to water our plants. No one buys bottled water for them. Most of us do not know that tap water is alkaline and it contains salt. These two will make the soil quality poor and it will harm your plants. They cause the change in the color of the leaves from green to brown and fall which is a sign of reduces growth. Moreover, a lot of tap water can be toxic to your houseplants since it contains chlorine.

  • You can clean the tap water from the salt easily. All you need to do is to fill a bucket with tap water; leave the water their for at least 24 hours, then you will notice that the salt is settled down in the bottom of the water. Leave the bottom two inches of water and use the rest to water your plants. The bottom two inches are filled with chlorine and salt.

9. Pot bound houseplant and not re-potting

Repotting your houseplants when they grow is essential for them to survive. When your plants stop growing or they start growing very slowly, that is an indication that they need repotting. Repotting should be done either in the spring or in the summer.

10. Poor air circulation and lack of humidity

This is another major factor that causes the death of houseplants. A poor air circulation helps the pests to spread and makes it easier for fungal diseases to affect your plants. The lack of humidity has the same drastic effects. Therefore, if your indoor is not humid enough, you should seriously consider using a humidifier.

11. Dirt on Houseplant Leaves

Most people think that the accumulation of dirt on the plant’s leaves is totally normal and harmless. That is very wrong. It so harmless that can kill your plants. Accumulated dirt will deprive your plants of absorbing the sunlight which is fatal for some plants. Besides, dirty plants attract pests, insects, and diseases.

  • Clean your plants’ leaves regularly using a soft cotton cloth. Cleaning the leaves regularly kills many diseases such as Spider mites and Mealybugs.
  • One of the best solution to clean your plants is the mixture of baking soda in one-liter water.

12. Improper Winter Care and Cold Drafts

During the winter with the fall of temperature degrees, your plants may require additional care. Temperature degrees below 50-55 F (10-13 C) will seriously harm your plants and may kill them. Therefore, you should take some precautionary measures such as keeping your plants away from cold windows and cold drafts.

13. Plants exposed to heat

Although most plants love the warmth and require exposure to sunlight, excessive exposure is very harmful especially if you live in a hot climate. Make you sure that you place your plants in a location where they don’t face direct sunlight.

14. Neglect

Neglection your plants is not logical. Why would people buy houseplants if they are not going to care for them? There are many ways of neglect but the most common one is underwatering. Some people forget to water their plants for weeks if not months. This will eventually lead to their death.

15. Lack of knowledge

If you don’t have enough knowledge about the plants you are planning on growing, it highly likely that your fail growing them. Each houseplant has specific requirements you should be aware of. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you do a deep background reading about the houseplant you want to grow.

These are the most common mistakes that will kill your houseplants. Avoid these mistakes and your houseplants will survive for years.

Now you know how not to kill your houseplants, it would be nice to know which houseplants are the most decorative, you can find them in this article.

Have fun taking care of your houseplants.


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