Are you wondering why your houseplants decline and oftentimes die after caring for them? Learn the secret to keeping houseplants alive with this simple tip!
While we could chat about a number of ways to keeping houseplants alive, there is one BIG thing we do wrong without even realizing it.
Did you know that the number one houseplant killer is over-watering?
Rethinking how we water our plants will save a lot of heartaches when a houseplant succumbs to pest and disease problems.
It is so important not to allow plants to sit in soggy roots.
Because soggy roots promote pest and disease problems.
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Why Are My Indoor Plants Dying?
The biggest reason indoor plants die is from overwatering them.
It’s a common mistake that is very easy to fix. So don’t sweat it if this has happened to you.
It’s happened to the best of us at some point or another in our gardening lives so now, we learn from what we are doing wrong.
So we need to reframe our thinking to change our approach to houseplant care.
Keeping Your Houseplants Alive by Watering the Right Way
In general, and I do mean “in general,” water houseplants roughly 1x per week.
But this type of watering schedule may not work for all plants so don’t set that timing in stone.
It’s important to understand when a plant does not need to be watered.
NOTE: If you have succulents or cacti, water 1x a month or less. These plants typically thrive on neglect.
For my cacti and succulents like aloe vera, cacti, etc., I don’t water them much at all and almost leave them alone.
Why We Mistakenly Over-Water
Most people water because the soil looks dry or it’s that day of the week when they are scheduled to water.
The problem with both of these methods is that the soil where the roots are may not actually be dry.
And if the soil is not really dry, then plant roots sit in a wet soggy mess that promotes pest and disease problems.
So just because the top layer of soil looks dry doesn’t mean it is. And, the plant may not “need” to be watered on the scheduled watering day.
How Does Soil Retain Water and Still Look Dry?
Wet soil is very similar to a sponge.
If you soak a sponge and hold it upright, water collects at the bottom while the top dries out.
Thus, the soil surface may look and feel dry, but may not be dry where the roots are located.
How to Determine Whether Houseplants NEED to be Watered
While I mentioned having a scheduled watering day could be harmful to plants, it is good to plan one so that watering is on your radar.
So choose a day of the week when you want to water.
Then check each plant using the cake batter test.
- use a finger, plastic knife, popsicle stick or something similar.
- insert it in to the soil about an inch down
- if the tester comes out clean, it’s time to water
- if the tester comes out with some wet soil, do not water yet
- Re-check using the same process in another day or two if the tester comes out with some wet soil.
I know this sounds like a task but you will get to know your plants and their watering needs after a few weeks.
Pro-Tip for New Plants: It’s a good idea to use the cake batter test for the first few weeks of care so you get to know the plant and its watering requirements.
This Chinese Evergreen could wait another day or so to get watered.
The knife came out somewhat clean but there was some damp soil on it.
I’ll check it again in another day or so.
How Do You Treat a Sick Houseplant?
If you notice some decline in your houseplants, start by cleaning the plant from dust and debris.
Remove any and all dead growth so the plant doesn’t waste any energy into them.
Get rid of any mold you see too.
It’s a good idea to completely repot the plant and give it a fresh start in new potting soil in a clean container.
To clean your container, use 9 parts water to 1 part bleach and clean the container well.
If leaves are yellowing, the plant can be stressed from the following:
- poor drainage
- too much light
Once the plant is repotted in a fresh container, keep it in a location where it can rebound and don’t overwater it!
And follow my tips for reviving houseplants after they decline.
Can You Bring a Houseplant Back to Life?
I always say if the plant still has some green foliage and stem, there’s a good chance you can save it.
Take a look at the roots and see if the roots are white.
You can revive plants using these tips.
More Houseplant Care Tips and Tricks
- 7 Simple Ways to Keep Your Houseplants Alive
- How to Revive Plants to Save Them
- How to Style Your Houseplants
- Monstera Plants and Why You Should Grow One
- Propagating Pothos Plant
- 7 Easy Indoor Gardening Ideas for Beginners
- What You Need to Know About Easy Care Houseplants that Purify the Air
- The Secret to Keeping Houseplants Alive
- How to Propagate Pothos Plant
- Have a Green Thumb With These Indoor Gardening Ideas
- Christmas Cactus Care
- Dividing an Aloe Plant
- Amaryllis Care
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