Solving the Most Common Indoor Plant Problems

Happy Life Plants

Understanding the Most Common Indoor Plant Problems

Identifying and solving the most common indoor plant problems by understanding the signs of a problem

Even the most experienced plant parent encounters problems with their indoor plant that they have to work to solve. Plants are marvellously giving but also can be finicky living things. Luckily they will show you when they are unhappy...

Read on to learn how to identify and solve the most common indoor plant problems, experienced by plant parents alike, by understanding the signs of the different problems and how they show themselves on your indoor plants.

Including solutions to the problems based on what has caused them.

THE MOST COMMON

INDOOR PLANT PROBLEMS:

Yellowing Leaves Throughout Your Plant

The causes of yellowing leaves throughout your indoor plant:

  • Could be from watering too much or too little.¬†
  • Could be because your plant isn't getting enough light. Consult our product pages or the care card that we give when ordering a happy plant from us, for the light requirements of your specific plant. Move your plant to a brighter space.
  • Could be root rot.

It is natural for older leaves to turn yellow and drop off your plant. By doing this every now and then, your plant is making room for new growth. Simply cut these leaves off at the base of the stem so that the resources can go to new leaves.

Yellowing of many leaves rapidly however, is a sign of a problem.

yellowing leaves throughout your indoor plant

Firstly, do the soil test that we recommend. Stick your finger deep into the soil and feel for moisture or moist soil in your plant pot. If soggy soil remains on your finger when you pull it out, then the soil is very wet and you have probably over watered (watered too often). If you stick your finger into the soil and it is very tough to penetrate and dry leaving no soil on your finger when you pull it out, then you have under watered (not watering often enough).

This tests simply helps you to determine if the soil is presenting itself as healthy or unhealthy, and shows you if you are keeping to a good watering routine or not.

Very wet soil throughout means that you are watering too much - this means that you are watering your plant too often and not allowing to soil to dry out sufficiently before watering again. This can cause root rot. If this is the case, remove the plant from it's pot and examine the roots. Mushy, brown/yellow roots indicates root rot and means that you have over watered your plant and/or there is not enough drainage in the pot. 

checking the roots of your indoor plant for root rot

If you also see some firm whiteish brown roots (this indicates that the plant is still somewhat healthy), stop watering and then simply let your plant dry out completely before watering it again - this may take up to a month, depending on the size of the pot. 

If you only see mushy brown roots, you can try to repot your plant into a new pot with fresh soil. With no sign of healthy roots your plant may not survive, but its worth a try to clean off the roots, and repot your plant with fresh soil and a new watering routine.

If you stick your finger into to soil of your plant and it is completely dry throughout and the soil is separating from the pot around the sides, then you have under watered your indoor plant - this means that you do not water often enough or that you do not pour enough water to saturate all the soil. Water your plant immediately and then allow it to sit in a shallow tray or bucket of water for about half an hour so that it can soak up the water from the bottom and saturate the soil. 

After identifying the signs of Yellowing leaves throughout your indoor plant and understanding the cause, do as we recommend and then adjust your watering routine accordingly to ensure that this problem does not happen again. Read our watering blog to understand how to water well and to keep your indoor plants healthy.

Yellow Leaves at the Bottom of Your Plant

The causes of yellowing leaves at the bottom of your indoor plant:

  • Could be old leaves dying off. Cut off these leaves at the base of the stem.
  • Could mean that your plant needs to be fertilised. If many leaves turn yellow at a rapid rate, then fertilise your plant with a liquid plant food every 2 weeks.¬†

Remember, it is natural for older leaves to turn yellow and drop off your plant. If this is happening every now and then and only one leaf at a time, simply cut the leaf off at the base of the stem so that the resources can go to new and healthy leaves.

Yellow Leaves with Brown Spots

The cause of yellow leaves with brown spots on your indoor plant:

  • Sun burn.¬†Your plant could be getting too much direct sunlight. Consult our product pages or the care card that we give you when ordering a happy plant from us, for the light requirements of your specific plant. Move your plant to a¬†lower light space.

Yellow/Brown Edges on the Leaves

The cause of yellow edges on the leaves of your indoor plant:

  • Intolerance to the tap water you are using to water your plant.

yellow and brown edges

Many plants have an intolerance to the chemicals that are found in our tap water and will get yellow edges with some browning on the leaf edges as a result of watering with this 'hard' water.

Try to use a 'soft' water like distilled, filtered or rain water to water your indoor plants. If you don't have access to this, fill your watering can with tap water and leave it over night for the chemicals to evaporate before watering your indoor plants.

Brown Tips and Edges on the Leaves

The cause of brown tips on the leaves of your indoor plant:

  • Not enough humidity.¬†
  • Or could be from not watering often enough.

brown edges on your indoor plant

Some indoor plants need to live in a humid environment in order to thrive best. Luckily, there are many ways that you can increase humidity if you see that your indoor plant is getting brown tips on the edges of its leaves.

You can mist the leaves of your indoor plants with water every few days (or according to the guidelines in our care card or product page) using a spray bottle or mister, in order to increase the moisture in the air around your indoor plants.

Grouping all your plants together in one space, close to each other, can also increase humidity - plus it looks awesome too.

Or, if you have a plant that really is happiest in a very humid environment and the space you choose has dry air or aircons/heaters running. You can create a pebble tray for your indoor plant by placing small pebbles on a saucer, filling the saucer with water and then placing your plant pot on top of the pebbles.

If it is caused by under watering - check our "Yellowing Leaves Throughout Your Plant" above for how to test the soil and rectify this problem by increasing how often you water your indoor plant. You can cut off the brown edges or the entire damaged leaf if you prefer - this also allows the resources to go to the production new and healthy leaves.

Read more about the Basics of Indoor Plants like humidity and watering on our blog.

    Wilting Plant / Leaves Drooping

    The causes of your indoor plant wilting or having drooping leaves:

    • Could be from watering too much or too little.¬†

    It is more likely that a wilting plant is caused by not enough water. 

    Once again, we recommend doing the soil test - stick your finger deep into the soil and test the moisture or dryness of the soil in your plant pot - to determine if the soil is too wet or too dry. Adjust your watering routine accordingly - water more often if you have watered too little and water less often if you have been watering too much.

    wilting indoor plant

      Dropping Leaves

      The causes of your indoor plant dropping its leaves:

      • Could be plant shock.¬†A change of environment, or a new home could cause your plant to go into shock. Give your plant time to adjust to its new space and this should improve.
      • Could be¬†a sign of an inconsistent watering routine (either too much or too little). Determine a consistent weekly watering routine according to your plants needs, that you can maintain and water your plants well. Take your plants to a basin, bath or onto grass and pour water all over the soil until it drains out the holes at the bottom of the pot. Allow the pot to drip dry and return it to its home after a few minutes.

      Lopsided and/or Skew Growth

      The cause of your indoor plant growing skew or lopsided:

      • Your plant is reaching for more light. Move your plant to a brighter space. Or keep rotating¬†your plant every week so that every side gets exposed to the brightest light in its current place.

      Observation is Key

      Once you understand what the signs are of the most common indoor plant problems, you can then use this information to determine the cause, adjust your care routine and solve the problem!

      Read more about observing plant problems HERE

      Read this detailed guide to checking your plants in order to determine the cause of leaf colour change HERE

      Remedy Your Indoor Plant

      Yellowing leaves and brown leaves or brown leaf tips on indoor plants can often be caused by many problems, and it can be difficult to determine the exact cause of your leaf changes - which can then prevent you from understanding how you can solve the problem. Use our tips and tricks above to assess every aspect of your care routine to try and determine what the exact cause is. Adjust your care routine or the plants positioning accordingly. And be observant of the changes that occur in your plant that will show you if you have made the correct changes or not.

      Read more about the different causes of brown leaves and how to solve these problems HERE

      You can also read more about the different causes of yellowing leaves and how to solve these problems HERE

      Don’t be afraid to remove brown, yellow or damaged leaves from your houseplant. Or to trim away brown or yellow edges when you have corrected your care routine and your plant is on the mend.

      Removing leaves that have problems, only allows the resources and energy that you put into rectifying the cause of your plant problem to go to new healthy growth!

      We also encourage you to read our blog post about Becoming The Plant Parent you Want to Be to understand the basics of indoor plants. This will set you on an enjoyable journey of being a plant parent, and developing the right habits and routines to keep your plants happy and to help you to grow happy plants!