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Keep your houseplants looking their best

Updated on August 24, 2017
Put just enough water in the tray to cover the pebbles, place plant pot in tray, thereby providing plant humidity.
Put just enough water in the tray to cover the pebbles, place plant pot in tray, thereby providing plant humidity. | Source

Unfavorable condition

Houseplants growing in unfavorable condition can cause diseases that while not contagious can make your plants look like they are dying. Leaves that are spotted and scorched are caused by low humidity. If leaves fall off prematurely it could be caused by taking the plant from a cold, moist air atmosphere; like a greenhouse, to dry, hot air. Both problems can be solved by placing plants in a tray that is layered with pebbles or perlite or by placing a humidifier in the room your plants call home that evaporates a gallon of water per day.

Burning up

To much sun, either by leaving your houseplants outside in the blazing sun or next to a window that has all day hot sun can bring about a condition called sun scald, leaving your plants looking burned or scorched. Gases, either from a near by manufacturing plant or from a leaking stove or gas heater due to pilot light or other malfunction can cause houseplants to look dry and yellowing with leaves dropping off.

The right size container with the proper set of holes in the bottom so excess water can easily run off.
The right size container with the proper set of holes in the bottom so excess water can easily run off. | Source
A good quality watering tray is a good investment if you have a lot of plants.
A good quality watering tray is a good investment if you have a lot of plants. | Source

Watch the watering

Most plant problems are caused by improper watering. Like did you know that houseplants only need water every 7 to 10 days in winter months? Soggy soil, poor drainage and/or stale water sitting in the saucer can leave your plants weaken and a target for the first disease that comes along. Care should be taken to make sure houseplants are in the right size container with the proper set of holes in the bottom so excess water can easily run off if you water from the top. The best way to water is to place your houseplants in a three to four inch high edge tray or saucer that is filled with water; this bottom up watering allows you to thoroughly and slowly water several plant at the same time, adding water if needed; you can tell when it has enough water when the top dirt looks moist at which point the plant can be returned to its original location. Do not let the plant sit in the water tray longer then is needed. As each plant has different water needs, timing the watering of your plants could be a weekly or monthly.

Fresh Air

This type of pot adds a decorative touch.
This type of pot adds a decorative touch. | Source
Problem is there are no holes in bottom for excess water to drain.  One solution is to find a potted plant to put into the decorative pot.
Problem is there are no holes in bottom for excess water to drain. One solution is to find a potted plant to put into the decorative pot. | Source
Another solution is to cover the bottom with a good layer of pebbles so that excess water has someplace to go.  If this method is used be very careful not to over water, which can rot your plant.
Another solution is to cover the bottom with a good layer of pebbles so that excess water has someplace to go. If this method is used be very careful not to over water, which can rot your plant. | Source
Source

Too fertile ground causes harm

Houseplants need to be fertilized every now and then but too much can hurt your plants. Fertilizers contain water soluble salts that are left behind when water evaporates, sometimes this is evident by crusting on top of your soil, but more often not, it will leave you wondering why your plants is dead. Other possible evidence of excess salts from over fertilizing are stunted growth, wilting and yellowing of foliage, leaf tip browning or browning along the margins. Ways of preventing this excess salt condition is to use caution when fertilizing, follow fertilizing instructions and after four applications flush the soil with plain fresh water.

Cleaning is also important

That coating of dust that’s building up on your houseplants leaves and soil can do great harm to your plants by blocking light and making it difficult for a plant to get needed energy. The smallest amount of pollution can retard growth, cause browning around the leaf edges and tips, splotches, speckling and even cause leaf drop. Rinse small plants in the sink or tub with lukewarm water; wipe leaves of larger plants with a damp cloth.

© 2013 galine

Comments

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    • galine profile imageAUTHOR

      galine 

      5 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for your comments. Guess to other "o" took a little vacation :) Thanks. Over-watering is the leading reason for plant die-off.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      Very good information. I just learned to control my winter overwatering and have a Christmas cactus that has been blooming for four months and still has new buds! It seems no matter how old we are we can learn new things and this hub is great for that!

      (Minor typo..."to fertile ground" heading...too

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

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