Do you ever look at the plants displayed in nurseries, glowing in shades of green and maroon, and your first instinct is to get these beauties to brighten up your home? If yes, you are not alone. Most of us fall for the sight of fresh plants, purchase them and bring them home! They bloom for a while, and you make damn sure they remain healthy. And what then? Somehow, all these plants dry and die, or so you think! Do you ever wonder why this happens to most of your plants? Well, there has to be something you’re missing out on! Read on to find how you can save your dying plants.
How to Save Your Dying Plants
If your plants are dying despite all your efforts, then maybe there are a few things that you are doing wrong. Check out this list to find out what’s causing your plant to die, and how you can stop it.
1. Stop Over-watering
It is a known fact that plants need water to survive. But what you also should know is that too much of anything is harmful to plants – even water! Most plants don’t grow in the dormant seasons, especially during winters, which is when it is okay to under-water. When you over-water a plant, water accumulates in the soil and does not drain out. This excess water keeps the soil moist throughout the day which eventually causes the roots to rot. Also, too much water paves the way for fungus and mould to grow around freely in the pot, thus affecting the quality of soil and the overall growth rate of the plant. Therefore, it is essential to water wisely!
2. Check Humidity Levels
Humidity can be your plant’s worst enemy – both too much of it and too little of it. In the case of lower levels of humidity outside, the amount of heat inside the houseplant increases, causing it to die faster. Dry winter air is the worst- it causes the plants to crisp and shed their leaves, and soon, you are left with nothing but dead leaves on a dry stalk. The solution: check humidity levels in the environment of the plant. If it happens to be less, then change the location of your plant. More importantly, ensure that you keep your plants away from heaters, radiators, vents and air-conditioners. Misting can be helpful if done regularly, but as soon as it dries, your plant will move back to square one.
3. Consider Re-potting
Just like humans, plants have the will to grow, provided they are given enough space along with the right stimulus. When well-fed, plants tend to bloom beautifully in their pot. But soon enough, they outgrow the pot and experience something similar to suffocation! It is often referred to as ‘uninspired growth’. If you notice water seeping out of the holes of the pot as soon as you water it, or your plant appears to look more prominent than the pot, then take the hint – it is time to transplant! Move it into a bigger pot, add in some fresh soil and fertiliser, and give it some breathing space to bloom!
4. Trim Dead Leaves & Branches
Many times, a plant looks dead and rotten on the outside, but it need not be so on the inside. Irrespective of whether the air is too dry or you constantly forget to water the plant, if the leaves look dull and black, don’t assume that it is dead. Trim the dead leaves and branches and give your plants some space to regrow. While trimming the branches, make sure you check the colour of the stem. If the centre of the stem appears to be green, then stop cutting right there. If it is green on the inside, it proves that there is potential for growth.
5. Check for Sunlight
Certain houseplants can survive in minimum light, while others need access to strong sunlight regularly. Based on the type of plant, it is essential to understand its light requirement. If the leaves of your plant look pale and wrinkled, then take the hint – your plant needs more light. On the other hand, if the leaves look burnt, crisp or dead, then you should probably shift the pot to an area of minimum brightness. In some cases, artificial light can also be used to keep plants happy and healthy. Light from bright bulbs like CFL and LED can suffice the growth needs of a plant to quite some extent.
It can be heart-breaking to see a healthy, green plant covered with tiny white/yellow patches all over. Most of these bugs look like white cotton balls, and despite all your efforts, they refuse to give up! If you see these plant-killers covering your plants like snow, then act immediately. However, it would be unwise to spray the plant with insecticides, as these chemicals have the potential to cause some severe damage to the plant itself. What you must do is rinse the plant with warm water, and gently wipe the leaves on which you see these bugs. Don’t forget to clean the undersides of the leaves until you get every bug off the plant. Then, gently spray an organic horticultural spray. Don’t be surprised when you see these bugs again – they multiply overnight. Just keep repeating this process, and soon enough, you will see results. Meanwhile, isolate the infected plant as it can infect others too!
7. Add Nutrients (Or stop!)
Fertilisers and minerals are essential to boost the growth of plants and to keep their soil well-nourished. But again, too much of something can be harmful. When you purchase a plant, go through the trouble of researching about it – the type of soil, its nutrient and water requirements. The best way is to ask the vendor because he has been taking care of the plant so far. Once you know the plant’s needs, make sure you feed it according to your learning. Over-nourishing the soil can be quite harmful to the plant, and under-nourishing will gradually kill it. It’s best to stick to organic fertilisers and use them in proportion to prolong the lifespan of your plant.
8. Change its Location
If nothing else works, you can give this a try. If your plant has “seen” just one corner of your house for as long as you can remember, do it a favour and move it around the house. Keep changing its location after a few months and watch it bloom. Sometimes, improving the environment can have a severe impact on the growth of the plant- it can be both good and bad. What you must understand is that plants experience kind of a ‘shock’ when they are relocated from an area of extreme light to a dull, shady spot. So when you move the plant, make sure you move it to a place that has the same amount of light and temperature as the previous one.
You might think that your plant is dead, but it’s NOT! As mentioned earlier, they might look dead on the outside, but give them some time. In the right environment, they will grow back to their original self. Worry not if you don’t have a green thumb! Keep these points in mind so that you know exactly what to do when you see a dull, shrunken plant.