PLANT CARE FAQ'S
The first step in keeping and caring for indoor plants is understanding how they communicate their needs. Removed from their natural environment, houseplants depend on you to provide the optimal light, water, humidity, and temperature to support their growth and keep them thriving. A lot of factors play into how and why a plant grows and thrives. Don’t be discouraged if your plant doesn’t look as vibrant or healthy once you bring it home — re-creating the ideal environment for houseplants can be laborious, tricky, and frustrating. Any sudden or drastic change in environment will often result in a time of “plant hardship” … consider this an adjustment period - it’s normal ! We’ve compiled some common issues and indicators below to help you determine what is going on with your plant. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for you may want to contact our Plant Doctor!
COMMON SIGNS OF SUFFERING:
Your plant is dehydrated - water promptly, preferably with room temperature water. If the plant is excessively droopy, you may want to soak its roots for an hour.. most plants will bounce back after a good soak ! If the soil is moist, yet the leaves are still droopy - it is time to repot. This a sign that moisture is not moving appropriately through the soil and the roots are not able to absorb the water.
Leaves typically yellow as a response to an inconsistency in watering. You maybe over-watered your plant, or let it dry out too much in between waterings. Always remove yellow leaves as you see them. If the plant continues to yellow and drop leaves, it may be time to repot - the soil is likely not holding moisture appropriately for your plant.
These could be older leaves falling off the plant - that is totally normal! Yellowing leaves at the base of a plant can also indicate nutrient deficiency - it may need fertilizer or repotting. It's best to do this between March and September, or whenever temperatures are consistently over 55 degrees in your area. You never want to repot a plant when it is dormant or struggling through winter as this can cause it even more stress.
This is most likely sun damage. Most indoor tropical houseplants prefer indirect + soft/filtered sunlight; too much direct sun can cause "sunburn" and leaf discoloration. If soft brown spots are forming in the middle of the leaves, your plant may be sick. See below for details on brown spots.
When soft brown to black spots appear on leaves, this is typically a sign of fungal, viral, or bacterial disease. If you catch this early on, you can likely save the plant ! Disease most often affects plants when they are under stress or experiencing undesirable growing conditions.
Its important that you isolate your plant while it is healing - in the case that the disease is viral and contagious (yep - just like humans), you want to ensure it doesn’t spread to your other indoor plants. Remove affected leaves or areas of the plant and repot with fresh soil, ensuring adequate aeration for the root system. When repotting, always clean out the pot ! You can use diluted white vinegar to kill any residual bacteria. Keep the plant isolated for about 2 weeks to see if new evidence of disease appears before re-introducing it into spaces with your other plants.
This is generally a sign of lack of humidity. Take note of the air/heat vents in your home and be sure to move your plants away from them. A few easy ways to increase humidity:
• Use a humidifier ! They work wonders in the wintertime and in particularly drafty spaces
• Create a pebble tray: fill a dish with a thin layer of pebbles or stones, and keep them evenly moist. Place your plant directly on top of the tray.
• Group your plants together to increase transpiration between their leaves (tip: after grouping, mist in the center of the plants to create a central well of humid air to feed your plants)
• Mist your plants frequently ! When misting, think more so about misting the air around them than actually wetting their leaves — the idea is to increase moisture in the air.
Plants regularly shed older leaves in order to put energy into new growth - this is normal ! It's totally okay for a plant to rid itself of older leaves from time to time in order to concentrate energy on new growth! If you've ever had a draceana, you may have noticed they like to drop their bottom leaves regularly as they grow taller and become more "tree-like". Totally normal. Some types of plants - like ficus - will often shed up to 20% of their leaves during the dry/winter season in order to retain moisture. No need to be alarmed, they will fill out with leaves again come spring.
If your plant is shedding rapidly and/or suddenly, it is likely a result of some sort of shock. You may have recently relocated or transplanted your plant into a new pot. Perhaps you accidentally underwatered your plant and in effort to "save it" you gave it a TON of water all the sudden (common mistake). A drastic change in a plant's environment, watering schedule, temperature, light conditions, humidity levels, etc. will often send it in to shock and result in a loss of leaves. Give your plant some time to adjust, get it back into a regular watering schedule, and refrain from making any more sudden changes. It should regulate and begin to grow new leaves again soon :)