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Home / Gardening

Why your houseplants keep dying and how to fix it

 Keep your plants in pots with drainage holes (Photo: Shutterstock)

I love how greenery changes the appearance of a room. Be it from hanging plants or plants on stands placed in the corner of a room, there’s something soothing about having a bit of nature indoors. This is why I was so excited when my sister offered to get me some plants. I chose my favourite, non-fussy, beginner-friendly plants and she even planted it in nice grey pots. I was very happy to finally become a plant mum.

My sister has the green thumb in the family so she gave me instructions on how to properly care for my new baby. 

You can imagine my devastation when my first plant started looking less than happy. In a few weeks it had died. Then the leaves of my second plant, the one I thought was sturdier, started drooping and didn’t look as vibrant.  When I asked my sister what I could be doing wrong, I realised that even if you choose low-maintenance houseplants, you still need to care for them in a certain way to keep them alive.

Below are reasons why your houseplants keep dying and what you can do to remedy that.

1. Too much water

Yes, you need to water your plants but you probably don’t need to water them every day. How frequently you water your plants will depend on which type of plant it is. Most succulents and cacti should be watered once in a while. A spider plant should be watered twice a week and a snake plant every 10 days.

A simple trick to help you know if you should water your plants is to stick your finger in the soil to see how moist it is. If the soil feels dry, then it’s time for some water. 

 Houseplants don't need to be watered every day (Photo: Shutterstock)

2. Too little sunlight

All plants, even house plants, need some sunlight. Plants need sunlight for photosynthesis, the process through which plants make their food. 

Keeping your plants in a corner or in a room with little to no direct sunlight can hamper this process and basically starve them. If your plant lacks enough sunlight you will notice it growing at an angle most likely towards the source of light. It’ll also be rather tall with few leaves. 

Place house plants in a room which has direct sunlight to ensure that they get enough light. If you’d like to put them in a darker room, get an artificial grow light.

3. Insufficient drainage

I love plant pots. They are made in a variety of materials like plastic to clay and stone and colours to compliment any decor style. However, some plant pots don’t have drainage holes which means that your plants have poor drainage.

Insufficient drainage means that your plants can’t get rid of any excess water which can lead to root rot. Plants with root rot have yellowing leaves which eventually fall off. Their roots are also soft to the touch and might have a foul smell.

To prevent rotting, ensure that your pots have drainage holes. 

Just like each new thing that you try, caring for plants is a process. Before you become an expert, you will probably damage a few but don’t give up. Keep at it and you’ll have your own indoor jungle. 

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