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Troubleshooting Indoor plants

Troubleshooting Indoor plants

If you are having trouble with your indoor plants you have joined a fairly large community. Getting the right conditions isn’t easy so let's have a rundown of common problems 

Soil too dry, plant dies.

This process won't take long if you are away for a week. The plant will tell you that it is under stress if you are observant- leaves take on a lighter green colour and wilt. Tips brown off and become crispy and reflect what is happening to the roots. Watch for dry soil surface and water immediately. Keep in mind that soils will be moist further down the soil profile. Generally speaking most indoor plants like the top inch layer to dry out before watering, so if it's dry to touch, your plant needs a drink. Our Sustee Watering Checker can help you out with this is you're finding it a little tricky. 

Soil too wet, plant drowns.

Plant roots absorb CO2 through soil pore space but if it’s too wet then this function fails. Signs to look for are leaf tips brown and often mushy, dark soil surface. Hold back on more water until the soil dries out a little overwatering is much more common and equally as harmful as underwatering, so make sure your excess water can freely run out of the plant's soil out through the holes of your pot (we can't stress enough how important it is to have a pot with a hole in it, or a self-watering pot).

It does not follow that a little fertiliser is good so more is better.

Use fertiliser sparingly to maintain somewhere between maintenance and a luxuriant appearance. Use low nitrogen sources, use a little and often rather than a big load twice a year. And fertilise your houseplants only during the growing season's. Your plant will slow down the growing process during the wintertime. 

"Don’t assume because the plant looks unwell you need to give it a big dose of fertiliser. In fact, you can do more harm than good. Too much fertiliser is just as bad as too little and if your soil is the wrong Ph levels then you could be only wasting time." Read more about fertiliser here

Indoor plant

How much light will my plant need?

This is the hardest one to master. All houseplants need some form of natural light to survive, yet each one likes different amounts (fuss pots I know right) depending on their natural environment. So when you're selecting that one particular houseplant be sure to measure how much natural light it will receive in that area and making sure the light won't cause reflection from the window to frizzle your foliage. The closer you put your plant to the window the lighter it will get, so shade lovers to the back and sun lovers to the front.

If you're looking for plants and stuck on what to choose we have our pre-selected mixed packs of plants for all types of spaces.

If your plant is drooping, sending out pale leaves or shedding leaves altogether it may need some more light. Move it to the light a little and wipe down the leaves to clear the dust - he needs to breathe in the fresh air too.

Too much sun will leave soil that is baked, cause the plant's leaves to curl or turn crisp, bleached or leave brown spots/tips on the edge of the foliage. This is someone telling you - perhaps less direct sunlight and move him to the back a little.

Pests and diseases can destroy your efforts really quickly.

A sheltered environment means that there will be few predators to keep sucking pests in check. The first sign will be masses of white crawling pests roaming around the leaves (mealy bugs) or small shells especially under the leaves (scale insects). Avoid chemical control inside your home, take the plant outside and try less toxic solutions like wiping off pests, painting with rubbing alcohol or spraying with botanical oils like eco-neem oil. Follow up a week later. For leaf spot and fungal infections use wettable sulphur to manufacturer’s instructions. Wettable Sulphur is very low toxicity. If you tend to overwater your plants you may notice small black fly's, about 3-4 mm in length hanging around your soil mix, known as fungal gnats ok let's talk fungal gnats then shall we?

Soil media can be the issue.

Always best to buy premium potting mixes when repotting that are pH adjusted, are correctly aged and have good nutrient levels.

Indoor plants have many pleasing attributes so their addition to any space is a worthwhile ambition. Get good advice regarding species from your online nursery, place it in a well-lit position and be observant to get the best outcome.


An indoor plant in a wooden pot sitting on the ground near a window
If you want to learn more about growing healthy plants check out our quick guide to caring for your indoor plants.


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