Photo courtesy Baton Rouge Succulent Company

Nine signs your houseplant needs a little extra love

Adding layers of greenery to the inside of your home helps to incorporate details like texture, color and brightness to even the most cramped or dark spaces. And while not everyone turns out to be the perfect plant parent, with the help of Rozlan Fransen of Baton Rouge Succulent Company, we’re on our way to earning our green thumbs. She narrowed down nine common signs that indicate a plant needs a little extra love and care. Read on for all of her insight and tips for keeping your plants alive.

1. Droopy leaves

If your houseplant is looking a little sad, chances are it just needs a drink of water. “When the plant is well-watered, the cell structure is fully allowing the leaves to stand up straight,” explains Fransen. “When it has used the stored water from its stems and leaves, it deflates and makes the plant droop.”

2. Yellow leaves

This sign can make things a bit confusing for plant parents, as it can mean you’re either overwatering or underwatering. Lucky for us, there are several solutions for both. When it comes to overwatering, Fransen says, “Make sure the pot has a drain hole or isn’t sitting in a tray of water. If it’s draining properly, cut the frequency of watering, giving it time to dry out in between.” She even suggests placing your plant on cardboard or paper towels to help absorb some of the water in your pot.

Still, Fransen finds that yellow leaves are actually more common with the issue of underwatering. The quick and easy solution? “Give it a good drink and it should perk up. Pluck off the yellow leaf and it won’t come back.”

3. Leaves dropping

Not to be confused with droopy leaves, Fransen says that when a plant sheds its leaves, it’s usually because there isn’t enough water to feed everything.

4. New growth is smaller than before

“In houseplants, when the new leaves are smaller or have less defined holes,” Fransen says, “it means they don’t have enough light to make a bigger leaf.” If we need healthy doses of vitamin D, then surely our houseplants do, too.

5. Dull, green foliage

When you notice your plant is beginning to look dull or desaturated, chances are it needs a new pot. To fix this problem, Fransen says that fresh soil and fertilizer should help to brighten it up again.

6. Lack of new growth

This is another key sign that your plant needs more nutrients. “It may be because the plant is root-bound and needs a larger pot with fresh soil and fertilizer, or that it is not getting enough light and cannot efficiently photosynthesize,” Fransen explains. You should be giving your houseplants fresh, new homes and soil about every two years.

7. Mushy stem and dropping leaves

This is a combination of signs that mean your plant has root rot. According to Fransen, “When the roots of the plant stay wet for too long, they can rot, which happens below the surface of the soil where we can’t see it. By the time the stem is soft or dark brown to black, the roots have died, thus cutting off the exposed part of the plant from any water or nutrients.”

8. Brown or black patches on leaves

Like people, our houseplants can get sunburns, too, which can happen when the wrong plant is placed in direct sunlight. Even if you only place it there for a small amount of time, Fransen says that the sun can still burn the plant’s leaves.

9. Tiny spider webs and other specks

If your houseplant seems to be hosting tiny spider webs, white cotton-like puffs or even red to black specks, your plant has likely become home to pests. “Treat the plant with an insecticide,” says Fransen. “Be sure to spray the foliage generously and wipe away any visible bugs that you see. Also, saturate the soil with it as well.”

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