Keep Your House Plant from Dying: Common Mistakes to Avoid

by | Last updated Mar 27, 2022

house plants

Since everyone is limited to the spaces inside their homes, many people have adopted indoor plants to bring nature closer to them. As a result, many people have become first-time plant parents. You might think caring for a plant is easy, but you’d be surprised by the number of dumbfounded plant parents mourning the death of their plant child.

This scenario happens so often because some plant parents get a bit carried away when showering their plants with some TLC. If you’re a first-time plant parent, you might want to read up on the general rules on taking care of plants. You’d be surprised that some of them don’t need as much attention as you’d think.

To get you started, here are some common mistakes most people make when caring for their indoor plants:

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Overwatering Your Plants

The easiest way to kill a plant is to drown it in water. Yes, plants can drown. Depending on the kind you own, it may only need water once every two weeks. Like cacti and pothos, some plants can go a whole month with barely a drizzle of water.

If your plants look a little wilted and yellow with almost mushy-looking bases, that’s a definite sign you’re overwatering your plant. A good way to tell if your plant needs water is to stick your finger about an inch into the soil. If it feels damp, keep the watering can away. Your plant is fine.

Giving Too Much Fertilizer

Giving a plant too much fertilizer is about the equivalent of giving a kid way too much food every meal. The thing is, plants are supposed to get their main nutrients from their soil, the sun, and the water. Fertilizer is only meant to supplement a plant’s growth.

If you give your plants too much fertilizer, you risk burning them with the high content of salts that most fertilizers have. It can cause chemical burns and dehydration, making their foliage look brown and crispy. As a rule of thumb, fertilize your plants once a month at most and, at the very least, once as the seasons change.

Repotting Too Often

Another popular cause of death in plants is when people repot them too often. Just like humans, plants can get stressed. It happens when they go through a traumatic experience like repotting because you’re essentially ripping it out of its home and exposing it to the elements. You’re only supposed to place your plant into a new pot if its roots look overcrowded or if it seems like your plant isn’t growing anymore. 

When you do this, you’re supposed to wait at least a month before you even think of repotting it again, but at this point, that shouldn’t even be necessary. After repotting, the best thing to do is to set your plant in a safe place where it can get enough nutrients, leaving it alone to settle down.

Final Thoughts

It can be easy to get overly enthusiastic about plants, especially if you’re a first-time owner. They’re beautiful, lush, and can boost a room’s vibe. However, plants are only as good as how you take care of them, which is why it’s important not to suffocate them with your love. Stay calm and cool, and give your indoor plants enough room to do their thing and grow on their own.

If you need more tips and tricks regarding indoor plants and proper care, check out Houseplant Advisor’s other content. We produce helpful articles on how to be the best plant parent you can be.

Shelbi Clifford

Shelbi Clifford

Hi, I'm Shelbi! I am the founder of Houseplant Advisor - a blog for all things houseplants. Whether you are looking to add some green to your home or want to learn about how plants can help improve air quality in your space, Houseplant Advisor is here with the answers. Do you have any questions? Feel free to reach out and ask me anything!

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