Houseplants are great additions to any space—whether it be a dorm room, home office, bathroom, or bedroom. They help cleanse the air, add a natural pop of colour, and instill confidence as you watch them flourish.
But what happens when they start wilting? You’re left wondering why and feeling like a failure. I mean, it’s a plant, right? How hard can this be, right?
Many people opt for plants over pets because they simply don’t have the time, space, money, or landlord approval to do otherwise. They pick a random plant in an adorably overpriced pot and bring it home like no big deal. They put it somewhere without much thought and try to remember to water and feed at appropriate times…but there are some common traps people fall into with this mentality.
I should know. I’ve had to compost more than my fair share of houseplants.
Houseplants are living things that need the proper conditions to grow. They need a safe space, good nutrition, and access to at least some sunlight. With these things in mind, let’s take a look at the common reasons why your houseplants aren’t happy so you can do differently and watch them thrive.
1. You choose for looks, not compatibility
This is also a common problem in the dating world, but let’s stayed focused here, shall we? Many of us fall into the issue of seeing a cute plant and falling in love without considering compatibility.
Compatibility is basically looking at what you have and comparing it against what the plant needs to thrive.
Some matches just aren’t a good fit.
This issue comes up a lot with succulents. We’re told these are easy-to-grow and low-maintenance, so we think they can succeed anywhere—including basements that lack light.
Check your plant’s info card before falling for it to make sure you have the right environment.
2. You don’t repot them
I always recommend buying the next size-up container when you initially purchase your plant so you don’t forget your plant will need to be repotted at some point. What point? When the roots are growing around themselves in the pot or growing out from the drainage holes.
You want your roots to have room to spread out and soak up the soil’s nutrients. If they are tangled around each other and struggling for space, your plant’s growth will be severely limited and it’s only a matter of time before it calls it quits.
It’s best to check your plant when you first bring it home. Many garden shops plant in small containers for efficiency reasons, but this doesn’t mean it’s in the plant’s best interest. You may need to repot right away, or down the road a few months.
3. You either care too much or too little
At various times in my life, I’ve fallen into both these categories. I’ve been the person who wants success so badly that she overwaters, moves the plant around too much, and even
Take it easy, eh?
Check your soil before watering. If it’s dry two inches deep, water. If not, leave it alone. Seriously.
Avoid moving plants to newly-decided “perfect” spots when they’ve grown accustomed to one area’s environment in your home. If you do need to change locations for whatever reason, transition the plant with a few minutes here and there rather than a full hard stop.
And remember, if all else fails—try again!
Cover image credit: Pixabay