There have been a few times I’ve woken up and headed to check on my plants when I’m hit with some kind of disaster. A yellow leaf, wilted stems, or my biggest enemy… brown leaf tips. I try my hardest to keep a plant happy and healthy, so it feels unacceptable to see evidence that I’m failing.

However, plants can be finicky and much like humans will have flaws from time to time. Plant issues can be caused by a few different things, including water/light care, disease, and pests. The good news is that your plant will tell you what is happening to it based off of what you see is physically wrong. That will translate to the cause of the problem!

Yellow Leaves: This can actually be a good thing! If you have a leaf or two that turns yellow and falls off, it’s just the plant keeping itself healthy. When you find that you have quite a few yellow leaves that are dying on your stem, you are likely looking at over or under watering. Check how the soil feels, and compare that to what is recommended for the plant. Try adding or removing a day or two of watering from your weekly schedule.

Curled Leaves: Curled leaves happen when a plant is too hot. Moving this plant further away from a window or to a cooler spot in the house will help bring it back to full health.

Wilted Leaves and Stems: While this can be a symptom of over or under watering, it’s also a symptom of the plant being root-bound. Replant into a pot that is at least twice the size of its current pot to give the roots the room it needs to absorb water.

No Flowers: When a flowering plant won’t grow any flowers, it likely means it’s missing sun! A lot of these plants will grow its greenery in lower light without issue but need the extra sun for flowering. Moving them closer to a window or a sunnier room will help their growth.

Brown Leaf Tips: Another symptom of over or under watering, brown leaf tips can also be caused by dry air and high temperatures. For plants that require high humidity, add wet pebbles to their drip tray. This helps keep the roots and soil wet and the plant happy. If the plant is feeling too hot, try moving it to a cooler room and upping the watering to help keep it cool.

Working on these issues with various plants has helped me become a better plant owner. I understand what spots in my apartment are too hot, what overwatering actually looks like, and when to just let a plant take care of itself. Don’t be too intimidated if a plant looks sickly! I’ve had plenty come back from near death that are now thriving. So make small adjustments and give it a week or so to see how the plant responds, and keep going from there.

Until next time!

Mercedes Simonion