Common Reasons Why Your Houseplants are Dying

The Most Common Reasons Why Your Houseplants are Dying: Plants adapted to grow indoors are called houseplants. Exotic plants can be grown in portable containers or miniature gardens in warm, frost-free climates in colder climates. They are typical of tropical and subtropical climates. Houseplants are typically derived from plants found in the tropics and near the tropics. Those that make the best indoor subjects are the species that adjust comfortably to the relatively warm, dry conditions that generally prevail in indoor living spaces. It is indeed possible to grow the best houseplants indoors. Some plants can thrive indoors, but certain groups are generally considered the most attractive and easiest to maintain. Aroids, bromeliads, succulents (including cacti), ferns, begonias, and palms have long been favorites. However, African violets, camellias, gardenias, and geraniums (Pelargonium species) are more demanding plants.

Houseplants (Image source: pixabay)

Common Reasons Why Your Houseplants are Dying, Tips, and Ideas

Several types of house plants

  • Flowering Plants
  • Common House Plants
  • Foliage Plants
  • Easy & Low Light
  • Indoor Palm Plants
  • Cactus Plants
  • Trailing & Climbing Plants
  • Christmas
  • Bulbous Type Plants
  • Tree Type Plants
  • Office Types
  • Unusual Plants
  • Succulent Plants
  • Living Stone Types
  • Fern Type Plants
  • Large Plants
  • Hanging Basket Plants

The most common reasons houseplants die

Especially if you are new to indoor gardening, houseplants can seem to die. However, it is perhaps even more frustrating when a gardener does not understand why their beloved plant died. Fortunately, plants do not die just because they want to. Plants can be reasonably predictable, depending on their species, and the vast majority of household plant deaths result from a few factors. However, many reasons can cause houseplants to die.

Water too much: Most people make the mistake of drinking too much water, which may seem impossible, but is quite common. Very few plants can handle daily watering in a typical potting situation, even if we love tropical plants indoors. According to old advice, you should wait until the top inch of the soil is dry before planting. You can also check for signs of thirst in your plant by noticing drooping or wilting leaves. As a rule, you should never water plants before they require it.

Poor Drainage: Overwatering is the first cousin of this problem. Although watering and drainage are closely related, it is clear that poor drainage causes many plants to die. Poorly drained pots, such as those with root-bound plants or old potting soil, will hold water at the bottom of the pot, even if it’s drier on top. Consequently, water sits on roots, creating the ideal conditions for root rot to occur. Similarly, many people water their plants until the water runs out into the tray, but they don’t empty it, so the plant sits in a pond of water. Additionally, this can lead to root rot. Watering more frequently and making more mistakes with watering is feasible if your drainage is good.

Repotting not allowed: Plant owners are all too familiar with having a plant for a year or two, during which time the plant thrives and looks great, only to be startled and confused when the plant suddenly starts failing. Usually, this is caused by a root-bound plant that isn’t receiving enough nutrients from the soil (because there isn’t much). So, taking care of root-bound plants is essential, even if they don’t need to be reported every year.

Potting soil from old pots: Non-reporting is also closely linked to this issue. Most potting soils are made from peat, which breaks down over time and becomes more acidic. The plant’s root zone is more likely to starve slowly, as water and oxygen become increasingly difficult to penetrate as peat breaks down (e.g., watering schedule). In this case, the best solution would be to report when it is needed. Take cuttings if your plant is too old.

Water is insufficient: Because neglect is mostly to blame, people who fail to water their plants are probably clueless.

Fertilizer Issues: There are no issues related to light or fertilizer on this list. When you get the watering and drainage right, many plants can adapt very well. Often, plants with a healthy root zone can withstand changes in temperature, poor lighting conditions, and even less-than-ideal light conditions. Plants are a bit like houses. They require a solid foundation if they are to flourish. If you provide your plants with enough light and apply fertilizer judiciously, your plants are sure to thrive. On the other hand, if you keep killing many plants, perhaps it’s time to buy tougher houseplants and gradually work your way up to the more challenging plants.

A variety of problems can cause houseplants to die

Seeing an indoor plant die is usually the result of overwatering. If you water your container plants a lot, they will quickly die. The roots rot, suffocate, and fungus grows in the soil as a result. In addition, the leaves of a drought-stressed plant will exhibit yellowing and drooping.

Plants indoors suffer from poor drainage: A poorly drained pot can accumulate water at the bottom, causing root rot. If a container does not have a drain hole, it may be helped by placing gravel at the bottom.

Excessive or insufficient lighting: In most cases, indoor plants die because of exposure to light. Light-demanding plants gradually lose their ability to grow indoors, becoming lanky. However, direct sunlight can harm low-light houseplants. The skin turns pale and develops faded scorched spots.

Your Fertilization is inefficient: Using improper fertilizer results in pale, weak plants that grow slowly. On the other hand, it is essential to fertilize container plants because they do not receive nutrients from their surroundings.

The solution is not to overfertilize: Fertilizing too much is another problem, like fertilizing too little. A fertilizer contains salts, which prevent water from reaching the roots. As a result, it is typical for brown, yellowed, wilted, defoliated, and crusts of fertilizer to form on the soil surface after too much fertilizer has been applied.

Pests are not to be underestimated: Mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, fungus gnats, and scales are the most common pests attacking houseplants. A houseplant infested with these pests looks dull and unhealthy. Controlled indoor environments, however, do not tend to result in pest infestations.

Reuse old potting soil: Due to repeated use, the nutrients in the soil are washed away. Therefore, do not reuse potting soil over and over again. Although, soils that are not compact and hard can still be reconditioned once they are free of pathogens and insects.

Water is not being used correctly: The best way to water your houseplants is to use tap water. Generally, tap water is hard, alkaline, and salty. These salts build up on the surface of the soil to create a white crust. Over time, the leaves turn brown and begin to fall. It is also not uncommon for the plants to wilt. The chlorine in tap water can also cause toxicity.

Houseplants that can’t be reporting: Repotting is necessary when potted plants become large or crowded. When a houseplant needs repotting, it exhibits symptoms such as slow growth and quick soil drying. Therefore, repotting plants is best done in the spring and summer when they are actively growing.

Low humidity and poor air circulation: Insufficient air circulation is the primary reason why houseplants die. In addition, the plants are affected by pest infestations, rots, and fungal diseases in this condition. The leaves become brown and dry when the humidity is low.

Houseplant leaves covered in dirt: The leaves reduce photosynthesis by reducing the absorption of light. The plant appears dull as a result. Dirty leaves also attract insects and foliar diseases. Despite appearing to be a minor problem, if neglected, the plant will eventually die.

Taking care of your home in the winter and avoiding drafts: Houseplants need winter care to survive. They can die if the temperature drops below 50-55 F (10-13 C). Keep your plants away from cold drafts and keep leaves from touching cold windows. Warm-loving plants can freeze in cold winds. A hot or cold air vent is also harmful.

Plants exposed to heat: When plants receive intense direct sunlight and hot summer air (if you live in a warm climate), they are damaged. In summer, being too close to air vents and high-speed fans can be detrimental. Plants are drained of moisture and become less humid as a result. In a cold climate, avoid placing the plants near the fireplace, radiators, and heat vents.

Neglect and underwatering: Underwatering is equally harmful to your houseplants, as well as overwatering. Lack of water causes plants to wither and droop, making them unsightly. Poor care and neglect are also factors causing houseplants to die.

Your knowledge about the plant is insufficient: It might be the cause of your houseplants’ death. Research your houseplants properly.

Reasons of Houseplants Dying

Neglect causes plants to die: You sometimes forget to water your plants. All of us do. One thing to remember: most plants require water every week. Some species are tolerant of skipping a watering, while others will punish you immediately. Despite this rule, there are many exceptions. Depending on the size of your cactus, you’ll be able to go months without watering. A snake plant or Zanzibar gem needs to be watered every two weeks or so. Generally, plants want their status checked every week. The responsibility of being a plant parent does not mean you must spend all of your time cultivating your indoor garden. If you only have a handful of plants, they should only need 15 minutes of your time a week. Parents of plants often go in the opposite direction and kill them because they are too attached. Among all the tragic causes of death, over-mothering is by far the most prevalent. Plants make easy pets. If you water your plants every day, you’re overdoing it.

The improper watering of plants causes them to die

Overwatering: The most common cause of houseplant death is overwatering. Plants will photosynthesize slowly in a house because light conditions are poor compared to those in a greenhouse. Consequently, when you water continuously, the leaves do not have a chance to absorb water. It can easily cause root rot, mold, yellowed leaves, or bacteria.

Underwatering: The other option is to underwater your plants – either by not watering enough or skipping a watering, referring to a third of the water in the plant’s pot. It is a reasonable estimate (but you should always confirm the fact by researching your plant). For example, one of my fiddle leaf fig trees is five feet high, and I water it every seven to ten days. Then I fill a wine bottle with water and pour the whole thing in the soil – sometimes more if it’s been mainly sunny or dry.

No drainage hole in a pot: There is no drainage hole with plants in the greenhouse. The pots are plastic growers with multiple drainage holes on the bottom. These pots are considered bad for plants, and people place their plants in decorative pots (without drainage holes) when they get home. After watering pots without drainage, the water cannot escape. Root oxygenation is reduced, and root health is reduced if this potting method is used. Keep your pot with a drainage hole if you are not a pro. For example, the plastic grower’s pots my plants came in. I keep them in for a while and then place them inside decorative pots.

Watering the plants blindly: I realize I told you most plants need water every two to three weeks. You must check the soil before listening to anyone, including me. It’s assumed that you have perfect lighting when reading care instructions. Plants absorb soil moisture based on the amount of light they receive. Before giving it a meal, you must check its moisture content. In the case of dry soil after your last watering, it may not be ready for more and may have gotten overwatered. Plants do not like being saturated with water for a prolonged period. Depending on their needs, some plants prefer to stay moist or dry at all times. The best rule of thumb Tests the soil’s moisture with your finger.

Coldwater: Coldwater is best for plants. Tap water that is too cold can shock the roots. The night before, you need to fill up the watering cans.

Insufficient saturating of the soil: To keep the air flowing in the soil and around the roots and flush out any chemical or bacteria build-ups, water the soil evenly. Water the plant from the top, pouring the water over every square inch slowly. You can also put your pot inside a giant bowl filled with water if your pot has a drainage hole (which it should). Plants absorb water from the pot’s bottom through holes. You should dump any remaining water from the vessel after an hour to avoid having the roots sitting in water for a long time.

Light deprivation leads to plants dying: Unless you have a low-light plant, most plants require direct or bright indirect light. The light source is not obscured by anything. It’s probably in a south- or west-facing window and the plants get full sun (6 hours of direct sunlight per day). Tropical plants usually prefer bright indirect light. There is light in the room, but it is filtered so that the plants receive only filtered light. In greenhouses, for example, sheer fabric is used to cover the roof to protect tropical plants.A dark room with a plant that requires bright, indirect light will never be conducive to growth. Although plants make beautiful design items, you shouldn’t let your interior sensibilities dictate where plants go. For example, you like how the succulent looks on your end table, but you think it should go on a window sill instead. The only compromise is that you need to replace the plants every few months unless you want to do so.

By avoiding mistakes, your indoor plants will never die again

In case if you miss this: How To Grow Plants In Hydroponics.

Indoor Succulents
Indoor Succulents (Pic source: pixabay)

A location that is not suitable for the plant: Plants have specific needs, do’s, and don’t dos. Ignoring those needs can lead to severe problems. The best place to learn about them is from a florist, a book, or online (see our website). Plants with their placement indoors or outdoors are

concrete. You will undoubtedly kill them sooner or later if you place them at the wrong place, quickly or slowly. Due to this reason, most plants that grow indoors die. Therefore, it is essential to read what a plant needs before looking for a place for it. Shade, indirect light, or direct sunlight are necessary for some plants, while others need moisture. Keep plants shaded if they need more moisture. Unless this is done, the soil will dry out, which will cause the plant to die.

Changing locations back and forth: Plants adjust to their environment, whether kept indoors or outdoors for some time. They can, however, have difficulty adapting quickly to new conditions when they move frequently. As a result, your houseplant grows slower if you move it frequently.

Wrong soil: The key is in the soil. Among the most critical aspects of growing plants indoors is soil. The best potting mix for your plants is a soilless one. A high-quality, organic soil mix is also available for purchase or can be made yourself.  It is essential to buy or make soil that matches the needs of the plants you are growing. For example, many plants thrive in moist soil, whereas others, such as succulents and cacti, require light, fast-draining soil with high sand and peat content to prevent root rot.

Overwatering: The common mistake with container gardening is that even the experienced gardener makes it. Unfortunately, people who are new to growing plants do this. They think giving the plant more water will keep it healthy and make it grow faster. However, a different situation exists indoors when the sun is scarce and there is no wind. Keeping plants on the drier side is a good idea, but if the plant you are growing is a moisture-loving plant, keep the soil slightly moist. It is recommended that you research your plant’s watering requirements. Another critical factor that determines the wagering requirements is the climate in which the crop is grown. Generally, indoor plants need to be watered once a week, although some even require less water. If you poke your finger into the soil every three days and water your plants thoroughly, you will be able to feel the health of the soil.

Excessive or insufficient light for plants: Indoor plants may need light, but plants that receive little sunlight or are sensitive to excess light are at risk of death if they receive too much light. Knowing your plants before you place them anywhere is always a good idea. Some plants require direct light for healthy growth. Providing them with full direct sunlight will damage or kill them.

A high-temperature environment: A plant that likes indoor conditions and unvarying temperatures is an indoor plant. Some people prefer high or low room temperatures over average. For example, a daytime temperature of 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-24 degrees Celsius) or somewhere close is the best temperature for indoor plants, whereas a nighttime temperature of 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. A constant and moderate temperature promotes healthy growth in houseplants.

Keeping the roots bound: Keeping a houseplant in the same pot for an extended period can lead to it becoming bound to the pot. In optimum conditions (if the plant is not slow-growing), plants outgrow the pot within two years. Repotting the plant should be done if you notice the leaves turning yellow or see the roots bursting. A lack of space and freshness makes it difficult for plants to grow healthy. A housewarming gift is usually a tiny spot, but usually, it is placed in a larger container afterward.

Plants are neglected: Plants are often forgotten after they are planted. A consequence of it is underwatering. Almost all indoor plants die because their owners ignore them. Thus, missing to prune, no regular fertilization, and not noticing plants with pests or diseases. It must all be avoided.

There was no cleaning of the leaves: How often should houseplant leaves be cleaned? Yeah, that’s right. You should clean the leaves of your houseplants for two reasons. They look more attractive first of all. Second, they become healthy as a result. Houseplants are already dark inside, and dust accumulates on their foliage, blocking direct or indirect sunlight and reducing their ability to photosynthesize. The plant becomes weak and stressed as a consequence.

Tips for saving dying houseplants

  • Water the plants when the soil is dry enough. To determine the moisture level, poke your finger about an inch or two inch.
  • Make sure the pots you use have proper drainage holes before planting. If you use non-draining containers, then you should water accurately and with care. When growing a new plant, make sure you research its needs thoroughly. In indirect light, some houseplants will thrive.
  • Fertilize plants as needed, following the package instructions. Use a lot of tap water to wash the salts from the soil to reduce the effects of overfertilization. After a couple of days, repeat this process. Always check for insects and pests before purchasing a new plant. You can detect pest infestation early by watching your plants. By handpicking, you can remove pests in the early stages. It is also possible to spray a mild insecticide on the plants or prune out infected parts.
  • Please make sure the tap water has sat in your bucket for 24 hours before you pour it into your watering can or another container. Keep the bottom two inches of water, which contains collected salts. The chlorine will evaporate this way, and the salts will settle down to the bottom.
  • Observe for roots in the drain holes or on the top. You can increase the humidity of plants by misting them regularly. You can learn how to make your houseplants more humid here.
  • Use a soft cotton cloth to wipe the leaves regularly. To remove the spots, wash the leaves with lukewarm water and mild liquid soap, paying attention to the undersides. A spider mite and a mealybug are commonly found on the leaf underside. The leaves are also prevented by cleaning them frequently.
  • Plants need protection from cold nights, so keep the windows closed. Likewise, keep them away from heaters and cold drafts in winter.
  • You might want to move your indoor plant if facing direct intense sunlight or living under a vent. Summertime is an excellent time to increase watering.
  • Check the moisture level by sticking your finger 2 inches deep before watering. Keep the soil moist and avoid keeping it too dry. When you don’t have time to water or are taking a vacation, self-watering containers may be an option.
  • Some plants indeed thrive on neglect, but this doesn’t mean you should ignore them completely. Remember to water, fertilize, and prune when you forget. Before planting any new plant, always read the care instructions thoroughly.

Commonly asked questions about dying house plants 

How About This: Weed Free Gardening Tips, Ideas, and Techniques.

Spider Plant
Spider Plant (pic source: pixabay)

1. How can house plants die most of the time?

Houseplants die most often from overwatering. Plants are killed with kindness, which means water. However, if the roots of a plant are rotting due to overwatering, “watering it regularly” does little to help. Rotted roots often allow a pathogen to enter the plant, and the plant dies.

2. When should house plants be watered?

Water your houseplants every 1-3 weeks. Instead of watering your houseplants on a schedule, you should monitor them and water them when they need it. Depending on a plant’s size and type, the pot’s size and type, the humidity, temperature, and its rate of growth, the watering frequency will differ.

3. Which signs indicate a dying plant?

  • The leaves are wilting.
  • Soil not holding water.
  • The leaves are yellowing.
  • Surface roots or roots that grow through drainage holes.
  • Edges of leaves turning brown.
  • Flower buds develop, drop off, or fade shortly after opening.

4. What are the signs that a plant is underwatered?

Underwatered plants grow slowly or fail to flower if they are stunted. Stems that snap or seem especially brittle could indicate that your plant is underwater.

5. Is it possible for yellow leaves to turn green again?

Yellow leaves are unlikely to turn green again unless you catch the problem early. However, the leaves tend to be yellow when stressed, so fix them without delay if you notice any care problems. The most likely issues are overwatering and inadequate lighting, so start by fixing these. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here