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Home » Serial Killer: Why Your Houseplants Always Die

Serial Killer: Why Your Houseplants Always Die

by Elyssa Goins
This article was fact checked.
Helpful: 100%
dead plant

Have you been deemed the plant killer in your home?

Unfortunately, it might not be just a stream of bad luck. You could actually be killing your houseplants without realizing it.

Many people make these mistakes without noticing the damage that it does to their plants.

Then one day you wake up, and your plant is dead.

So, what happened?

Let’s go over some of the most common mistakes people make when taking care of their plants.

dying plant leaves drop

The Problem: Inadequate Sunlight

Yes, we all know that plants need light to survive.

We learned about photosynthesis in elementary school and understand that light is vitally important to the
overall health of your plant.

But did you know that there is a proper amount of sunlight for each plant?

Some houseplants like the shade. Too much sunlight can damage the plant! A lot of people don’t realize this as
they put their shade-loving plants in place with direct sunlight for hours out of the day.

Make sure you know what kind of plant you’re getting and the amount of sunlight that it will thrive in.

Of course, the opposite may be true as well.

You might be putting a sun-loving plant in a place that looks beautiful but doesn’t receive enough direct

Putting a plant in a dark corner to brighten it up is not a good idea, although it might look aesthetically

Regularly sold houseplants usually come with a care guide that you can follow to make sure you’re taking good
care of your plant.

The instructions will usually give tips about watering and what kind of sunlight the plant requires.

Plants that don’t receive enough sunlight are usually flimsy or floppy. They may be growing new leaves, but the
leaves may be yellow or unhealthy looking.

This is a key sign that your plant isn’t getting enough sunlight.

Fortunately, this is a very easy fix.

The Solution

This is the easiest solution in the world:

Move your plant to a location with more sunlight! ☀️

Move your plant out of the darkness and onto a windowsill or a window with plenty of direct sunlight throughout
the day.

Make sure your blinds are open too. Putting a plant in a window sill with the blinds closed will not be very
helpful at all.

Once you move your plant to a spot with more sunlight, try not to move it again for a while. A plant grows new
leaves that face the sunlight to absorb as much as possible.

If you move the plant around a lot, the leaves will continuously have to readjust and move to absorb more
sunlight. This creates more stress on the plant.

The Problem: Bad Watering Practices

You water your houseplant every single day. You haven’t missed a day in 2 weeks!

So why is your houseplant still yellow?

You’re overwatering your plant.

Yes, plants need water to live, but do you know what else they need?


Yes, much like people plants need water AND air to live.

Too much water causes the plant to drown, and the roots will begin to rot. You might think that watering your plant
every day is going to keep your plant nice and healthy. However, you might actually be killing it.

The opposite of overwatering can also be killing your plant: underwatering.

If you notice your plant looks worse for the wear and you realize that it’s been two weeks since you last
watered it, you can bet your plant is really thirsty.

The facebook page for this site (here)
is a useful place to keep up to date with what’s new going on at HPE- and to join or read discussions.

wipe down

The Solution

Despite what some people might think, it’s not bad to let your soil get dry every once in a while. The soil
doesn’t need to be moist at all times.

Thoroughly watering your plant then letting the soil dry out before you water it next will actually encourage
stronger roots and prevent root rot.

Your plant’s roots will get stronger by adapting to dry soil instead of being accustomed to constantly wet
soil, which might prevent the growth of deep roots.

Don’t be afraid to stick your finger in your plant’s soil to check the moisture levels. You won’t do any damage
by doing so.

Just because the soil feels dry on top, doesn’t mean you need to rewater the plant. Stick your finger in the

If there is moisture 25% of the way down in the pot, you don’t need to rewater yet. Wait a couple of days and
check again.

The Problem: Forgetful Gardeners

You just walked into the kitchen and saw the plant you got three weeks ago…

It doesn’t look good.

Believe it or not, forgetting about a houseplant is a pretty common reason why houseplants die. A lot of plant
owners are excited about their new plant but put them in a place that they aren’t seen every day.

Putting your plant in a place you’ll forget about might result in a lack of sunlight and a lack of water.

The worst part?
It won’t be in a place where people can see it!

The Solution

Put your plant where you will see it every day.

Not in a dark corner, not somewhere where you rarely go, but somewhere you spend a lot of time.

This will ensure that your plant doesn’t get forgotten!

It also means that people will be able to admire your plant when it starts to take off and grow really well.

Again, this is a simple solution that is very easy to fix.

The Problem: Not Repotting Your Plant

This is a problem that is often overlooked. Water and sunlight are usually the first things that someone looks
at when their plant looks worse for the wear.

The pot that your plant came in is fine for a little while. However, as the plant grows, it will need more room
and more nutrients.

One of the signs that your plant might need to be repotted is that the plant will suddenly look worse for the
wear even though it’s been healthy for quite some time.

You probably haven’t changed anything like moving the plant or changing your watering schedule, but the plant
continues to look unhealthy.

The problem is that as a new plant grows, it gets bigger. A small pot does not give the plant the room it needs
to grow.

The plant becomes cramped without ample room to spread its roots.

Get this: Soil
can run out of nutrition to offer the plant.

The plant is constantly using the nutrients within the soil to grow, so what happens when the soil runs out
of nutrients to give?

The plant starts to die.

The Solution

Find a bigger pot to transfer your plant to. This will give your plant the extra room it needs to be able to
stretch its legs, so to speak.

Your plant will once again flourish.

However, don’t just get a bigger pot and fill it with the same soil as the previous pot.

Get new soil with plenty of fresh nutrients for your plant!

This will feed the plant for a while, so you won’t have to worry about repotting for another year or so.

You should start to notice your plant coming back to life. 🌱

The Problem: A Rookie in the Endzone

If you’re a novice to plant care, don’t start out with a plant that’s picky about its light and water

Many houseplants require a lot of attention with specific amounts of water, frequency of watering, and specific
hours of sunlight and shade.

Stay away from these plants if you don’t want to invest the time and effort it takes to make the plant thrive!

Starting out with a complicated plant is basically just setting yourself up for failure.

If you have a plant that fails the first time you try your hand at plant care, you might start to think that
any plant you take care of will eventually die.

Don’t let yourself think this!

You may have just picked a plant that’s a little out of your league.

You will probably have much more success with a plant that is better suited to your needs.

plant spray

The Solution

🕵🏻 Do your research or look at the care guide on the plant and make sure that the plant will be manageable
your level of expertise.

If you’re unsure about a plant, ask an employee at your local gardening store. They will be able to tell you
the kind of care that a specific plant requires.

You can then make an educated decision about the kind of plant you want to take home.

Just because you are a novice doesn’t mean you can’t take a chance and get a higher maintenance plant!

If you think you will be able to provide the plant with the proper care it needs, go for it!

Just don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

These are just some of the most common reasons why your houseplants might not be thriving.

Of course, there are other, more complicated reasons that might be affecting your plants as well.

Go through this list and try fixing these simple problems before you get into anything too complicated.

You might just be surprised at how simple it is to get your plant healthy again.

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