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plant care plant problems remedies

5 Common Plant Problems – PLUS Causes & Remedies!

So, There's Something Wrong with Your Plant...

Your typically happy and healthy plant is suddenly dropping leaves in the middle of its growing season – what could it be? I’ve compiled a list of potential and common plant problems PLUS causes and remedies to help nurse your plant back to health. Pictures are included at the bottom to help you identify your particular plant ailment.

Causes and Potential Remedies – Pests & Diseases

Some common plant problems are caused by specific pests, which require specific remedies to manage and deter infestations from spreading. Others can be caused by certain diseases, which can be cured using non-chemical methods, as some of these common plant problems can be resolved by changing your plant’s watering habits or by replanting the plant in fresh soil. Nevertheless, there are some chemical solutions used.

I have compiled a list of resources from the Clemson Cooperative Extension Home & Garden Information Center about the treatments used in this post. Organic chemical solutions are still considered highly toxic to humans and animals. However, less toxic, non-chemical insecticides do exist, including insecticidal soaps and neem oil.

Note: When applying particular remedies, make sure the plant has been thoroughly watered and follow the label’s directions. Some houseplants – including jade plant and certain palms – are sensitive to insecticidal soap. Always spot test before treating the entire plant. In some cases, treatment will have to be repeated multiple times.

Common Plant Problems

1. Leaf Drop
  • Causes: 1) Over- or under-watering; 2) Significant drops in temperature; 3) Being severely root-bound; 4) Certain pest infestations; 5) Certain diseases
    • Note: Significant environmental change can cause leaf drop; however, this should last a maximum of 3 weeks
    • If after 3 weeks your plant continues to drop leaves, try some of the following remedies
  • Remedies:
    1. Change watering regimen accordingly
    2. Increase room temperature or bring the plant inside
    3. Repot the plant into a larger pot
    4. Treat for specific pest infestation or disease
2. Brown Leaf Tips & Edges
  • Causes: 1) Over- or under-watering; 2) Exposure to bright sun and/or hot, dry air; 3) Certain pest infestations; 4) Salt accumulation
    • White or grey crusty deposits on the soil surface can be a sign of salt build-up
  • Remedies: Prune leaf tips and…
      1. Change watering regimen accordingly
      2. Relocate plant away from direct sunlight and into indirect or filtered sunlight
      3. Treat for specific pest infestation
      4. Remove salt deposits and add a layer of fresh soil
    • Lix’s Tip: Wait 1 to 2 weeks for a healthier looking plant; if your plant shows no signs of improvement, repot with new, fresh soil
3. Wilting
  • Causes: 1) Over- or under-watering; 2) Root rot; 3) Being severely root-bound; 4) Over-fertilizing; 5) Salt accumulation
  • Remedies:
    1. Change watering regimen accordingly
    2. Treat root rot
    3. Repot plant in fresh soil
      • By the time you notice this common plant problem, fresh soil will save the plant’s root system from the damages that fertilizer or salt deposits that accumulated in the old soil can cause
4. Yellowing of Entire Plant
  • Causes: 1) Over-watering; 2) Too little light; 3) Under-fertilizing; 4) Certain pest infestations
  • Remedies:
    1. Change watering regimen accordingly
    2. Relocate plant to a sunnier location, like a windowsill
    3. Change your fertilizing regimen
    4. Treat for specific pest infestation
5. Lopsided Growth or “Stretching”
  • Causes: 1) Too little light; 2) Under-fertilizing
  • Remedies:
    1. Relocate plant to a sunnier location, like a windowsill
      • Make sure that all sides of your plant receive equal amounts of light
      • Lix’s Tip: When I notice that one of my plants is “stretching,” I rotate that plant 90 degrees every day so that all sides receive equal amounts of sunlight!
    2. Change fertilizing regimen accordingly

Images of Common Plant Problems

Need help diagnosing your plant problems? Comment below or send me your plant’s symptoms and a picture!