Gardening: Is Your Kindness Killing Your Plants?

overwatering underwatering plants

Watering the right amount at the right time is essential to your plants’ well-being. Plants have a way of communicating to us through the color of their leaves when they receive too much or too little water. Find out if your kindness is killing them.

Yellow leaves?

Brown leaves?

Dried tips?

Water – check. Repotted soil – check.

Ample sunlight – check. No pests  – check.

A quick look at the checklist says everything’s taken care of.  So, what’s killing them?

Sometimes you wish there was a plant doctor who could diagnose what’s wrong with the plants, don’t you? I definitely do. But, you learn some invaluable lessons over time by observation.

It’s easy to step over the fine line between caring for plants and overdoing it. As Stephanie Donaldson says, our kindness can prove fatal for houseplants. Over-watering or lack of water are the most common reasons for healthy houseplants dying with a couple of weeks after being brought from the nursery.

HOW TO IDENTIFY OVER-WATERING:

Look at the images below.

Drowning plant

Drowning plant

If your plants look anything like this, then it is an indication of overwatering. Take a closer look at the leaves. Towards the bottom of the plant, close to its roots, the leaves have turned yellow, and the plant is bent outside.

 

Yellow and wilting leaves

Yellow and wilting leaves

Leaves bent outside

Leaves bent outside

HOW TO SAVE PLANTS THAT GOT TOO MUCH WATER

The immediate question that pops to one mind is if you can save  the plants? Yes and no. Yes, if you notice the first few yellow leaves at the bottom and stop watering for a while giving the plant enough time to recoup and get back to its healthy state. If you continue with the same watering pattern as before, it will give away sooner than later.

Move it to a sunny spot and let the water dry. ensure the drainage holes are not blocked. If they are, then repot the plant after placing some pebbles at the bottom.

The plant cannot be rescued if it has already lost more than 50% of its leaves before you start taking action. This will often result in root rotting. I’ve found it’s always easier to rescue a under-watered plant than a over-watered one.

ARE YOUR PLANTS RECEIVING LESS WATER?

If the leaves turn brown towards the top of the plant and wither, it indicates the plant is dying for lack of moisture  and needs to be watered more frequently. Always, dip your finger on the surface of the pot to gauge the moistness. If it feels dry, you need to water it. Excess water will come out through the drain holes. On the other hand, if the surface is cracking, it means it’s been a while you paid attention to the greens in your balcony.