The light shines on a yellowed leaf, escaping through the holes in the foliage. The soil has dried out, the flowers have stopped blooming, and the plant has given up. What happened?
Wherever you may live, be it sunny Texas or cold Alaska, you may experience wilting houseplants once in a while.
Many people across the United States invest their time and energy in houseplants. This can go to waste if their houseplants fail to grow as they expect them to.
Most issues relating to houseplant wilting stem from incorrect watering routines, harmful transportation, temperature, and pests and disease-related issues. The solution is simple. Identifying the causes and treating houseplants can lead to extended lifespans.
Why is My Houseplant Wilting?
If you want to buy a houseplant, you should invest in one. However, proceed with caution. Make sure that the kind of houseplant you buy suits your environment.
The USA is home to many different kinds of plants. You have the succulents and the tropical and sub-tropical kinds. However, houseplant wilting patterns and causes differ from one kind to another.
The only way to truly understand what your houseplant needs from you is to speak their language. Houseplants have a language of their own and ways of telling you what they need.
Plants are not stagnant. They live and breathe just like us. If something is wrong with your houseplant, it will give you some preliminary warning signs. The most common ones include:
- Crispy Brown Edges: This is the first warning sign that your houseplant is wilting. Shriveled or dropped leaves can accompany this sign. It indicates that your houseplant has been underwatered and needs urgent care. Water moves throughout the plant with a pressure that helps circulate moisture through the stems and leaves. Without extra moisture, the plant pulls water from the stem to fulfill the leaf’s requirement, which can lead to wilting.
- Poor Drainage: If your soil drains poorly, seems wet all the time, or smells rotten, these may be the early signs that your plant is wilting. These conditions rise from overwatering and can lead to fungal infections in the soil or dead roots. Without functioning roots, your plant will quickly start to wilt.
- Soil: Never over-fertilize your plants to provide extra nutrients to the soil. Your plant can only absorb a limited amount, and excess fertilizer can cause increased toxicity levels within the soil. These can damage the roots of the plant and lead to wilting.
- Temperature and Humidity: Adjusting water levels according to the temperature and humidity to a houseplant is exposed to will prevent it from wilting. Wilting can also be caused if you leave a houseplant in direct sunlight for longer than it can bear.
- Disease and Pests: These two factors can drain your plant’s strength. Spider mites or mealy bugs can suck at the water content in your plant. The plant won’t absorb the liquid no matter how much you water it.
Let’s explore all the solutions that can allow us to sidestep the causes of wilting houseplants.
Also read, Why are my house plant leaves drying up
A Guide for Watering Houseplants
If you see warning signs of houseplant drooping, it is important to nip the problem in the bud. When a plant has wilted, you can’t do much to rescue it. However, in its early stages, wilting is curable.
The first main reason behind wilting houseplants in the USA is watering patterns. Overwatering and underwatering are quite common.
To solve this issue, you must provide your plant with the water it needs. Provide your underwatered plant with water and watch the magic unfold. The plant will restore itself and start growing again.
Plants need water that can be pulled up to the leaves and throughout the stem for better growth. Without water, most plants cannot survive for long. Perhaps investing in succulents would be better if you live in a drought area.
Yellowed leaves can indicate that a plant is being overwatered. Perhaps you have just bought a houseplant and are excited to give it all the love you have. However, too much love (read: water) can cause bacteria and rot.
This is due to the stagnant water that the plant is swimming in. If it is a plant that does not grow in water, it probably does not need excessive watering.
If you have overwatered your plants and they have started to wilt, it cannot be reversed. However, if you have just watered your plants and realized that they are swimming in the water, you can drain the soil of the excess water to prevent the effects of overwatering!
Visit our “How to Water Houseplants” Guide for more instructions!
Sunlight for Houseplants: How Much is a Good Amount?
Houseplant wilting can often be linked back to overexposure to sunlight. How much sunlight is good sunlight?
Most houseplants in the USA are tropical or sub-tropical, meaning they can survive a lot of sunlight. However, it is up to you to figure out your houseplant type.
If we still haven’t answered your question, “why is my houseplant wilting” this may be the reason you are looking for.
Plants need adjusted routines depending on the temperature. Watering needs to be adjusted accordingly. A great way to check the water requirement is to dip a finger into the pot and check the soil for wetness.
Increased sunlight can scorch the leaves of a plant and deplete its moisture levels. This is what causes wilting. Try to remove your plants from direct sunlight and replenish their moisture levels.
Excessive cold can also cause harm to a plant, its foliage, and its roots. Try to move your plant away from the cold (move it inside if it is outside on a snowy day).
Also read, Why Is My House Plant Dying
Common Houseplant Diseases
Here are some common diseases that cause houseplant wilting and solutions that can help you rescue your houseplant.
- Rot: Rot can damage both the stem and the root. This is mostly caused by overwatering. Avoiding this practice can lead to healthier houseplants.
- Fungal Infection: These can be caused by different kinds of fungi. A common way of treating a fungal infection is to remove the leaves with the fungus. In extreme cases, fungal sprays may be used to treat the problem. This includes Anthracnose, White, Gray, and Sooty Mold or other diseases.
- Viral Infection: If your plants seem to grow abnormally and are weirdly colored, they may be infected. Try to purchase plants from trusted sources and ensure that the mother plant has no infection. Moreover, nip a pest issue in the bud and prevent the infection from spreading by removing the affected plant from your home.
Speaking of pests, many issues that cause wilting in houseplants can be caused by insects or bugs that eat away the nutrients of said plant. Let’s discuss some solutions that can be applied to this cause.
How to Deal with Houseplant Pests
Houseplant drooping can be a direct result of houseplant pests. These insects or bugs can suck away the sap within a plant, depriving it of the nutrients and moisture it needs to survive.
No matter how much you water plants with a pest infection, they can never grow unless you solve the root problem.
Some of the different kinds of bugs that can cause harm to your plants include;
- Mealy Bugs
- Fruit Flies
- Spider Mites
The only way to solve a pest infection is to isolate the houseplant to stop the pests from spreading to others. Wash the bugs away with water till you cannot see any on the plant.
Purchasing different oils, alcohols, or other substances that can rid your plant of pests is a great short-term solution. However, try to conduct your research on which option is best for your houseplant and proceed with caution.
How to Transplant Houseplants
Often, transplanting houseplants can lead to wilting. This is because uprooting a plant from its home can cause stress.
A plant adjusts to the soil around it. It digs its roots deep into its home and gets used to the environment that it grows in. However, due to infections, shifting, or other causes, you may need to move a plant out of its comfort zone.
Try to minimize the stress to prevent the plant from wilting too much. The roots are sensitive at this time, and a lot of shaking can lead to transplant shock. The roots may lose the strength they need to adapt to their new environment.
Try to water the plant regularly and trim any wilted leaves to help it recover in its new home. This video on repotting houseplants may help make the transition easy.
The Role of Humidity and Soil
Humidity and soil are two factors that can lead to wilted plants. A lack of humidity and bad soil conditions can cause the leaves of a plant to droop quickly. Here are some rules of thumb that should be followed.
Plants can survive in humid conditions. In fact, most plants need humidity to survive. If you live in a climate with less humidity, you can use some tips and tricks to give your plants what they need.
- Invest in a humidifier: A humidifier is a great investment for your health and your plants. If you have one at home, place your plants close to it for some time in the day.
- Use your bathroom: Place your plants in your bathroom and turn on the shower with full heat. The humidity generated can act as a personal sauna for your plants.
- Place a small bowl of water in your room: This can act as a natural humidifier if you are unwilling to invest in an artificial one.
Soil is important. It is the building block of a healthy houseplant. If you have over-fertilized your soil and are now suffering from the drawbacks, try to wash it out.
Excessive fertilizer can burn the plant. It can also weaken the roots. Try to be careful when using fertilizer in the soil.
A Secret Tip for Sick Houseplants
As we have established, the most common factor behind the wilting of a plant comes back to its moisture levels. It is hard to gauge how much water a plant needs. However, you no longer have to cross your fingers while watering your houseplants. We have a secret tip for you.
Invest in a moisture meter for your indoor plants! This way, you will always know how much water your plant needs and whether it is sufficiently watered or not. It will prevent you from overwatering or underwatering the plant.
Push the meter in and wait for the reading. Follow the instructions and try to maintain optimal moisture levels. These will prevent fungus, infections, and pest outbreaks in the long run.
You may like the following house plant articles:
- How to Care for Houseplants in Summer
- How to Care for Houseplants in Winter
- House Plants with Striped Leaves
- Why Are There Little Flies in My House Plant?
- Why Do Some Potted House Plants Have Thin Skinny Leaves?
Your answer to “why is my houseplant wilting” is hiding within the way you water your indoor plants. Deciding the kind of houseplant you have and how much you have watered it will go a long way toward houseplant health.
Try to understand the language of your houseplant. It will cry out to you when it needs water and when it doesn’t. However, you will lose out on houseplant health if you ignore patterns. Your houseplant’s life is in your hands. It is up to you to develop healthy routines that enrich it!
Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.