Why We Usually Fail To Maintain Indoor House Plants And It’s Remedies

Taking care of the plant is really tricky as you require to consider multiple variables such as lighting, temperature, watering, soil preparation, weeding and many more things. Some indoor plant with minimal space are great to create a welcoming room. But, Many of us really fail to establish and maintain indoor house plants. 

Do you have any idea what might be the reason behind such failure? There might be multiple reasons behind it. Hence, to avoid the failure; let’s explore what remedial measures (action) we could implement.

 

INTRODUCTION

Indoor plants gives mesmerizing effect to our physical as well as mental health.  Babylonian emperor “Nebuchadnezzar” build the Hanging garden of Babylon for his wife and this is believed to be the first indoor domesticated plant. Household plants are usually found to be tropics originated.

 

 

GENERAL OVERVIEW OF WHY WE FAIL TO MAINTAIN INDOOR PLANTS

  • Improper watering (Over and under watering) is the most common reason that houseplants fail to thrive.
  • Light requirement could be the problem (some species require more light and some could thrive also in low light).
  • Room temperature and humid or dry air within room could be another reason behind failure of plant establishment.
  • Random and Unplanned maintenance could also be common reason for failure.
  • Selection of wrong species- suited according to particular area. Species should be hardy and preferring low sun lights as much as possible.
  • Fungal and bacterial disease (including root-rot)– Lack of care towards this reason.

 

SOME INDOOR PLANTS, REASON FOR FAILURE AND REMEDIES

You need to know how to care for houseplants if you want to grow and maintain them successfully. Growing indoor plants successfully means providing them the best care possible. Let’s deal with some of the plant separately so that you could maintain and establish these indoor plants successfully.

1. Lady Palm (Rhapis Excelsa)

This is the slow growing palm with large, dark green fronds with blunt tips. Although this species demand little way of care; many of us fail while establishing it indoor.

Problems, causes and remedies

  • Gray foliage and burned tips: May be caused by low humidity (dry air), excessive use of fertilizers and dry soil due to lack of watering.
    • While talking about remedies, avoids fertilizers containing chlorine, fluoride and boron.
    • Make sure the soil is well drained and consistently moist (not water-logged).
    • Try to maintain temperature between between 10°-26.7°C.
  • Root-rot diseases: Root turns soggy, black or brown. Mainly caused by over-watering of plants. It could be deadly. But, if you find this problem early in its growth,
    • Could be solved by trimming the rotten roots, changing soil to well draining soil
    • Maintaining proper water amount and intervals,  
    • Moving the plant to new spot with bright light and air flowing place. 
  • Other fungal, bacterial and moisture related diseases: Anthracnose and Powdery mildew are common diseases and also caused by over-watering and damp warm areas. 
    • Can be prevented by keeping the place dry.
    • Removing leaves or branches entirely that has powdery meadows on them. They are very difficult remove without removing the entire leaf or branch.
  • Light requirement: Although they could thrive from shade to full sunlight they need good care and love.Buying them and keeping inside at the corner and leaving the plant be on its own doesn’t work. Has it been in wild it would have worked but not inside home. 
    • the plant give best results in full but indirect sunlight.
    • It is always recommended to rotate your plants outside on indirect/direct sunlight so the plant would be stress free.
    • Fresh air flow removes the fungus completely. So if the fungus is on the plant be careful there is fungus at that corner of home.
  • Dying of propagated plants: It is caused due to improper propagation.
    • Propagation is done by division. But not recommended as it hinder growth.
  • Pest control: Spider mites and Milly bugs are common. They are found under stem coverings so difficult to reach with sprays.
    • If only some gets infected pull out whole plant to prevent spreading.
    • Use natural enemies like lady bugs or mix pure Neem oil with coco-wet & apply it each 3 to 5 days.

 Healthy plant in natural habitat.

 Plant inside how with poor care.

 

2. Orchid 

Many gardeners find it very hard to establish orchid and manage its proper growth. But, i believe they lack in the most important part i.e. selection of species which make them feel that orchid is difficult to grow. 

Problems, causes and remedies

  • Change in Foliage color: Lighting can be the most common reasons behind yellowing of foliage as if orchids receive too much lights its tissues get yellowed. But less light might also develop dark spots.
    • It is better to keep in the window where light reach by shading it with sheer curtain. But not completely at the corner where very less light reaches.
  • Drying of buds: Buds dry up and die is most common problems in orchid.
    • Lack of humid and bright environment could be major reason behind this along with incorrect watering.
    • Water only once per week allowing soil to dry in between.
    • Maintain night temperature of about 10 degree C to avoid these problems. Ice cubes can be added on the pot. Couple of them will be good enough for a week in small pot that maintains temperature and water.
  • Leaves turning to mush and roots began rotting: This is caused by fungal and bacterial infection. Orchids are prominent to infection if there is high humidity level.
    • Use sterile tools to remove damaged leaves and treat plant with copper based spray.
  • Improper soil – they get nutrients from decomposing plants and leaves. In market also the orchid soil can be found. The orchid soil has good aeration on it which prevent root rot and maintain health roots.
  • Pests: Mealybugs, scales, spider mites and thrips might infects your orchid. A thorough coating of insecticidal soap is recommended to kill all of these pests.

 

Note: Proper potting is vital for success.Orchid need to be re-potted once a year. If white ovals are visible on orchid due to infection it could be toxic so, be aware of this.

 Healthy orchids transplanted in new pot with orchid mix.

 Bottom brow roots are decaying roots, green roots are fresh roots.

 

3. Umbrella tree (Cyperus alternifolius)

Despite of being easy to grow, Umbrella plant still needs to have some care and management strategies to be adopted for its success. Beaware if you have pets; these are toxic to them.

Problems, causes and remedies

  • Fungal and Bacterial Leaf spots: Black or dark brown spots indicate fungal infection while yellow spots indicate bacterial infection. It causes the leaf to fall and maximize infection spread. To prevent these it is better to remove the spotted leaves as soon as you noticed.
  • Stem and Root rot diseases: This species prefer moist soil. Over watering should be avoided as it causes stem and root rot. Pouring of excess water collected in drip tray could be its solution, if its happen accidentally.
  • Pests: Red spider mite and Scale are common pests which could be deter permanently by the procedure of making indoor atmosphere more humid.
  • Temperature management: For its successful growth and development all year round temperature between 15°C (59°F) to 21°C (70°F) is recommended. 
    • Plants need to be placed in bright light area.
  • Improper Propagation: It is good idea to use rooting hormone when propagating; but should be done with care for speeding its growth. It is not recommended until its compulsion

Note: Re-potting is recommended every 2 to 3 years when they reached maturity.

 Plant in natural habitat

 Indoor, well maintained

 Poorly maintained plant with no energy.

 

 

4. Dragon tree (Dracaena marginata)

It is a palm like trees and shrubs often used as indoor plants. Dracaena are usually tough carefree plants but may require care for achieving best results and avoiding different reasons of failure to grow.

Problems, causes and remedies

  • Dry tips and edges: Too little water or very low humidity is the reason behind it. So please be careful while watering your dragon tree.
  • Loss of leaves and root rot: Too much water and poor drainage is the main causes of sudden loss of leaves and rotting of root. Pouring of excess water collected in drip tray could be its solution, if its happen accidentally.
  • Avoid fluoride containing water and products.
  • Smaller and sickly looking leaves & scorching leaf: Less light could result in smaller, sickly looking elongated plants. Try to give them bright light as far as possible. 
  • Temperature management: The ideal temperature for this species ranges between 16-24°C.

Fresh well maintained plant

 Low light, not well maintained plant

 

5. Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

Although being low maintenance requiring hardy houseplants; it also come up with some problems and may fail to do good. It consists of light green fronds of about 20 cm long.

Problems, causes and remedies

  • Drying of leaves: Poor soil with improper watering is the major reason behind drying of leaves. Rich well drained soil is preferred. And watering is recommended only when top few inches dried out.
  • Plant and pathogen problems: They experience serious problems of scale insects, mealybugs and spider mites. Fungal and bacterial infection like fungal leaf spots and stem cankers could be found. Its better to remove that parts as soon as you notice it and re-pot it in separate place.
  • Temperature management: Indoor temperature of about 65 to 80°F is recommended with bright indirect sunlight. Make sure not to have direct high amount of light.
  • Dying up: Drying could be the result of excessive fertilizers. Fertilize every 3 to 4 weeks but don’t apply excessive fertilizers as small amount is sufficient for it.

 

GENERAL CARING AND MAINTENANCE TIPS 

There is no doubt that plants we bring home must be well maintained and taken good care. When we buy them we haven’t seen how the seller has maintained them. So its always good idea to research and get tips on how to maintain the plant before we buy.

There is no secret for maintaining healthy plant, plants must be taken very care form the following prospectives which is the most important part

  • Light source – Good bright light is the source of food for the plant. All the plants doesn’t require direct sunlight but its very important to maintain bright light for unto 8 hours for a healthy plant.
  • Temperature – Generally room temperature is enough to maintain healthy plant. Room temperature means temperature around 50F – 70F.
  • Flow of air – Most of us don’t know this fact that fresh air flow is required for the plant. But it is very important to keep the plant free from fungus and other diseases. So try maintain air flow by opening windows or ventilation.
  •  Watering conditions – Different plants has different watering preferences please google the water requirement for the specific type of plant.
  • Rotating the plantIt is highly recommended to keep the plants outside once or twice a week in good weather conditions. That will give plants extra strength and grow healthily.
  • Soil – Most of the plants need moist and well draining soil. Again the requirement for the specific care for specific pant we have to google it or ask to experts.
  • Repotting – If possible it is also recommended to repot the plant. A lot of roots start to gather at the base of pot and lack of space and nutrients make the plant unhealthy.
    • Repotting on same pot
      • Try to change the soil as far as possible and replace with new soil
      • Remove old roots, that give space to grow new roots and plant grow better.
    • Repotting in different or bigger pot
      • Just remove some soil around the root.
      • Add all new soil and just place the plant as it is in the new pot.
  • Fertilizer – Fertilizing is not of outmost priority but it is recommended once in a month or two months for indoor plants.

 

BENEFITS OF INDOOR PLANTS

  • Brighten up surrounding and lift our mood.
  • Room with indoor plants have less dust and mold than room without any foliage (reduces dust allergy).
  • Indoor plants could soak up volatile organic compounds (Toxic VOCs) and help to purify air in office or at home.
  • Add architectural or aesthetic beauty to your home or offices.
  • Regulate humidity and make us feel relaxed & calm (mental well-being).
  • Relieve from stress and increase productivity i.e. efficiency at any work.
  • They enhance therapeutic care and promotes healing too.
  • Overall they have different health related benefits too such as inducing sleep, help in digestion, aromatherapy and reducing depression.

 

 

BEST RECOMMENDED INDOOR PLANT 

  • Spider plant (Chlorophytum  Comosum)
  • Snake plant
  • ZZ plant
  • Aloe vera
  • Peace lily
  • Swiss cheese plant
  • Maidenhair fern
  • Pothos

 

 

 

 

 

Kiran ghimire

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