9 Common Mistakes That Will Kill Your Houseplants

Lovers of green plants praise both their beauty (ideal for brightening up an interior) and their benefits, especially their air-polluting properties. However, in order for these beautiful plants to embellish our interiors for a long time, they need to be pampered a little. Otherwise, they can quickly wither away! And contrary to the myth, it is not necessarily necessary to have a green thumb to keep your plants alive. Very often, basic practices are more than enough to maintain them. Friends gardeners, if you want to keep your houseplants healthy, discover the common mistakes to avoid.

Mistake #1: Putting your houseplants near a heat source

plantes d'intérieur sur le radiateur

Whether it’s a radiator or a fireplace, close proximity to a heat source can kill a non-hardy plant in a hurry. As for tropical plants, used to high heat, they do not appreciate the dry air caused by the radiator. You will therefore have to mist their foliage more often to maintain a sufficient level of humidity. Not very practical! Finally, remember that heat favors the proliferation of red spiders. For all these reasons, choose a location away from radiators for your houseplants.

Mistake #2: Watering with cold water

arroser plante arrosage arrosoir

Plants don’t appreciate thermal shocks very much and the most delicate ones could therefore quickly die. So use water at room temperature for a successful watering!

Mistake #3: Giving too much water to houseplants (or not enough!)

arroser plante arrosage arrosoir

Too much is often the enemy of good, especially when you start gardening. Also, beware of stagnant water in the cup or planter that can drown the roots and suffocate a green plant. Before getting out the watering can, always check the condition of the soil. If it is still wet, there is no need to water. On the other hand, if the surface of the soil is dry, it is time to add some water. For optimal watering, also take care of the drainage. This helps to drain the water and distribute it properly. To drain the soil well, add clay balls or perlite to the bottom of the pot.

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Mistake n°4 : A poorly chosen exposure for the plants

orchidée refleurir luminosité

Light is essential for photosynthesis. However, that doesn’t mean your houseplants need to bask in the sun all day. In fact, direct sunlight can burn their flowers and leaves! Therefore, you should generally avoid direct sunlight.

Before “adopting” a plant, do not hesitate to check the luminosity it needs. Full sun, half shade, etc. Depending on the light needed, always think about where you can put them before buying them. This way, you will never be caught off guard. For example, for orchids, a bright but veiled window will be ideal.

Mistake #5: Watering houseplants with hard or chlorinated water

chien plante

Tap water may be convenient, but it is not necessarily ideal for plants. It is indeed rich in chlorine as well as in limestone. This can kill acid-loving plants like azaleas, but also your other fragile plants. For more peace of mind, prefer to collect rainwater. It’s free and the plants love it! Otherwise, you can also use bottled water. One last tip: you can let the water in the watering can sit for two hours before using it when it is very chlorinated.

Mistake #6: Never cleaning houseplants

plante nettoyage

Dust doesn’t just accumulate on knickknacks and shelves! On plants, it can harm their photosynthesis, and therefore their health. Fortunately, there are several tips for dusting plants and removing pollution. If it is not too cold, you can put them outside during a rain, which will clean the leaves. Otherwise, a quick trip to the shower with a gentle spray will have the same effect. Finally, you can also use a microfiber cloth soaked in a few drops of beer or water with baking soda. This will clean and shine those beautiful green leaves in no time!

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Mistake #7: Exposing them to drafts

plante araignée parmi les plantes dépolluantes à avoir

Whether it is in the entrance or in the high traffic areas, there are often many draughts. This can weaken the plants which can eventually die. This is particularly dangerous for tropical plants and the least resistant plants.

Mistake n°8 : Forgetting to repot indoor plants

When was the last time you repotted your plants? If you don’t remember (or worse, if you’ve never done it before), it may be time to get started. In general, it is recommended to do it every year for a growing plant, and then every two or three years for maintenance. If your plant is no longer growing or is growing very slowly, or if the roots are beginning to emerge from the soil or the bottom of the pot, it is probably because your plant is feeling cramped. Most often, you repot in early spring or late spring with a larger pot than the previous one.

Mistake n°9 : Not detecting pests and diseases in time

9 Common Mistakes That Will Kill Your Houseplants

If, despite all your good care, your plant is in poor health and its leaves start to yellow, curl, wilt, discolor or display spots, it is generally a sign that something is wrong! Observe your plants regularly, especially the underside of the leaves, to be able to detect the various parasites and diseases that could attack them. Whether it is mealy bugs, thrips, aphids or spider mites, there are natural remedies to get rid of them. There is no need for chemicals! The same is true for plant diseases.

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However, you must act quickly so that it is not too late. If you delay too long, no phytosanitary product will be able to do anything about it and your plant will be too weakened to survive.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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