What's Wrong With My Plant?!: 5 Gardening Tips for Beginners
Date Posted:11 October 2017
Trends come and go, but plants are forever. (Or, um, for as long as you can keep them alive really.) As the plant trend continues to grow, hundreds of Instagram accounts have popped up showcasing the beauty and simplicity of owning a green mate.
With this rise more and more people are trying their non-green thumbs at gardening. Yes, it still counts as gardening if you’re the owner of four succulents and a pot of basil. Whether you just got your first Monstera or have been gardening for years, you’ll know that plants are particularly idiosyncratic. Don’t take it personally when you end up killing one or two -it’s all part of the process.
So, if you’ve ever asked the heavens, “What is wrong with my plant?” we’ve got you covered. Here are some of our best gardening tips for beginners, covering the most common plant problems and how to fix them.
1. My plant looks floppy, pale and is shedding its leaves
Your plant has the blues. Really! It may not need to see a psychotherapist, but it does need to get more sunlight.
The solution here is to move it next to a window or on a windowsill where the sun light can hit it directly. Open your curtains and blinds for maximum light.
Generally though, a good rule of thumb is to know thy plants because they’re not all created equal. Some plants need direct sunlight while others bloom only in indirect sunlight. Find out what kind of light will make your plant happiest and adjust its position in your space accordingly.
2. My plant has wilted, droopy, soft leaves.
You, my friend, have been overwatering your plant. (Yes, that is actually a thing.)
Plants don’t like to be overwatered, especially if you’re doing it whenever you remember. Instead, if you want bright leaves and stronger roots, the best solution is to water less but more consistently.
Here's a hot gardening tip for beginners: by using less water more consistently, plants learn that they have to store the water they are getting which leads to shiny happy plants! Booyah!
3. My plants’ leaves are brown on the tips and “crispy” to the touch
This is the exact opposite problem from the above. If your leaves have brown tips and water passes straight through the soil without soaking, your plant is desperately thirsty. Like, stranded in a desert with no oasis in sight, thirsty.
This one is an easy fix: simply increase the frequency of watering! (Remember: it is frequency not volume that is key to happy plants.)
But first you have to water the already dehydrated plant. Leave it under a tap on a small trickle for 15 minutes or until the soil is nice and moist.
4. My plant has holes, brown spots or insects crawling on the leaves
Holes, brown spots or insects creepy crawling all over your plant is a sure sign that it’s suffering from an insect infestation or some kind of disease (yikes!).
Don’t throw out your poor plant just yet, but do make sure to put it in quarantine! Like human diseases, plant diseases can spread from one plant to another. So isolate the sick plant and then remove the infected leaves and wipe any insects off with a damp cloth. You can also use neem oil which acts as an organic insecticide to help control pests and fungus.
If all else fails, you may need to say bye bye to this little potted buddy.
5. My plant is turning yellow!
If your plant is turning yellow, or you’ve noticed there is no new growth happening, your plant is lacking nutrients i.e. you’re not feeding it what it needs.
Usually if there is only yellowing at the tips and edges of leaves this means your plant needs potassium. If the whole leaf is yellowing it needs iron. Most plants that are not growing may be lacking nitrogen.
What does this mean? It means, it’s all chemistry and pH levels from this point. But basically, you’re going to need to add organic matter to the soil. Whether it’s a compost, coffee grounds or pine needle mulch, depends on which nutrient your plant is lacking. Last but not least, our best gardening tip for beginners is to ask for help when you need it. After all, it's not just your plant that needs to grow, you should cultivate your budding gardening knowledge too! Reach out to your local nursery where they are qualified to know what kind of compost your plant needs.
With these handy gardening tips for beginners under your belt, you'll be on your way to having the flourishing garden of your dreams in no time. Treat yourself to one of our unique garden gifts to have your plants looking truly spectacular. Good luck and happy planting!