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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Why you're not a greenthumb - top 9 houseplant killers

No one sets out to kill a houseplant, yet most dead houseplants were killed by kindness. The best thing you can do for indoor plants is to learn something about their growing conditions and provide as close to those conditions as possible. If you see a problem developing, take action quickly.
Here are the top houseplants killers that you should be aware of:

1-Buying the plant at a wrong time.One of the best ways to kill a houseplant is to buy it at the wrong time. Most houseplants are native to the tropics. They're raised in a controlled environment under ideal conditions, usually in a greenhouse. So when you buy a houseplant when the temperature is close to or below freezing, even exposing it to the cold for a short period of time, could risk sending the plant into a state of shock from which it can never recover. You can also kill a houseplant by buying it during the heat of summer and leaving it in your car with the windows rolled up while you go shopping.

2. Over watering.The number one killer of houseplants is over-watering, which leads to root rot. Don't let your plants sit in water and don't automatically water all your houseplants on a schedule.

3. Salt build-up. Giving your potted plants just enough water so the soil gets wet but is never allowed to drain can lead to salt build-up, which can inhibit the growth of your houseplants. You may not notice it until you start to see a whitish crust on the soil or sides of the pot.

The best way is to water the plant when it needs it. Some plants, depending on the type, location, soil condition and pot size, may need water every three days, while others may need water only every three weeks. It's also a good idea to keep a few water jugs on hand that have been allowed to sit a day or so. That way the water will be room temperature, which plants prefer. And during the winter months, when plant growth slows a bit, you should cut back on watering, mist more often and withhold fertilizing until spring.

4. Low humidity.Many ferns and orchids need lots of humidity, and they should be misted at least daily—ideally with room-temperature water—to maintain high humidity levels or moved to the kitchen or bathroom where humidity levels tend to be a little higher than in the rest of the house.

5. Too much or too little light.Another way to kill houseplants is by giving them too much or too little light. Bright, direct sun, for example, from a south-facing window, is tough on a number of houseplants even some that need a lot of light. Likewise, winter sun from a north window may not provide enough light.
Plants that are not getting as much light as they need will look pale, rather than a healthy green and new growth will be spindly, as it reaches for the sun. You may also notice that the new leaves are smaller than usual.

6. Exposure to drafts.Placing an indoor plant, especially a tropical or blooming plant, near a frequently opened door to the outside or too close to a window with limited insulation will have the same effect as leaving the plant unprotected outside.

7. Exposure to direct heat. Placing your houseplant near a direct source of heat, like a radiator or duct, will not only burn your plant, but also speed up dehydration. You can also kill a houseplant by placing it too close to a window in the winter where temperatures can drop dramatically at nights.

8. Ignoring pest problems.Indoor pests multiply quickly. There are no natural predators to keep them in check, so you have to be very diligent about checking for symptoms. Spider mites, aphids, mealy bugs and scales can cover a plant in a day. If severe enough, the plant may never recover.

9. Allowing the plant to become pot bound.When a plant outgrows its pot, the roots circle around inside the pot and start to restrict themselves. Pot bound plants often seem to dry out more quickly than normal because the ratio of roots to soil is too large.

No matter what plants you pick, growing houseplants requires a certain amount of time and dedication. The more you know about growing houseplants, the easier and more fun it will be.

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