We all have problems with our plants, so below we've put together a few pointers to help you troubleshoot any issues you may be having, and how to can remedy them.

Yellowing leaves/ Browning leaves

Yellow leaves

Yellowing leaves (Chlorosis) which then fall off the plant is often normal in a plant's life cycle and happens to old leaves.  However, if yellowing leaves is an on going occurrence then there may be another reason behind it.  Stress, including nutrient deficiencies, poor drainage, root rot, over or under watering, a lack of  sunlight, or even pests.   

Lack of Sunlight 

It's not unusual for some interior and lower leaves on a plant to turn yellow and occasionally fall off and is usually because they're partially shaded by the exterior leaves are shaded by exterior leaves.  Typically, plants will only keep the amount of leaves necessary for the amount of natural light it's receiving, therefore, if the plant is losing an excessive amount of yellowing leaves, try moving it closer to a window.

 

Under Watering 

If the leaf tips are also turning brown and becoming crispy, you're likely to be leaving the soil to become too dry for an extended time between waterings.  This also can cause your plant to loose leaves.  If this is the case, slowly increase the frequency you're watering the plant until the soil is at it's usual consistency.  It's best to slowly introduce water for two reasons, firstly, if the soil is really dried out the water will often just run down the sides of the pot, with little being absorbed by the soil.  Secondly, a sudden introduction of a large volume of water can shock the plant.  

Under watering can also cause the plant's leaves to drop.  

Do bare in mind that these signs don't necessarily mean that you're continually under watering.  It may just be once, especially if the weather is partially hot and sunny.  Once you've reintroduced a regular watering regime, sadly the brown leaf tips will not turn green again, but you can trim the brown edges to get the plant back to looking healthy.

 

Overwatering 

Yellowing leaves can also be a sign that you're overwatering your plant.  If this is the case, test the soil to see if it's waterlogged, or really saturated and check the root system at the same time.  If the roots are looking brown and squishy, unfortunately your plant has root rot.  (See below for more about root rot).

 

Brown leaves

Browning leaves are typically caused by poor watering regimes (frequency/ quantity), low levels of humidity , or sunburn.

 

You can use the information above to troubleshoot whether you're over/under watering your plants, remedy the situation and adjust your watering regimes accordingly.  However, if over/under watering isn't the case, check your plant's requirements, as it may be that you need to increase the humidity.  This can be done by using an atomiser/ mister to spray the plant's leaves, by grouping plants together or sitting your pots in trays lined with stones with a bit of water in. 

 

Sunburn  

If you notice any brown spots in the center of the leaves, your plant may be getting a bit too much direct light.  Plants such as the Chinese money plant, Calatheas and Kalenchoe are sensitive to over exposure to constant direct sunlight and will burn easily.  You can remedy this by moving your plant either further into the room, away from the window, or to a another window that faces another direction.  

 

Root rot/ Wilting and straggly leaves

Root rot

Root rot occurs when the soil does not dry out enough between waterings, or if the roots sit in water for an extended period of time. The damage happens as the excess water suffocates the roots which then prevents the plant from absorbing any water and oxygen through the roots.   

If you suspect your plant has root rot, remove the plant from the pot and examine the root ball.  If the roots look brown and squishy, or are limp, this is likely root rot as healthy roots are white or slightly yellow and firm.  If the only some of the roots have rot, your plant my be salvable.  Remove all soil from the roots, then using a sharp, sterile knife or pair of scissors, remove the rotting roots.  To further assist new growth, you can removed up to a third of the plant's leaves to encourage the plant to focus its energy on regrowth.  Once this is done, repot your plant in a fresh potting mix and allow the plant to settle for a week or so before re-watering.  

 

Wilting leaves

Wilting leaves can be caused by over or under watering, or by root rot.  Check your potting medium, and if it's too moist, allow it to dry out, if it's bone dry if it a good soak in a bucket, sink or bath.  If doing this doesn't help, check for root rot.

 

Straggly leaves

Straggly and unhealthy or unhappy looking leaves are most likely caused by a lack of light.  Try moving the plant closer to the window, if it's already in the window, move it to a window where it receives more light for longer periods of time throughout the day.  This normally happens with trailing plants such as Golden pothos, Chain of hearts and Tradescantia.


If you've had a look through our troubleshooter and still can't work out what's wrong with your plant, you can email us, or bring the plant into the shop so we can have a look at it for you.