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tropical houseplant care.

At Bath Garden Center, we are here to help you grow better, naturally. Whether it is with plants in your garden or plants inside your home, we are here to help! We offer expert advice from our houseplant professionals, and it's FREE! Take advantage of this FREE service TODAY! ​

How Do I Know if My Plant Needs More or Less Water?

Overwatering is possibly one of the most common reasons why houseplants die. Many times, if a houseplant starts to wilt or begins to struggle, many of us assume that watering it more will help, when oftentimes, the issues begin with the plant having too much moisture in the soil already.

How to Tell if Your Plant is Overwatered

An overwatered plant may show a number of different signs, depending on the plant. Overwatering shocks the root system, and in many cases, can cause fungus to grow in the soil that then causes the roots to rot, bringing about the death of the plant. Some signs to keep an eye out for include yellowing leaves that are soft, opaque, or mushy. Your plant may begin to drop leaves due to the stress of too much water. Your plant may begin to look wilted or may start to droop or lean instead of standing tall and erect. The stalk of your plant may also begin to turn soft. This is a sign of root rot, as at this point, the plant has begun to rot from the bottom up.

If you are noticing any of these symptoms, or if you continue to water your plant with no noticeable improvement, do not continue to water! Set the plant in a warm area to help encourage the soil to dry out quicker. In some cases, it may be smart to repot the plant in soil that is not saturated with water, as too much moisture will lead to root rot. If root rot has already set in, it can be very difficult to save the plant. In this case, please reach out to one of our houseplant professionals for guidance on how to help your plant!   

How to Tell if Your Plant is Underwatered

This can be difficult, as many of the signs of an underwatered plant can be very similar to the signs of an overwatered plant. There are some minor differences to look for though! Your plant may begin to look droopy. In this case, if you water it and the leaves don’t perk back up in a couple hours, it is probably not underwatered. The leaves of your plant may begin to turn yellow. Compared to overwatered plants though, the leaves will turn from yellow to crunchy brown or will begin to dry out instead of turning soft and opaque. The soil is also a huge indicator. The soil of an underwatered plant will be completely dry to the touch and may even have a hard time letting water soak in when you do water, since it is so dehydrated.

Light and Water Requirements for Different Houseplants

Every plant will have some sort of varying light and water requirements. If these general needs are not met, your plant will not grow as well or may start showing signs of struggle. Keep in mind that if you make a change to your plant’s environment, it can take two weeks and sometimes longer for the plant to react to those changes. So, be sure to read up on what your plant needs. And if you are unable to provide the setting your plant needs to thrive, consider supplementing with fertilizers, grow lights, humidifiers, and the like. Growing tropical houseplants in our arid environment is never easy, so as always, let us know if you need any guidance on how to help your plant grow better.


How to Save a Dying Houseplant

Check Moisture Levels

If you have noticed that your plant is struggling, our first recommendation is to test the soil. Stick your finger approximately two inches into the soil to feel for moisture. If the soil is damp or if any sticks to your finger when you remove it from the soil, do not water! Let the soil dry out for another week. If the soil is completely dry to the touch, consider giving the plant a hefty drink. You will want to water until it starts to drip out of the drainage hole.

Check for Pests

If this does not help, check for bugs. Little pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, or scale can be very difficult to spot and can cause the slow decline of a plant. If you need any help identifying a houseplant pest or need assistance purging an infected plant, let us know! We are happy to help.

Is it Getting Enough Sun?

Brush up on your plant’s sun requirements. Too much direct sun on a sensitive plant can cause its decline. Similarly, a sun-thirsty plant that is not receiving enough direct sun can cause it to struggle as well.

Some Other Things to Check…

Some other things that can cause houseplants to struggle is the temperature in the house not being warm enough. Houseplants may begin to struggle if house temperatures drop below 65 degrees. This could be the case if your plant is sitting next to a drafty window throughout the winter or next to an air vent during the summer. Some struggling houseplants may simply need to be fertilized! Your plants will not grow well if they have no nutrients. Your plant also may need to be repotted. Root-bound plants may begin to show signs of struggle if their roots have no space to grow.

How to Identify What is Wrong with a Houseplant

It is not always easy to know exactly what may be going on with a struggling houseplant. Most often, diagnosing a houseplant is purely trial and error. If you go through the steps above and give your plant time to adjust to any changes you have made and it still seems to be declining in health, feel free to ask for help! You can bring your plant into Bath Garden Center, you can bring photos of your plant, or you can call us and describe the issues you are having over the phone. We are always happy to help you figure out what is wrong with your houseplant so that you can get it back on track to being healthy.

Get Help from Our Houseplant Professionals

Want advice on which houseplant to buy?

Do you have a spot in your house that needs a houseplant, but you aren't sure what would grow well or how to pick the right plant? Well, you aren't alone! Instead of just picking a plant at random, throwing it in a corner, and hoping it survives, let us help! Send us a picture of your space and include some details about lighting, style, and your desired placement, and we will provide you with several suggestions for plants that we think would thrive in your space!

Need help diagnosing a current houseplant?

Do you have a houseplant that seems to be struggling, but you aren't sure why? We are here to help! Simply send us a picture of your plant and include some information about its environment (where in your house it is located, what direction it faces, how much light it receives, how often you water it, etc.), and we will respond with a diagnosis and some suggestions regarding what you can do to help your houseplant stay happy and healthy!

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