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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Symptoms and Causes of Houseplants Problems

Picture of Aglaonema crispum

Although all houseplants grow best with good care, there are a few that stand abuse more than others. Some of the most durable houseplants are snake plant (Sansevieria), heart-leaf philodendron (Philodendron cordatum), devil's ivy (Pothos), corn plant (Dracaena massangeana), Peperomia (Peperomia obtusifolia), cast iron plant (Aspidistra), dwarfpalm (Collinea), Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema) and spider plant (Chlorophytum).

Picture of Peperomia obtusifolia

Diagnosing cultural problems

Problems resulting from poor growing conditions in the home are difficult to diagnose. Often poor growth results from a combination of several unfavorable factors. The following list includes symptoms and causes of several cultural problems.

Lower leaves turn yellow and drop when touched

  • Usually caused by overwatering.
  • May occur when a new plant is moved from greenhouse to a low-light, low-humidity environment.

Yellowing and dropping of leaves at various levels on a plant

  • Overwatering.
  • Poor drainage.
  • Tight soil.
  • Chilling.
  • Gas fumes.

Photographs of Epipremnum aureum - Pothos is probably one of the most common, and easily cared for house plants. A native of Southeast Asia, Pothos is a vine with heart-shaped green leaves featuring different color variations of white and yellow (depending on the variety). Pothos is very tolerant of a wide range of light and watering conditions, making it a good plant for beginners. This vine can grow very long, and makes an attractive hanging plant, and is also a good plant to train to vine around a support.

Tips or margins of leaves appear burned, brown or both

  • Too much fertilizer.
  • Plant too dry for a short period of time.
  • Plant exposed to too low temperature for short period.
  • Use of softened water.

Picture of Philodendron cordatum - A great low light vining plant, Native to: Puerto Rico, Jamica and C. America. This dark green vining plant can tolerate nearly any conditons. Just keep it our of direct sun.

New leaves of plant are small

  • Soil too dry for long periods.
  • Poorly drained soil.
  • Tight soil mixture.

Picture of Sansevieria parva

New leaves with long internodes

  • Not enough light.
  • Temperature too high.

Leaves yellow or light green, weak growth

  • Too much light.
  • Poor root system -- possibly from poor drainage, overwatering or tight soil.


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