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12/6/13

Troubleshooting Your Plants

Houseplant Troubleshooting Guide
Please select from the possible plant symptoms:
Dying plants or seedlings
Weak-looking, stunted, pale plants
Weak-looking, straggly plants
Fading, wilting plants
Slow plant growth
White crust on soil
Lower leaves turn yellow, but remain on plant
Base of stem is soft or mushy
Collapse of plant
Brown-edged leaves
Brown patches on stems and leaves
Powdery mold on leaf surface
Reddish-brown, powdery marks on leaf surfaces
Speckled leaves
Sudden loss of leaves
Bronzed or abnormally reddened leaves
Dry and brittle leaves
Leaf drop
Brown or yellow leaves
Yellow or white ring and spots on leaves
Swellings on leaves, corky ridges, water-soaked spots that turn red or brown
Yellowing between veins of young leaves, or older leaves less severely affected
Healthy leaves but no blooms
Bud drop

Symptoms
Dying plants or seedlings

Weak-looking, stunted,
pale plants

greenhouse.kenyon.edu/troubleshooting.htm

Possible Problem

Suggested
Treatments

Too much fertilizer

Water thoroughly to flush excess
fertilizer. Halt or severely reduce
feeding program.

Water-logged plants

Improve drainage. Halt or severely
reduce watering. Repot.

Insect attack

Isolate plant. Try to identify
insects. Remove insects; wash with
soapy water.

Water-logged plants

Improve drainage. Halt or severely
reduce watering. Repot.
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Wait for Spring. Lower leaves turn yellow. Water-logged plants Improve drainage. if badly wilted. Too much moisture Improve drainage. Halt or severely reduce watering. Roots pot-bound Repot.htm Isolate plant. Not enough light Move gradually into a position with better light. or drafts.kenyon. but remain on plant Too little fertilizer. Improve drainage. Too little water Check plant's watering needs. wilting plants Slow plant growth White crust on soil Fungal attack in damp. leaching salts by flushing with pure water. straggly plants Feed regularly with complete fertilizer or specialized plant food. Natural dormancy in winter Be patient. Repot Not enough warmth Check recommended temperature range for plant. Provide artificial lighting if necessary. air-conditioning vents. Allow it to dry. Not enough moisture Water. Halt or severely reduce watering. Build-up of fertilizer salts Remove crust. Provide artificial lighting if necessary.edu/troubleshooting. particularly in watering. Overcrowded Divide plants. Move to warmer situation. Check for causes of excessive drying such as heaters. Immerse in water for quick recovery. particularly nitrogen Add high-nitrogen fertilizer. Base of stem is soft or mushy Let soil surface dry out between Too much water. Not enough light Move gradually into a position with better light. such as window left open. Check for cause of change. Too little fertilizer Add liquid fertilizer every 2 to 3 weeks. cold conditions Collapse of plant Extreme heat or cold greenhouse. Too much nitrogen Reduce or halt feeding. Use a lowor no-nitrogen fertilizer. Follow correct watering procedure. Add coarse cold weather sand to container mix to improve drainage. Repot if necessary. Repot if necessary.12/6/13 Troubleshooting Your Plants Under-nourished plants Weak-looking. Move to position with more moderate 2/5 . Fading. Repot.

Too much fertilizer Halt fertilizer for 3 to 4 weeks. Remove carefully.12/6/13 Troubleshooting Your Plants temperature. Die-back. If necessary. restore previous temperature or light conditions.kenyon. Move plant to airier position. Leaf drop Too much sun Move to a location with less light. Too much water Follow the proper procedure for watering your houseplants. use a systemic insecticide Speckled leaves Virus infection Destroy infected plants. too dry Check recommended temperature range for plant.edu/troubleshooting.htm 3/5 . Not enough heat Check recommended temperature range for the plant. Not enough phosphorus or potassium Use higher phosphorus or potassium fertilizer. fungal disease or other infection Isolate plant. Reddish-brown. cut off affected areas and destroy. Rinse leaves with water. If necessary. Increase humidity. Brown-edged leaves Gas fumes Check for source of fumes. Powdery mildew Remove affected parts and destroy. use a systemic insecticide. Rapid temperature or light change Check recommended temperature range for the plant. powdery marks on leaf surfaces Rust Isolate plant. more sheltered position. Brown patches on stems and leaves Powdery mold on leaf surface Sudden loss of leaves Bronzed or abnormally reddened leaves Dry and brittle leaves Follow the proper procedure for Too little water or low humidity watering houseplants. Take care Leaves have been splashed with that leaves are not splashed with strong chemicals or fertilizer. Too hot. For severe infestations. Check for other symptoms to diagnose infection. For severe infestations. Immerse in a bucket of water and place out of direct sunlight. Remove affected leaves and stems and destroy. move to a warmer. Container mix saturated with chemical salts Water repeatedly to flush excess salts from container mix. unwanted chemicals. Follow the proper procedure for greenhouse.

Too much heat or cold Check for cause of change such as window left open. Too much nitrogen Reduce or half feeding.12/6/13 Troubleshooting Your Plants Brown or yellow leaves Yellow or white ring and spots on leaves Too little water watering your houseplants. Lower humidity. Table created from the Encyclopedia of Container Gardening Did this solve your problem? Try the page on Household Pests greenhouse. If necessary. Adjust growing conditions to restore previous conditions. Move to a position with more light. Move to position with more moderate temperature. Be patient. Boost with trace element fertilizer. Poor humidity Increase humidity. Splashing cold water on foliage Water more carefully. ridges. Occasional yellowing of lower. older leaves Too little iron or magnesium less severely affected Not enough light Healthy leaves but no blooms Bud drop warmer than surrounding air.kenyon. Use a lowor no-nitrogen fertilizer. Do not while watering splash foliage. Not enough warmth Check recommended temperature range for plant.edu/troubleshooting. if possible. Control cold source. corky Increase warmth. Plant is too young or a lateflowering variety Some plants take years to flower and some varieties bloom much later than others. older leaves is natural No treatment necessary. Exposure to cold or draft Check the temperature. moist soil and cool. move to a warmer position. Place pot where soil will not get that turn red or brown moist air Yellowing between veins of young leaves. Swellings on leaves.htm 4/5 . water-soaked spots Too much moisture absorbed from warm. Draft shock Control source of draft. Shock from moving from greenhouse to home Check plant's growing requirements. or move plant to another location.

12/6/13 Troubleshooting Your Plants Return to Greenhouse Main Page Go to Biology Department Home Questions. suggestions.htm 5/5 .edu/troubleshooting. greenhouse. improvements. changes about the website? Send an E-mail to me.kenyon. E-mail webmaster.