Top 10 Problems Beginner Gardeners Face


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Are you wondering why your plant is not growing, why it is wilting, or maybe why the leaves are brittle? Many common garden problems are, luckily, relatively easy to remedy. Beginner gardeners can experience indoor garden success with a dash of research and plant tender love and care. They are problems Beginner Gardeners Face

Indoor plants need most of the things that outdoor plants require, which usually boils down to water, sunlight, soil, and nutrients. The tricky part indoors is that you are trying to replicate a natural environment. Ask any gardening expert, you must start somewhere, and gardening requires a bit of trial and error. This article will teach you the top 10 problems beginner gardeners face to save you some heartache, hopefully.

Tips for Beginner Gardeners: Raising Healthy Indoor Plants

Knowing plants’ basic care and needs helps us recognize minor problems before they get out of control. Every time you water an indoor plant, you should perform a quick health checkup.

  • Cacti and succulent plants need very little water. Most other plants need watering once or twice a week.
  • Most plants need at least three or four hours of light daily.
  • Plant lights are helpful if you live in a house or apartment that is dark much of the time.
  • Most houseplants originate from tropical areas, so they love lots of sunlight.
  • Plants are healthy to have in the home; they remove carbon dioxide and other impurities from indoor air and provide many other health benefits.
  • Many plants enjoy humidity as they did in tropical areas. You can mist water on their leaves or add humidifiers to increase room humidity.
  • Indoor plants can usually survive at 55 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beginner Problems beginner gardeners face 1 – Not Knowing Which Soil to Use

All plants have different soil requirements; it is not a one-stop-shop to cover all varieties. Planting with the best soil type for your specific plant will avoid many common garden problems. For instance, root rot may result from a lack of complete drainage, which could be avoided with perlite or sand-based soil to allow minimal water retention. A potting mix designed to drain appropriately, assists in keeping your plant from sitting in water, giving it the opportunity to rot, grow mold, or attract other diseases or pests. On the other side of the spectrum, some flowering plants like gardenias or azaleas need acidic soil with a pH of about 5.5.

Problems beginner gardeners face 2 – Watering Too Much

Each type of plant needs the right amount of water. If the leaves on the bottom of your plant are turning yellow, this usually indicates overwatering; however, if the plant growth halts, this typically means the opposite.

Aside from simply turning yellowish in color, if the leaves are falling off your plant, this could also indicate too much water. Whenever you water your plant, give it time to drain water into the saucer beneath it and always empty the saucer; never allow a plant to sit in excess water.

If you notice your plant is turning yellow and the plant’s soil seems to be damp or even soggy, you can do two things. One, allow your plant soil to dry out before even considering watering again, or two, repot your plant in fresh soil and start over completely.

Beginner Gardeners Problem 3 – Not Enough Water to Thrive

Dry soil is a good indicator of another common garden problem, which is not watering the plant enough. The plant may wilt, droop, and their leaves may even start to feel crispy, but a thorough watering can quickly revive the plant. Plants feel lighter when they are not getting enough water. To try to save an underwatered plant, place it in the kitchen sink and let the water run into the pot for a few minutes. After turning the water off, leave it there until it drains completely before moving it back to its place inside your home. After that, check the soil daily; if it is dry to the touch two to three inches beneath the soil, it is time to water again.

Problem 4 – Not Enough Light for Photosynthesis

Light is vital to plants to help them grow and stay healthy. If your plant grows on one side only, it leans toward the light source or appears leggy. It may be that it is not getting the right amount of light.

Little to no new growth or brown-tipped leaves also signal that more light is needed. Growth lights are often the answer if your indoor space lacks natural light. Plants that need bright indirect sunlight should typically be no more than two feet from the window to receive optimal lighting.

Different plant types require different light exposure time frames in blooming seasons and dormancy. If you have an indoor plant, learn what kind of light your plant needs and discover how much light your plant should get daily to thrive. Because even with plenty of indoor light, during winter, daylight hours are short, supplementing with a growth light may be necessary.

Problem 5 – Drafts or Cold Temperatures Affect the Plant

Some plants will die if set on a windowsill by a near-frozen window. If their leaves touch the cold window, they may curl and turn brown before falling off. A plant stand or shelf may be better for your plants in frigid weather. Placing a plant shelf can be placed in front of a South-facing window to eliminate the danger of the leaves touching the window.

Beginner Gardeners Problem 6 – The Room is Too Hot for Your Plant

If your plant’s flowers do not last long, it could be too warm in the room. Another sign of the room’s temperature being overly generous is if the edges of leaves turn brown or yellow and fall off. If your concerned heat could be the issue at hand, try turning down the furnace or placing a fan in the room to circulate the air. Be aware that nearby heating vents or fireplaces may also be too hot for your plant, so try avoiding those.

Problem 7 – Too Much Fertilizer or Not Enough

Even the best potting mixes lose nutrients over time. Plants need fertilizer, and the amount and frequency of applications affect the plant’s health. One of the common garden problems is applying the fertilizer without diluting it first, applying too frequently, or even not enough. All these reasons can kill your plant.

Like lighting, soil, temperature, and water requirements, every plant has individual needs, do your research to know what your plant wants to thrive. Most plants need to be fertilized only twice a year, yet others need fertilizer every few weeks between March and September, the blooming seasons.

When applying fertilizer, dilute it by adding about one-half a teaspoon to one gallon of water and mix well before using.

Beginner Gardeners Problem 8 – Pets Disturb your Plant

Many pets and kids find indoor plants fascinating. They like to nibble on their flowers and leaves and dig into the soil. Some pets knock plants over by climbing on the plant shelf, and others tend to bite off leaves, causing the entire plant section to die. Cat especially are curious creatures by nature.

Another reason to keep plants away from pets is the risk of toxicity. If your pet eats plant leaves and flowers, be sure that they are not poisonous to the pet. Move them to a place where the pet cannot reach the plant to solve both potential concerns.

Problem 9 – Leaving a Plant in a Pot that Is Too Small

Common garden problems may include not realizing that a plant needs to be repotted. As the plant grows, the roots also increase, and roots should be free to expand and move in the pot.

Roots packed into a pot that is too small are called root-bound, preventing roots from growing freely like they would in the soil outside. Signs of a root-bound plant are dry soil, wilting, and slow growth.

The solution is to repot the plant in a loose potting mix. First, get as much soil off the roots by running it underwater. Then place it in the larger pot, ensuring there is adequate room for growth.

Beginner Gardeners Problem 10 – Giving Up on a Plant Too Soon

Another common garden problem for gardeners is simply giving up on or forgetting their plants. Sometimes, the plant can be saved with time, love, and care if this unfortunate event occurs.

Plants add so much beauty to our lives, not only with their greenery and the pots in which they are planted, but they add life to your décor. They can even give one a sense of satisfaction when successfully cared for.

Beginner Gardeners – The Wrap-up

Plants can get sick and develop health problems that prevent them from being restored. But often, the most common plant issues can be resolved quickly.


Most indoor plants do well with temperatures between 55- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit.

Overwatering is the most common cause of plant death. Watch to see how quickly the plant’s soil becomes dry. If it dries out in a day or two, then give it a little more each time you water it. Never allow your plant to puddle or become overly saturated. Unless you grow moss or ferns indoors, sometimes excess water is okay.

Watch your plant for clues of how much water it needs. When you first bring a new plant home, you should water it thoroughly and allow it to drain all excess water. Then you want to check the plant daily and not water again until the soil is dry about 3 inches beneath the surface. When it is dry 3 inches beneath, it is time to water again. Keep this routine and watch for cues from your plant to indicate if it needs more or less water.

It sounds like the plant is root-bound. If the roots continue to grow, the root movement sometimes cracks the pot. You may have to cut or break the pot to free the plant. Be sure to plant it in a new broader, and deeper pot to allow more space for plant and root growth.

Yellowing leaves may mean many different things, but the first thing to try is to water them less. Allow it to dry out a bit, and do not water it until the soil is dry one to two inches down.


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