Why Is My Houseplant Losing Its Leaves?

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If you find yourself in a situation where you ask yourself, “Why is my houseplant losing its leaves?” then this article is for you. When your favorite houseplants start dropping leaves, it can be very frustrating and discouraging. Luckily, remedying the problem is usually just takes a few simple adjustments. Most plants will lose leaves because of the gradual life cycle of a plant; however, if you are losing leaves prematurely or at a rapid rate, it becomes a cause for concern.

So, what causes houseplants to lose their leaves prematurely?

Humidity Levels

All houseplants have humidity level preferences. Some prefer high moisture levels in the air, while others like drier conditions. Most indoor houseplants are of the tropical variety, and due to that, they need a higher humidity level indoors than what we find in most homes.

To determine if humidity levels indoors are too high or low for your plant, research what type of levels your plant prefers and then purchase a gauge to check moisture levels in your air. If you need higher humidity levels, you can add a humidifier; on the other hand, a dehumidifier is an excellent option if you need lower levels.

Lighting Conditions

Plants need light to thrive. Without light, foliage can rapidly die. If you suspect your plant is losing leaves because of lighting conditions, you are in luck because this happens to be a reasonably easy problem to remedy.

Low lighting conditions can stunt plant growth drastically and cause foliage to droop. Finding a better location indoors, near a window to let in more natural light, can help. If natural light is not an option, you can always incorporate artificial lighting to supplement your plant’s needs.

If your plant is in bright direct sunlight, it may need to be removed from direct light, or try filtering the rays by placing a sheer curtain in front of your window. Too much direct sunlight can burn your plant’s leaves, causing them to dry out and fall off.

Over- or Under- Watering

Plants can lose foliage if their soil is too saturated with water and if the soil is too dry. The majority of indoor plants like the soak and dry method. Saturate your plant thoroughly and allow its soil to dry out before watering again. To check if a plants soil is dry enough to water again, insert your index finger into the soil and if it is dry two to three inches down it is thirsty,

If your plant is drowning in water, repotting it into fresh soil and drying it could save your greenery.

Nutrition

If your plant’s leaves are dropping and turning yellow or pale, this could be due to insufficient nutrition. Try applying some liquid fertilizer and see if that fixes your plant’s nutrient deficiency.

Temperatures

Indoor plants tend to do well with average indoor temperatures ranging from 60- to 75- degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures too cool or too hot will make a plant lose its leaves.

If you happen to keep your indoor temps below 60 degrees or if you’re in a cooler climate and your plants are near drafty windows or doors, relocate them to a warmer spot or add in a heating pad on low to warm up your foliage.

If your indoor temperatures are over 75 degrees, temperatures may be too high for your plants to tolerate. Try lowering temps to at least 75 degrees to see how they hold up.

Pests

Mealybugs and spider mites can cause leaves to fall. Check indoor plants routinely for any signs of pests and perform a thorough examination if you notice significant leaf drop. If you see signs of pests, treating them will remedy the loss of foliage. Insecticidal soaps and neem oil are ideal for indoor plants, but if all else fails, chemical insecticides should help.

Physical Damage

Physical damage is a common reason plants will lose their leaves. If your plant is in a high-traffic area in the path of children or pets, it may be best to move it to a different location. A higher elevation or a low-traffic area can prevent any further foliage loss. If you have a plant that tends to be a snack for your furry family members, keeping it out of reach from pets will help save the remaining leaves.

Shock

Shock can be the most challenging condition to remedy but is the most common cause of leaves falling.

It can happen after any significant change in environmental conditions. Bringing an indoor plant outside or an outdoor plant inside is a common cause for shock. Other reasons are dramatic temperature, humidity, and light shifts.

When you first bring a new plant home, it is not unusual to go into shock because it is a considerable change. The goal here is to adjust the plant with its optimal living conditions as smoothly as possible. Aiming for the ideal light, humidity, soil, nutrition, and water variables from the start can get it on the right track from the start.

Why is My Houseplant Losing Leaves – The Wrap-up

Keeping your foliage intact and happy is all about using the correct variables to make up the ideal formula for your plant’s survival. Research your houseplant’s needs and make it your mission to provide what your plant requires to grow, and you will never have to ask yourself, “Why is my houseplant losing its leaves?” again.

FAQ

The answer to this question depends on the type of plant you have. If you have a seasonal plant, then yes, it will lose foliage during its off-seasons. If you grow year-round plants, then yes and no, every plant will have a dormant season which can cause it to lose some foliage but usually, during a plant’s dormant season, its growth will stunt not completely die off.

A plant’s nutrition comes from fertilizer. When you first pot a plant in potting mix, typically, they include a slow-releasing fertilizer that will suffice for a few months. After the initial few months, you will need to periodically add fertilizer to ensure your indoor plants receive all the nutrition it needs to grow.

Growth lights and artificial lighting are fantastic supplements to natural sunlight. If you have multiple plants in one area, add an artificial hanging light above the plants to help supplement them all.

To rid your houseplants of pests, the first step is identifying what type of pests your plant has. Usually, neem oil, insecticidal soaps, and chemical pesticides are all you need to treat plants.

  • Humidity levels too high or too low
  • Over- or under-watering
  • Too much direct sunlight or not enough light
  • Shock
  • Physical Damage
  • Pests
  • Nutrition
  • Temperatures too high or too low
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