Overwatering - When you overwater your plants, it really stresses them out. Roots will rot, and leaves will fall off as the plant is failing. You might see some discoloration on older or outer leaves first. Use your finger or chopstick to see how moist the soil is. Drain any sitting water from the bottom of a pot, and let it dry out significantly. Typically, you want the top inch of a plant's soil to be dry and all soil below to be lightly damp (think a moist pound cake) before watering again.
Underwatering - If you water too little, the drying out of your soil and roots will eventually start to show in your plant's leaves. Typically, leaves will turn yellow and drop in an effort to save water! But don't worry; they will come back when you get it on a solid watering routine. Again, typically it is best to water houseplants after the top inch of soil is completely dry. Many tropical houseplants can handle weekly watering.
Fungus- Fungus or disease can come from nurseries, new plants, bugs getting to your plants, or overwatering. Disease will often spread across a plant quickly and result in yellowed or discolored leaves in bunches and often leaves that grow in unusual shapes. To prevent disease, check plants for bugs weekly. Using a neem oil can protect the leaves from day-to-day pests. More serious diseases may require anti-fungal treatments, removing rotted roots, and repotting. Check back next week for a review of frequent fungus and diseases and our suggestions on care.
Drafts - Is your plant sitting in front of an AC vent during the summer? The draftiness of the AC dries out leaves- turning them brown or much lighter. Like sweating, plants lose moisture through leaves, also known as transpiration. Move plants away from drafts if your HVAC is on!
Nutrient deficiency - Plants needs a soil rich in NPK, the essential building blocks of photosynthesis and leaf growth! Without enough nutrients, leaves will not be able to go through photosynthesis, losing their beautiful green color. If you have had a plant in a nursery pot for more than 6 months, it likely has taken up all the nutrients available in the soil. Try Flourish Plant Food to replenish both nutrients and the microbes in the soil naturally and see your plants thrive.
Natural Leaf Attrition - It is typical for old leaves to yellow, brown and fall off from a plant. Do not freak out if you are losing a few leaves a month, especially if you have significant new growth. Typically, there is nothing wrong with your plant! Give yourself and your plant some grace! Most likely, it’s completely fine!