Ideas & Inspiration

How to Care for Houseplants

Hold the Water
Hold the Water

If your houseplant’s leaves begin to turn yellow along the sides, you must resist the urge to add water in hopes that will fix the problem. This is your plant’s way of telling you to stop watering. 

The number one cause for common houseplant problems is overwatering. Only water enough to keep the plant’s soil moist — not wet — when lightly pressed. Check that the pot is draining properly and water when the soil feels dry to the touch.

If the base of your plant’s stem is soft or mushy, you’ve definitely been giving it too much to drink; it may have developed root rot as a result.

Remove the plant from its container and check to see if the roots have black tips with slimy decay. If the damage is not extensive, your plant can still be salvaged. Lightly knock out the soil trapped in the root ball and replant in fresh potting soil that drains well, then follow the watering instructions above.


Dry and brittle leaves are indications of the opposite problem – your plant is thirsty! Thoroughly water until the excess drains from the bottom of its container, then observe normal watering habits moving forward.

Check the Environment
Check the Environment

If your plant looks healthy but its growth appears stunted, examine its environment. Houseplants love bright rooms full of indirect sunlight. Your plants will love living in rooms with eastern exposure. Just remember to keep them far enough away from the window so that they won’t feel the cold.

Rotate plants in their containers every few days so they get exposure from all sides and don’t start leaning toward the window.

Houseplants enjoy environments that have 50 percent to 70 percent humidity, and with temperatures from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Move your plants away from vents, fans or direct heat sources, and cluster them together. Mist lightly with water every few days to add humidity.

Should your plant have brown leaves even after you’ve addressed all environmental problems, it is likely hungry. Nutrient deficiency is easily treated with fertilizer. Follow the label for application instructions

Kick out Unwanted Pest Guests

The easiest message to read from your houseplants is when they’re hosting unwelcome guests. You’ll see webbing, white fluffy or brown objects or sometimes sticky substances on the leaves.

Spider mites, mealybugs and scales are extremely common for most houseplants. The good news is they are easy to kick out!

Still feel like your plants speak a different language? Try some of these can’t fail houseplants that require minimal effort.