By Betsy Mejia

June 23, 2018

It was love at first sight! You couldn’t resist. He was such a lovely shade of green; so glossy. You were delighted to see he was reasonably priced for his large size. His tag read “Ficus”. Such a fun word, you repeated it to yourself aloud. You purchased a pot in a hammered stainless steel to match your décor. You took him home, securing him in the passenger seat and you named him “Evan”.

It’s a month later, Evan has lost his zeal for life. Leaves are falling off and he isn’t responding to your singing. You’ve watered him religiously every day; what more can you do?

DON’T DESPAIR! We’ve got some advice to offer on houseplant care. First, that perfect spot on the coffee table isn’t ideal for Evan and you’ve been over-nurturing with water. Most houseplants only need watered when the top soil is dry to touch. Water needs to reach the bottom roots of the pot, but be careful not to over saturate (succulents and cacti are exceptional and only need watered every 2 weeks generally). Brown or yellow tipped leaves are indication of a poor watering habit.

When you first purchased Evan, you should have noted on the care tag whether he preferred direct (high, medium or low) or indirect light. If he’s not thriving where he is, move him (a Ficus likes to be near a sunny window).

Now, let’s analyze the pot. Does it have appropriate drainage to be used for plants, or was it intended to be a container for household items? A pot made of more porous material, such as terracotta, will allow air to circulate through the roots. In time, your plant will outgrow its current pot and become root bound, requiring a larger pot.

Also consider a slow-release fertilizer and be mindful of room temperature. Most plants are tropical and prefer temps 65-75.

If your misfortune with Evan has discouraged you from owning plants in the future, consider these houseplants that require less maintenance: Rubber Plant, Philodendron, Norfolk Island Pine, Croton, Chinese Evergreen, Dumb Cane Plant and Striped Dracaena.


Keywords: houseplant care
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