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How NOT to kill your plants!

Here is our guide to fix 8 Common Houseplant problems

Buying a plant is one thing, but knowing how to keep it alive is quite another...

Plants can brighten up your home and even help boost your mental health, but to get these benefits we need to learn how to keep our plants healthy, happy and looking gorg.

We’ve put together some tips from our Plant Expert to help you fix common plant problems and keep your little green plant babies alive and thriving!

1. Selecting the right plant for you

It’s all well and good choosing the prettiest or most unusual looking plant you can find, but if it doesn’t suit the environment it is intended for, it won’t last long!

Let’s face it, we are all guilty of wanting the most exotic looking plants in our homes, but sometimes you have to be honest with yourself and admit that caring for a high maintenance plant isn't always doable for busy plant parents.

If you’re the type of person who rarely finds themselves at home on a regular basis, caring for a plant that requires watering every few days mightn't be the best option for you.

So before purchasing a plant, ask yourself some questions to see what will suit you best:

  • Do you spend more time around your better halves home?

  • Do you work irregular shift patterns and rarely make it back before bedtime?

  • Are you always out painting the town red?

  • Do you have a knack for winning weekend holidays away?

Every houseplant is different, like humans they have different care needs, so answering these questions before buying can save you a lot of heartbreak, time and money.

Check out our full range of plants available here: Indoor Plants & Terrarium's | Memento Floral Design | Belfast

2. Green mouldy soil

Green soil is a sign of mould or fungus, which is in turn a sign that you’re probably overwatering your plant. Lower leaves can turn yellow and look wilted, roots will rot, there will be no new growth, younger leaves will turn brown – overwatering can cause big trouble for your green investment.

Our top tip for working out how often to water your plants is to follow the finger-dip test. Simply put your index finger into the soil up until your second knuckle. Remove your finger, and if your finger is dry and there is no soil sticking to it, then you should water your plant. If soil sticks to your finger this shows that the soil is already moist enough.

Another top tip to keep pests away from your green babies is to use cinnamon powder on the topsoil, this acts as a natural anti-fungal.

3. Limp stems

Limp stems and leaves could be your plant trying to dramatically tell you it’s not getting enough sunlight.

Try moving your plant closer to a window so it can get more light, but also consider wiping the leaves with a damp cloth to get rid of dust - even the lightest of layers of dust can prevent light from being absorbed. Try to give your leaves a wipe every week or so to make sure they are getting as much sunlight as possible in rainy Belfast.

4. Crispy leaves

If your plants go crispy and develop brown leaves, it can be a sign the humidity in your home is too low. Most average homes do not have enough humidity, so we recommend buying a mister and giving them a daily spray.

If your plants are getting too much light they may get burnt, and this may be coupled with extremely dry soil, brown and crispy leaves and brown patches. Most plants cannot cope with direct afternoon sunshine, particularly in the hotter summer months. The glass from the windows multiples the heat up to 5 times which effectively gives your plant a sunburn.

Five good ways to increase humidity for your plants:

  1. Group your plants together will boost humidity

  2. Mist your plants regularly

  3. Set your plants on a tray of pebbles

  4. Consider using a humidifier

  5. Put your plants in bathrooms or kitchens where humidity tends to be higher due to the moisture in the air

5. White crusty leaves

Not to be confused with crispy leaves, white crusty leaves could be a sign of hard water damage. If you live in a hard water area try to if possible to give your plants rainwater, filtered water or distilled or demineralised water.

Water from our taps contains chemicals such as pesticides, chlorine and fluoride – which can be harmful to plants.

Additionally, hard water can damage roots and can also cause a white crust that you can see on leaves, soil and pots.’

6. Top heavy plants

If your plant is looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it’s probably time to re-pot it.

The main tell-tale signs that your plant has grown as much as it can in its current pot and needs to be repotted are the following:

  • There are roots are growing out of the drainage hole at the bottom of the plastic nursery pot

  • The roots are pushing your plant up out of its pot

  • Your plant is growing slower than normal

  • Your plant is top-heavy

To find a new pot to re-home your plant – it should be a few fingers width wider than the existing pot; make sure it has drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, these are essential in order to water your plant correctly.

You’ll also need a small amount of repotting compost mix you can get that here: Potting Soil | Memento Floral Design

7. Strangely shaped leaves

If the leaves on your plant are growing in funny, this could be a sign that you’ve got a pest problem.

To help avoid and correct this issue, prune dead and dying foliage on a regular basis.

Dropping foliage is ripe for infections and pesky insects, so it’s best to get rid of it before the pests find out and decide to move in on a permanent basis.

8.Going on holiday

It’s easy to forget sometimes but, like babies' plants need to be taken care of whenever you go on holiday.

Generally, as a rule, most plants will be okay if left for a week or 10 days, especially if they are looked after properly before you leave. Some things to do before your leave would be:

  • Make sure you give them a thorough watering and keep them away from places with fluctuating temperatures and away from draughts.

  • If you are going away for longer ask a friend or neighbour to help with some plant sitting.

  • You can make your own slow-release watering device by making a hole in a bottle lid with a pin and leave this upside down in the plant pot.

It also helps if you go for a plant that is virtually indestructible, check out our blog on indestructible plants here: 5 Plants that are pretty much indestructible (

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