Our plants: Our precious, our capricious, our misunderstood... Our "Drama Queen"!!!

If this title appeals to you, this article is for you!!

Your plant, so beautiful and radiant with health when it was purchased, has been sulking at home for some time?! Stunky with fewer leaves than before and not growing as you would expect. Do you wonder about the origin of his mysterious illness? Let's look at the different possibilities together!

Before adopting a plant, it is always a good idea to know its needs in order to put the odds on your side to see it grow optimally!

Plants on “Steroids”

Some plants are forced into the greenhouse by large producers, tampered with with hormones to dwarf them (prevent a plant from growing) or artificially colored are really more fragile than others and their recovery once at home is very difficult, because they are created to provoke a crush purchase but by no means to last! We've probably all received a decorative mini rose bush as a gift and how many of us have managed to keep it alive? The answer is simple: hardly anyone!!! So, if this is your case, don't panic, it's normal!

Wrong substrate

All plants have a preferred ecosystem that you should try to recreate at home. For example, epiphytic plants do not need the same growing medium as many tropical plants or cacti. Always remember to find out about the nature of the soil in which your plant grows to prevent it from becoming deficient and starting to wither at home.

PH matters too! Some plants will find it very difficult to grow in calcareous soil because they cannot transform the iron necessary for their growth in such conditions. Others, on the contrary, will appreciate a basic soil and will vegetate in acid soil.

Light exposure mistakes

If your plant is withering i.e. the new leaves are pale and further apart on the stem and the lower leaves turn yellow and fall off, and/or your plant stops growing or grows slower than it should not is that it lacks light. Or the opposite, whether your plant has foliage that wilts during the hottest hours of the day, has foliage that curls downward, has pale brown or even translucent spots on the side exposed to the sun, it is that there is officially a problem with too much lighting. Rectifying the exposure can only fix things! In this case, I suggest you change the place of the plant. It is important to always go gradually so as not to cause stress or damage to your plant.

Climatic conditions

A plant that has suffered from drought or an episode of frost will find it very difficult to resume and may be put on hold for a little while. To help it, prune it a little, then give it some fertilizer to give it the energy it needs for its speedy recovery. You have to be diligent so as not to miss any watering, because an additional stress factor could cause its death.

Undesirable diseases and insects

Beyond the clearly visible insects on the foliage, there are unfortunately less visible ones that can stop the development of a plant and even cause its death. Worms/larvae, root lice, centipedes, mites, root mealybugs, etc. If you have explored all the other possibilities and your plant is still doing badly, do not hesitate to check its roots, the cause of the mysterious evil may be there! If you discover pot au rose by looking at its roots, you need to act immediately. But how? You must unpot the plant, rinse the roots well and soak them in a diluted solution of the insecticide of your choice for 15 minutes. Afterwards, repot in fresh potting soil and a clean, disinfected pot. Add diatomaceous earth, a biological insecticide (a very fine white powder made up of the fossilized skeletons of microscopic algae) to the soil. Do not take risks with undesirables, adding diatomaceous earth will help you prevent future infestations...

Plant suffocating in its pot

A plant that is too cramped in its pot can suffer. But how do you know if your plant needs repotting? Here are some clues: The roots come out of the drainage holes, the need for watering is becoming more and more frequent, the water no longer seems to be retained by the soil during watering

Don't forget to add a little fertilizer to the irrigation water during the growth period to nourish it because the nutrients are so quickly absorbed in a small volume of soil!

Sometimes a whitish/tan crust may form on the rim of the pot and at the base of the plant. These are toxic mineral salts that are destroying the roots of the plant and even destroying its base. It is better to repot your plant by eliminating as much of the old soil as possible, which is now contaminated.


You have done everything to make your plant happy and yet it still does not seem to want to live? It may be a mineral or trace element deficiency. Here's how to recognize the signs of deficiencies:

Iron Fe plays an important role in the formation of chlorophyll and plant respiration. Visible signs of iron deficiency: chlorosis of the leaves (they turn yellow, except the veins). The first leaves affected are the youngest.

Magnesium Mg enters into the composition of chlorophyll and intervenes in the assimilation of nitrogen and phosphorus. There is chlorosis (discoloration) between the veins of older leaves, and red necrotic spots.

Sulfur S is used in the manufacture of proteins and chlorophyll, and promotes nitrogen fixation in legumes. Visible signs of deficiency: poorly developed plants, leaves varying from pale green to yellow (on all leaves, whereas in cases of nitrogen deficiency, discoloration is first visible on older leaves), delayed maturation.

Boron B contributes to the good general condition of the plant (transport and synthesis of sugars and growth substances, respiration, fertilization, etc.). Visible signs of deficiency: discolored leaves, growth bud rot.

Nitrogen N is a fundamental element for plant development; main constituent of chlorophyll and proteins, it stimulates plant growth. A plant well fed with nitrogen sports wide foliage of dark green color and beautiful stems. In the event of a lack of nitrogen, the plant shows stunted growth, small-sized stems and leaves, the oldest leaves turning yellow and then falling off.

Phosphorus P favors the development of the root system and it allows a harmonious development of the plant. Visible signs of deficiency: the plant remains small and stiff. The tips of the leaves turn dark green to purple.

Potassium K plays a role in regulating the vital functions of the plant: assimilation of chlorophyll, resistance to disease, cold and drought, regulation of transpiration. The plants are poorly developed, the habit is soft, the edge of the leaves varies from yellow to brown, the leaf blade is covered with brown spots.

When we are a “plant parent” the role of detective is often necessary. It is important to take the time to observe and analyze the development of your plants. A trick that can also be very useful on a daily basis is to take notes; to avoid making the same mistake twice for example. You have to keep self-confidence, because it is with the challenges and problems of cultivation that we become the best “plant parent”!

Happy growing dear plant lovers!

With love,


Source of certain information: Larry Hodgson, Gerbeaud.

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