Believe it or not, your plants can speak! Well, no, not really. But there are subtle ways that your plants will try to tell you something. With no mouths to speak, our green friends use their leaves to let you know when things aren’t going so well with them. To a seasoned pro, this isn’t a daunting task, but not everyone has a green thumb. A lot of us buy plants for the aesthetics but we don’t know what it really takes to care for a plant or if we’ve even bought the right plant for our space. Luckily, you don’t need to be a garden gnome to know what your plant wants because we’re going to tell you! These are the signs to look out for on your plant’s leaves.
1- Curling and Drooping Leaves
This is probably one of the biggest problems I see with most new plant owners in Egypt. The idea here is most people think a plant needs plenty of sunlight, right? I mean, what could be the harm in a little sunshine? Well, it can do some harm with Egypt’s weather. Namely, heat stress. This problem occurs when plants are placed in direct sunlight or are watered early in the day.
Fix: Water your plants later in the day, and place it away from direct sunlight. A south-facing window is recommended for your indoor plants. As for outdoor plants, try to find a shaded area that receives light a few hours in the day.
2- Brown and Crunchy Leaves
You know how dry your skin can get if you spend the whole day not hydrating? Well, that’s happening with your plants too! Brown and crunchy leaves are a symptom of underwatering. Keep an eye on the soil too, because browning leaves are symptoms for some deficiencies. If the soil is bone-dry then you know that you have to water it.
Fix: Give your plant some water but don’t oversaturate it. Make sure that the soil is damp to the touch but not soaking. I also recommend spritzing the leaves with water. You’ll notice new growth in the next week with regular watering. If the stem is completely dry though, you’ve dried out your plant.
3- Plant Drooping from Stem
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. If your plant isn’t holding itself as well and looking droopy and sad, then the culprit is you! Well not, you, but the fact that you’re over-watering. You have to be very careful about overwatering your plant as it could cause root rot.
Fix: Leave your plant, in a nice shaded area and don’t water it for a day or two. You can water it again when the soil on the surface is drier. I also recommend you check that the soil drains well. Try to rake around the surface of the soil a bit. You can do this with a small stick or a raking tool to make sure the plant is properly aerated as roots need air to breathe and the water may lead to rotting.
4- Yellow Leaves that Brown and Fall off
Don’t worry, this isn’t your fault, sometimes the soil just doesn’t have enough nutrients. In particular, the problem here is a nitrogen deficiency. There are a lot of causes for a nitrogen deficiency but it’s mostly to do with the soil, so I won’t bore you with the details! If you find that your plant has yellowing or pale misshapen leaves and stunted growth then the soil needs nitrogen.
Fix: Your plant wants food! This could be in the form of fertilizer, which you can purchase from the local plant nursery (مشتل). If you want a more natural route, you can try adding coffee grounds or add compost that you can make yourself! Just check out this article: Composting 101: This is How You Can Reduce Food Waste
5- Dark green or blue splotches
Sometimes your plant is going to look just plain weird, with random splotches of color: dark green or purple or blue even! But, have no fear, this is just a potassium deficiency. This is also a soil issue, but it can be remedied pretty easily.
Fix: You can purchase a fertilizer to enrich the soil. But, I recommend you go the natural route and place a banana peel by digging about 3 centimeters into the soil and burying it there. The organic matter is rich in potassium and nitrogen.
This should keep you from killing a few plants for a while. If you’ve given this article a good read through, you’ll definitely want to check out our guide on 5 Ways Not To Kill Your Indoor Houseplant.