When Plant Leaves Turn Yellow

Healthy plant leaves are bright green in color. When plant leaves turn yellow, that means something is wrong. And it’s up to you to find that out!

The primary reason why healthy leaves are green is the presence of a pigment called chlorophyll. I won’t go into that discussion here, but a simple analogy for this is the same for humans. When you see a person who looks pale or red / flustered, you know something is wrong with them. That holds true for plants, too. Something is going inside the plant that makes their leaves turn yellow.

Plants can’t speak nor have facial expressions for us to know if there is something wrong with them. There are some instances where these leaves turn to yellow. This is an early sign that something is wrong with your plant.

If that happens, don’t panic. Here are 3 things you should check in that specific order to make them healthy again.

3 Easy Steps When Your Plant Leaves Turn Yellow

Underwatering and overwatering are both harmful to your plants. This is the first thing you should check when you notice that your plant leaves are turning yellow.

While there are some new technologies being developed about knowing when to water your plant, it is something a bit out of reach for most of us in terms of budget and geographic barrier (being developed in US and UK).

So, we do the next best thing — what farmers and our growers do — monitor how much water you’re giving your plant. Test this out a couple of times.

As we mentioned before, water your plants twice a day: early morning and late afternoon. If you want to be more specific, early morning is 7-10am; while late afternoon is 3-5pm. And there’s also a reason for that!

As for the right amount of water, the way to check that is to stick your finger in the soil about an inch deep. Don’t do that near the roots and / or stems. Do it around the edge of your pot.

  • If you feel it damp and moist, that’s perfect.
  • If you feel it dry and loose, you need to add more water.
  • When you pull out your finger and it’s like covered in chocolate, you overwatered it.

Do this for a couple of days. If the leaves didn’t turn back to its bright, green color, it’s time to move to the next item.

2) Make sure they are getting enough sunlight

Sunlight is a requirement for plants to perform photosynthesis. As a reminder, “Photosynthesis is process by which plants, some bacteria and some protistans use the energy from sunlight to produce glucose from carbon dioxide and water.” (source)

For those of us who forgot what photosynthesis is and the role of chlorophyll and water in the process, here’s another short explanation:

For plants to perform photosynthesis they require light energy from the sun, water and carbon dioxide. Water is absorbed from the soil into the cells of root hairs. The water passes from the root system to the xylem vessels in the stem until it reaches the leaves. Carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere through pores in the leaves called stomata. The leaves also contain chloroplasts which hold chlorophyll. The sun’s energy is captured by the chlorophyll.

In other words, photosynthesis is a process that transforms sunlight (and other components) into the plant’s food.

If your plant isn’t getting enough sunlight, that means it can’t convert the other components into food for its nourishment. This can cause the plant’s leaves to turn yellow.

Do this for a couple of days while keeping in mind the proper watering process. If it still has not turned back to green, then your plant might be malnourished.

3) Ensure the plant receives proper nutrition

We really cannot deviate from the human analogy. When a person is malnourished — both undernourished and overnourished — it is unhealthy.

The same goes for plants. If you add too much fertilizer, it can cause burns to the leaves; turning the leaves to brown. If you don’t add enough fertilizer, it can cause the leaves to turn yellow.

One note on fetilizers: not all fertilizers are created equal.

If you use our organic fertilizers, you generally just need to add 3-5 pellets every 14 days. Crush them, then sprinkle them around the plant before watering.

If you went through this process and checked that you are watering your plants properly and receiving the right exposure to sun, your plants will definitely go back to being healthy.

And if it doesn’t do let us know. There might be something else that’s causing the problem like bacteria problems, PH and chemical issues in the soil, temperature, etc. But these aren’t as common as the ones we mentioned above.

Why are my leaves turning yellow?

Whether you garden indoors or out, a successful gardener needs to learn how to read plants.

It’s important for us to be able to understand the language of a plant and they make it easy for us to know when they’re feeling a bit under the weather. Both houseplants and landscape plants will show signs of yellowing leaves when they need some extra TLC (tender loving care.)

Even when their outward signs show us they need some attention, sometimes figuring out what they need is a mystery. There are a number of reasons a plant’s leaves will turn yellow. Among the reasons are overwatering, underwatering, stress caused by temperature changes, soil conditions, lack of proper nutrients, pests, disease, the age of the plant, pot-bound roots and transplant shock. Out of all of those contributing factors, overwatering or underwatering is usually the main culprit.

Here are the top 7 reasons for yellowing leaves:
  • Overwatering – Too much water is just as harmful as too little. Soil that doesn’t drain well will drown the roots. Without oxygen, the roots will die, and the leaves will turn yellow and fall off. Wait until the plant’s soil begins to dry, then water sufficiently and wait until the soil starts to dry out again before watering. Make sure your container has adequate drainage holes and water less frequently. When repotting an overwatered plant check its roots. Black roots indicate decomposition and a certain death sentence if not taken care of, while white roots are an indication of a healthy plant. When repotting a plant with black roots, trim back all the dark areas leaving only healthy white roots to recover. If there’s a green crusty appearance to the soil surface, this is algae, and it too is an additional symptom of overwatering.
  • Underwatering – If plants do not receive enough water they will drop their leaves to prevent dying. Often times it’s the way the plant is being watered that’s the problem. To encourage the roots to grow deep in the soil, water your plants less, but water them thoroughly to be sure the roots are getting plenty or moisture. Make sure you’re watering your plants properly: wait until the soil begins to dry, then water it fully, and wait until the soil starts to dry out before watering again.
  • Lack of Light – To determine if your yellow leaves are caused by a lack of light check the lower leaves first. If the lower leaves appear to be more faded than yellow, it could be a sign of a light deficiency. Plants need proper light for photosynthesis to occur. Be sure to rotate your pots periodically, so all foliage is exposed to sunlight. If the yellowing begins on the side away from your light source, it might be caused by too little light reaching these back leaves. Research your plants specific light requirements to be satisfied you are providing it what it needs to thrive. Some plants like indirect light, while others require full sun. Plants with too little light will often become leggy as they try to reach toward the light.
  • Temperature – Typically seen more in landscape plants than houseplants, a significant temperature change can leave the tips of your plants looking burned. Most often this occurs in the spring when tender new leaves are affected by a late freeze. If this happens, trim off the burned areas, and allow for new growth. With houseplants, most prefer particular temperature ranges. Some like it cool, around 50-60 F while others prefer in warm around 70-80 F. Some plants will drop their leaves when moved to a new location that has a significant temperature change. Tropical plants do not like colder temperatures, so keep them away from air-conditioner vents.
  • Pests – If the yellow spots on your leaves appear along with tiny critters (be sure to check the undersides of the leaves), then you have an insect problem. First, identify the pest and then treat for that particular insect. Typical bug infestations on plants are caused by one of the following: mites, aphids, mealybugs, thrips, scale, or whiteflies. Repeatedly washing the plants or applying an insecticidal or horticultural soap is one treatment that is often effective as well as environmentally safe.
  • Nutrient Deficiencies – If the top leaves of your plant are yellowing, or there is an unusual pattern of yellowing (i.e. the veins remain dark while the tissue between them turns yellow), it’s most likely a nutrient deficiency.
    • Iron deficiency – This causes yellowing, stunted growth and interveinal chlorosis. You will see it normally in new growth first. Test your soil and maintain a pH below 7.
    • Potassium deficiency – The leaves, especially older leaves, may have brown spots, yellow edges, yellow veins or brown veins. Add a potassium fertilizer containing potash.
    • Nitrogen deficiency – This causes stunted growth and yellow edges on the tips of the leaves. The veins may be yellow, and sometimes the whole leaf will be pale yellow. Add used coffee grounds to the soil to increase its nitrogen, or apply a balanced fertilizer.
    • Magnesium deficiency – This causes yellowing of the leaves between the veins with the veins remaining green and usually appears on lower leaves first. Treat the plant’s soil with Epsom
    • Calcium deficiency – This will cause crinkled, mottled or distorted leaves and will not allow the tips of the leaves to grow. Add agricultural lime to the soil.

Plant photos by organicagardensupply.com

  • Old Age – Often a plant has just outlived its natural plant life, succumbing to yellowing leaves and aging-out.

Please note that whatever the cause of your plant’s illness, remember it may take weeks or even months for a plant to recover and return to normal growth.

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Here at Wingard’s Market, we specialize in providing outstanding customer service, offer professional gardening advice, and answers to your everyday gardening questions. Stop by and visit our Beautiful Gift Shoppe and Fresh Produce Market while you stroll under century-old pecan trees. It’s truly a Garden Wonderland!

Located at 1403 North Lake Drive in Lexington, SC. Call us at (803) 359-9091

Are You Sure that Plant Needs Water? 5 Signs of Overwatering

Having a green thumb is not innate, it is a talent that must be earned through hard work, patience and dedicated learning. An easy rule of proper gardening and plant care is to water your plants. But, as with all gardening, even hydrating your garden can lead to complications and poor plant health. To know if your plants happen to be struggling from overwatering, take a look at these five signs below. Don’t stress, if you have overwatered, you are only guilty of giving too much love. Learn to take it back a few notches with these clues.

Wet and Wilting
1. It looks wilted, but the soil is wet. If your plant is green, well-watered and still struggling, you may have overwatered. This is the easiest sign that your plant has had a little too much agua. To prevent yourself from making this mistake again, only water your plants when the soil is dry to the touch. This little tip will keep you aware of plants that are in need of a good bath, and away from those who are full.

Brown Leaves
2. If the leaves turn brown and wilt, there is the possibility that you have been overwatering. At this point it may be difficult to tell whether a plant is wilting because of poor health, or improper water levels. Often, gardeners react quickly and throw on an extra pour or two of water in the hopes that the leaves will perk up. Before doing this, be sure to check your soil to see if it is wet. This doesn’t mean eyeing the top layer to see if it looks dry. Take and finger and place it into the soil at a point somewhere near the plant’s base. If the soil still feels dry, it may need water. Be sure to not let the fear of watering send you over the edge.

Edema
3. The third sign that your plant has been overwatered is edema. If a plant has absorbed more water than it needs, it can cause the plant’s cells to expand and stress. Often, these cells are filled to the point of rupturing. You can check for signs of burst cells by noticing any blisters or lesions on the plant. Eventually, these lesions will turn to dark or even white scar tissue. Another sign of edema is indentations on the top of leaves.

Yellow Falling Leaves
4. If you happen to have both yellowing leaves and new growth falling from your plant, there is a good chance you are overwatering. Try and remember if you have only watered your plant when the soil was dry.

Root Rot
5. Not only does the plant show signs of overwatering in its leaves and flowers, but the roots can also be an indication. When the soil is dense with water, it can limit the ability of the roots to breathe, they will then drown and begin to rot. Plant root rot is a fungal disease that will cause the roots to turn grey, brown or slimy and will eventually cause the plant to wilt. If a plant has root rot it is best to remove it from any garden bed so it cannot spread the disease.

If overwatering is an issue that may cause you stress, choose plants that will help you alleviate that stress. One great option is to choose plants that need a lot of water. If you are heavy-handed with the watering can, choose from these wonderful plants – astilbe, sedge, rose mallow, hibiscus, swamp azaleas and viburnum. To eliminate any issues that overwatering can cause, pick plants that don’t require much water at all. Save yourself the time by buying deer grass, salvia, dusty miller, tickweed, aloes or succulents.

26 Best Indoor Plants for Your Home

Are you looking to add a little Zen to your home or office? The right houseplant acts as a beautiful decoration helping to purify the air and can even de-stress the immediate area.

Safer® Brand came up with 26 beauties, and from that list, you’re sure to find the perfect houseplant — even if it’s for the office! Once you’ve made your selection, be sure to provide for it with Safer® Brand Liquid Nutrients and our wide variety of helpful OMRI Listed® pest control solutions including 3-in-1 Garden Spray and insecticidal soap. Remember growing and care instructions vary for each species, so consult your favorite plant care book for a complete rundown of its needs.

In each entry, you’ll see a picture of the plant and we’ll go over the pros and cons you need to know before committing to it.

1) Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums, or mums, as they are more commonly called, make beautiful houseplants with bright, cheerful blooms. They are remarkably easy to care when you provide a bright location, well-drained soil and enough water. Once all that is in place, you’ll have an attractive addition to your room

PROS

  • Mums are on NASA’s list of top air-purifying plants.
  • Chrysanthemums remove ammonia, benzene and formaldehyde from indoor air.

CONS

  • Leaves of the chrysanthemum plant are poisonous to pets and children.
  • Mums have a difficult time reblooming.
  • These flowers are generally considered disposable.

2) Spider Plant

Resilient spider plants seem to thrive even when neglected. They prefer moist soil but will forgive you if you forget to water occasionally. Keep spider plants in bright to moderate light, but avoid direct sun. Fertilize spider plants twice a month during the spring and summer.

PROS

  • Spider plants remove benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and xylene from the air.
  • Spider plant are considered safe for pets.

CONS

  • Who knew? Spider plants are mildly hallucinogens to cats.

3) Ficus

Ficus are popular houseplants and also often named the best plants for offices. Why are the great office plants? Because they have a striking appearance and are highly effective at purifying indoor air. A ficus prefers bright, indirect light, moist soil and occasional misting. Make sure you keep your ficus away from drafts.

PROS

  • A ficus is a great plant to help you with air purity.
  • Thanks to its decorative appeal, a ficus can serve as an attractive focal point for a room.

CONS

  • Ficus sap is a skin irritant to pets and people.
  • Pets who chew on ficus leaves may vomit or experience diarrhea.
  • Keep your ficus in one place. It’s a finicky plant that doesn’t like to be moved.
  • Is your ficus “dripping sap”? It may not be sap, but honeydew from an insect infestation. Apply Safer® Brand Fruit & Vegetable Insect Killer.

4) Red-Edged Dracaena

Red-edged dracaena, also known as dragon tree, is beautiful and useful for purifying indoor air. It prefers a brightly lighted area, though it can tolerate lower light conditions, too. Allow it to dry out between watering to get the most from it.

PROS

  • Dracaena helps remove formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene from your home. (These airborne chemicals can emanate from a variety of household goods.)

CONS

  • Dracaena is susceptible to leaf spot if the leaves get wet during watering. With that in mind, make sure you only water at the base of the plant rather than from overhead.
  • Thrips, which can be treated with insect killing soap or Safer® Brand BioNEEM, can be a major pest for dracaena.

5) Peace Lily

The peace lily offers elegance and beauty with a unique look. It prefers bright, indirect light but also does well in medium, indirect light. When it needs water, it will tell you by getting droopy leaves. After watering, it perks back up in response. You can also mist it occasionally for added humidity.

PROS

  • The peace lily helps remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, toluene and xylene from the air.

CONS

  • It contains oxalates that can cause contact dermatitis, which is a medical term for skin irritation. The irritation is the result of salt crystals that cause a fierce burning sensation if crushed, chewed or eaten.
  • Curious pets may also experience the same sensation if they try to eat or chew the plant.

6) Boston Fern

Boston ferns can grow quite large and make a showy but elegant addition to your home. They do especially well in bathrooms and other places that are humid but have soft, natural light. Give them moist soil, but allow them to dry out a bit during the winter months. Ferns don’t often need a new pot unless you want them to get bigger.

PROS

  • According to a study published in 2011, “ferns had the highest formaldehyde-removal efficiency” of all plants tested.
  • Boston ferns also remove toluene and xylene from the air.
  • These ferns are nontoxic.

CONS

  • Have your vacuum handy! Some homeowners find Boston ferns to be messy when the leaves drop.
  • Boston ferns are highly susceptible to root rot, so only water until liquid leaks from drain holes.

7) Golden Pothos

Even if you think you have a “black thumb,” you can probably grow golden pothos. This plant does well in low light and is forgiving if you miss an occasional watering. In fact, the golden pothos prefers to dry out in between waterings.

PROS

  • The golden pothos is easily one of the most common houseplants. It’s attractive and easy to grow.
  • Golden pothos is considered an air-purifying houseplant.
  • While root rot is a common problem with most houseplants, but the golden pothos rarely succumbs to this condition.
  • You’ll know when you need to water a golden pothos by its drooping leaves. Droopy leaves that cannot be revived by watering are a sign the golden pothos needs to be repotted into something larger.

CONS

  • This plant is toxic to ingest because it includes oxalates, so keep it away from pets and children who might try to eat the leaves.

8) Snake Plant

Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue and by its species name (Sansevieria trifasciata), snake plant is hardy and adds a unique look to your decor with its upright, strap-like leaves. It can tolerate low water and light environments, though it prefers bright, indirect light.

PROS

  • Snake plants are on the NASA list of houseplants that clean and filter indoor air.
  • Caring for snake plants is relatively easy. Water them at their base. They can survive with fluorescent lighting. If they’re in a window, rotate them a quarter turn every week.

CONS

  • Saponins in snake plant leaves make it toxic to pets and may cause nausea and vomiting.

9) Bamboo Palm

Bamboo palms are great plants if you want to add a tropical feel to your home or office. While this houseplant, also called parlor palm, prefers bright light, it can do very well in low light as long as it receives enough water. However, make sure you don’t overwater the bamboo palm. Wait until the top of the soil is dry. This plant likes high humidity, so consider placing it on a tray of pebbles with water added. As the water evaporates, add more so the pebbles are almost covered.

PROS

  • Bamboo palm is excellent at reducing the airborne formaldehyde that is released by new furniture.
  • Bamboo palm is nontoxic to pets.

CONS

  • Spider mites are common pests to the bamboo palm. If you see webbing in the leaves, spray Safer® Brand Insect Killing Soap on the top and bottom of leaves.

10) Rubber Plant

You might be surprised to learn rubber plants are related to ficus. Both are members of the fig family. Rubber plants do well in bright, indirect light to low light, and they need to be kept moist. Misting will help keep humidity levels up, and the plant prefers to be watered with room-temperature water. Remember that too much water can result in yellow leaves.

PROS

  • You’ll enjoy attractive, broad foliage offered by the rubber plant.
  • As a houseplant or office plant, it’s know for cleaning indoor air.
  • Rubber plants are relatively disease free.

CONS

  • The milky sap of this plant is poisonous to pets and children.
  • Rubber plant sap can cause serious skin irritation.
  • Rubber plants are sensitive to temperature changes. Try to keep its environment between 55 degrees F and 80 degrees F.
  • Rubber plants can grow up to 10 feet tall in a home or office, so be prepared for a big plant.

11) Aloe Vera

Aloe vera plants prefer bright, indirect light. While it prefers moist soil, it seems to do just fine if you forget to water it occasionally. Aloe vera is native to southern Africa, but is now a common household and office plant thanks to its usefulness.

PROS

  • The gel-like sap from aloe vera helps heal cuts and burns.
  • Aloe vera absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen at night, making it nice to have in bedrooms.
  • Your aloe vera plant will regularly produce plantlets. These baby plants can be removed to easily start a new plant.

CONS

  • If you take your aloe plant outside for the summer sun, don’t be surprised if it’s a pest magnet. The juices in this succulent are irresistible to sap-sucking insects. If that happens, douse your aloe vera plant with Safer® Brand Insect Killing Soap.

12) Kalanchoe

The kalanchoe is a beautiful flowering plant that needs to be watered frequently and prefers bright light. You should also allow it to dry between waterings. Sadly, kalanchoe is often considered to be a disposable plant once it is done flowering. However, according to Clemson Cooperative Extension Service, kalanchoes may rebloom the following season. Kalanchoe plants are natives of Madagascar, and you can grow them outside if you live in hardiness zones 8 to 10.

PROS

  • The kalanchoe plant can help clean the air in your home or office.
  • New kalanchoe plants can be quickly grown from cuttings.

CONS

  • Many people don’t find kalanchoe attractive when it’s not in bloom. You can trick it to rebloom though — subject it to 12 hours of darkness (in a closet, for example) through a period of six weeks. After that, new flowers should form.

13) Money Plant

Also known as jade plant, it prefers bright light and needs to dry out between waterings. Because it is a slow grower, it rarely needs repotting and seems to do well even when root-bound.

PROS

  • The money plant is one of three plants studied in India for its ability to improve air quality. The other two plants were the mother-in-law’s tongue and the areca palm. The study found that after 15 years, the building with these plants had better air quality than the other buildings in the city, resulting in:
    • 52 percent less eye irritation
    • 34 percent fewer respiratory problems
    • 24 percent fewer headaches
    • 12 percent less lung impairment
    • 9 percent less asthma

CONS

  • This plant can be toxic to pets.
  • Jade plants are susceptible to oedema, where the plant pulls in water faster than it can be used. This results in lesions and black spots on the jade plant leaves.
  • Pests that can infest money plants include aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs and spider mites. Apply Safer® Brand End ALL to destroy these invaders.

14) English Ivy

English ivy (Hedera helix) is an easy-to-grow plant that does not like direct sunlight but does prefer bright light. It needs moist soil and cooler temperatures than most other house plants at about 50°F to 65°F (10°C to 18°C). Ivy likes humidity, so make sure you mist it or place it in a tray of pebbles and water. Regular fertilizing, except during the winter, is important to English ivy.

PROS

  • Research presented to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found ivy reduces air pollutants including mold and dog feces.

CONS

  • It can be toxic to children and pets. This is due to the fact that English ivy generates a chemical called glycoside hederin. This chemical can produce a number of symptoms if ingested, including nausea, diarrhea, fever and difficult breathing.
  • English ivy can cause contact dermatitis to those sensitive to it. It’s not uncommon to confuse this rash with rashes caused by poison ivy.
  • If your light isn’t bright enough, English ivy will become leggy and sickly in appearance. This also leaves them prone to pest problems.

15) Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreen is a popular houseplant not only because of its ease of care but because it comes in so many varieties. Chinese evergreens prefer well-drained soil. Provide them with medium to low indirect light, and with a little extra humidity. The plant also prefers warm temps but can tolerate temperatures as low as 60 degrees as long as you keep it out of drafts. Allow soil to dry between waterings, and fertilize the plant twice a year.

PROS

  • The Chinese evergreen is one of the top 10 air-purifying plants, according to NASA’s list.
  • The plant is easy to care for.

CONS

  • It may be toxic to dogs, cats and even people.
  • Chinese evergreen plants are known to be sensitive to fumes, particularly from oil or gasoline. Exposure results in brown patches on the leaves.
  • Intense fertilizer application can cause brown edges.
  • Susceptible to mealybug and scale invasion. If you recognize these bugs, apply Safer® Brand Insect Killing Soap on both sides of its leaves.

16) Heart Leaf Philodendron

Heart Leaf Philodendron is a vigorous vining plant that makes a great indoor plant for the home or office. It prefers moderate to low indirect light. You should keep the soil moist, and occasionally mist the plant for ideal watering.

PROS

  • It effectively removes VOCs from the air, especially formaldehyde.
  • Heart Leaf Philodendron plants may bloom at any time of the year. Its blooms look a lot like peace lily flowers.

CONS

  • Heart Leaf Philodendron is toxic to pets and children. Pets will exhibit irritation to the mouth, tongue and lips, as well as drooling, vomiting and trouble swallowing.
  • Expect vigorous growth, which will demand regular pruning.
  • This plant is subject to a wide variety of pests, including thrips, scale, mealybugs, spider mites and aphids. Apply Safer® Brand Insect Killing Soap on its leaves to help your plant to recover.

17) Areca Palm

If you’re after a tropical look for your home or office, the areca palm is the one. Areca palm looks exotic, elegant and stately. It prefers bright, indirect light and moist, well-drained soil. However, be careful not to overwater. In the spring, you can try using a time-release fertilizer.

PROS

  • The areca palm is featured on NASA’s list of air-purifying plants.
  • It removes benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air.
  • Areca palm adds humidity to indoor air.
  • Rarely suffers from problems from pests and diseases.

CONS

  • Areca palm plants require a large pot and they can grow quite big.
  • If not acclimated to office or home lighting, it can weaken rapidly after being removed from a greenhouse setting.
  • Can succumb to root rot.

18) Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia, also called dumb cane, is a beautiful plant with leaves that feature an attractive mottled pattern. Dieffenbachia plants need well-drained, moist soil. It does best with low, indirect light, which makes it a great indoor plant for the home and office. Your dieffenbachia can also get as tall as 4 feet or more if you care for it well.

PROS

  • The dumb cane plant can improve indoor air quality.
  • Dieffenbachia is easy to grow when exposed to filtered light.

CONS

  • It’s toxic to pets and children. Pets will drool excessively and demonstrate oral irritation, including difficulty swallowing.
  • Overwatering is a common problem for dieffenbachia plant owners. It needs well-drained soil that is consistently moist but not soggy.
  • It can lean toward light sources, so rotate it regularly to keep it straight.
  • Use Safer® Brand End ALL, which features neem oil, to battle spider mites if they appear. Dieffenbachia reacts poorly to synthetic chemicals, so stick with OMRI Listed® treatments.

19) Peperomia

There are many types of peperomia available as houseplants, which allows you to have a variety of visually different plants that all share the same care instructions. In fact, there are over 1,000 different varieties, and they all belong to the pepper plant family. Peperomias prefer low to moderate light and moist, well-drained soil.

PROS

  • Peperomia offers many unique looks and is easy to grow.
  • Peperomia plants work great in small spaces since they never grow more than 18 inches tall.
  • It’s nontoxic to pets or children.
  • This plant effectively removes formaldehyde from the air.

CONS

  • Overwatering can easily lead to root rot in pepermoia plants.
  • Low temperatures — under 50 degrees F — and cold drafts can damage the leaves of pepermoia.
  • Mealybugs and aphids often target pepermoia plants. Treat these pests with Safer® Brand Insect Killing Soap.

20) Warnack Dracaena

Warnack dracaena adds interest to your interior. It prefers bright, indirect lighting and can thrive in artificial lighting, making it one of the best office plants to grow. Allow it to dry out a bit between waterings. This plant does well even when you forget to water on occasion.

PROS

  • Warnack dracaena can improve indoor air quality.
  • No need for windows! Warnack dracaena thrives well under artificial light.
  • Watch out, your warneck dracaena could reach a height of 12 feet. In an office, that’s probably OK. In a home, it may be a little overwhelming.

CONS

  • Warnack dracaena is toxic to pets, and it presents different symptoms in dogs than in cats. Cats will show dilated pupils, drooling and increased heart rate. Dogs will experience vomiting, depression, loss of appetite and loss of coordination.
  • Use purified water or rain water on your warnack dracaena because it’s sensitive to fluoride.

21) Fiddle-Leaf Fig

Fiddle-leaf fig is tall with big, violin-shaped leaves that make it seem more like a piece of art than a plant. It prefers bright, indirect light and should be allowed to dry between waterings. Make sure you keep it out of drafts when you add it to your home or office, and fertilize the plant monthly during the growing season.

PROS

  • Fiddle-leaf fig trees offer a great, dramatic touch to a room or office space. They grow several feet tall.
  • Fiddle-leaf fig trees and their leaves are nontoxic to people.
  • Like many plants on this list, the fiddle-leaf fig improves indoor air quality.

CONS

  • Fiddle-leaf fig trees are toxic to pets that try to eat it. They will show irritation of their mouth, tongue and lips while drooling and vomiting.
  • Keep this plant in one place. Moving it can cause stress, which leaves it vulnerable to pests and disease.

22) Gerber Daisy

A Gerber daisy plant adds a pop of color to your home or office. It prefers bright, indirect light but not too much heat. Try to keep the soil moist during warm weather, and water the plant less in cooler weather. You should also give it a high-potassium fertilizer monthly.

PROS

  • Gerber daisies improve indoor air quality of your home or office.
  • They are bright and showy plants. Even a single plant can add a nice touch of color to an office.
  • Though it prefers sunlight, indoor lighting can supplement it through winter months.
  • Gerber daisies are considered non-toxic.

CONS

  • It’s difficult to rebloom. To stimulate more blooms, pinch off blooms immediately when wilting is evident.
  • It’s considered a disposable plant, but it can survive for a long time. Repot it if the plant gets too crowded.
  • Aphids, leafminers, spider mites, thrips and whiteflies can all target Gerber daisies. Treat a Gerber daisy plant with Safer® Brand Insect Killing Soap to combat these pests.

23) Dwarf Azalea

The azaleas grown indoors for homes and offices are not the same as the ones you plant in your landscape outside. Both are rhododendrons, but they are different types. Indoor azaleas are often found in florist shops, and they like cool temperatures and indirect light. Make sure you keep the soil moist. If your plant is blooming, place it in an area where it can get at least 6 hours of indirect sunlight a day

PROS

  • Dwarf azaleas offer beautiful flowers to look at. These plants are sure to be the centerpiece to your home or office decor.
  • These plants clean indoor air and remove formaldehyde.
  • Dwarf azaleas can tolerate a wide range of temperatures — from near freezing to 90 degrees F.

CONS

  • The dwarf azalea is toxic to pets and children.
  • It’s difficult to rebloom.
  • Can suffer from root rot. If your dwarf azalea’s leaves turn brown while remaining attached, discard the plant. It will not be able to recover from this condition.

24) Umbrella Tree

The umbrella tree, or schefflera, is an excellent house or office plant. It likes bright, indirect light and, while it prefers moist soil, it will still do well if it dries out occasionally. Be careful not to get too generous with the watering can, since this plant does not grow well with excessive water. An umbrella tree can grow up to 6 feet tall, but you can keep it more manageable by pinching off new growths.

PROS

  • The umbrella tree purifies the air.
  • At most, umbrella trees need to be watered a few times a month.
  • If you’re looking for a bold, showy plant for your home or office, the umbrella tree fits the bill.

CONS

  • The tree is prone to spider mites and scale. To treat these pests, apply Safer® Brand Fruit & Vegetable Insect Killer.
  • Umbrella tree leaves are toxic to pets and children. Dogs and cats will exhibit mild vomiting and diarrhea.

25) Wax Begonia

Wax begonia will produce white and pink or red blooms all summer as long as it is well cared for. It needs moist soil and bright, indirect light. You should keep this plant in a pebble tray with water for humidity and also prune off dead flowers.

PROS

  • You’ll enjoy ongoing flowers all summer thanks to your wax begonia. Remove wilting blooms to encourage more.
  • A wax begonia will improve indoor air quality by removing benzene and other chemicals from the environment.
  • Indoor varieties only grow to about 18 inches, creating a nice shrub for your home or office decor.

CONS

  • The plant is toxic to pets. Tubers of this plant are most topic. Ingestion can result in major oral irritation, leading to drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
  • Wax begonias are susceptible to diseases that develop when they dry out. That being said, avoid soggy soil, too.
  • Scale, spider mites and whiteflies can be problems for wax begonias that grow indoors. Battle these pests with Safer® Brand Fruit & Vegetable Insect Killer.

26) Mint

Mint is one of the best herbs to grow inside because you can control where it spreads. When mint is outdoors, it tends to take over entire regions of your yard. When it’s in a small planter, it can be contained while still offering all the benefits that mint leaves present.

PROS

  • Mint plants act as their own natural insecticide and repel bugs.
  • Mint is great for adding natural flavor to iced tea and other beverages.

CONS

  • Once mint buds, its sprigs lose their signature taste. Pinch off flowering buds as they appear to extend the harvesting season.
  • Mint requires high-moisture conditions to grow, so watering is mandatory!

The Best Indoor Plants in Your Home or Office

The right houseplant can add so much to your indoor environment, including beauty, healthier air and a bit of Zen decor. So don’t worry if you haven’t grown anything before, many of these plants are very suitable for beginners. Pick one, and as your confidence grows, you can start adding more plants to your home.

Let us know how your indoor plant is growing! You can even ask questions about plant care when you visit Safer® Brand on Facebook. We would love to see pictures too, so snap one and post it!

Looking for some more help with your houseplants, lawn and garden? Subscribe to the Safer® Brand E-Newsletter for tips, tricks and ideas for all your growing needs.

In nature, plants will stretch to receive as much light as possible. This stretching is called etiolation. Characteristics of etiolation include long, leggy growth and weak stems. The stems and leaves are often pale in color, typically white or yellow. The pale color is caused from a lack of chlorophyll – the pigment in leaves that makes them green. Internodes (the length between growing points on a stem) are longer and leaves are sparse.

The plant stretches during etiolation because it increases the likelihood of it finding light. Indoor plants will often do this when they are in very low light. In some cases, the stretching will help the plant find light from a nearby window or light.

When plants are grouped together tightly, become overgrown or placed in low light, they will etiolate. Etiolation should be avoided with indoor plants as best as possible because the resulting plant growth is weak, leggy and unattractive.

The best ways to overcome etiolation is to select sites with proper light, space plants appropriately, and keep plants pruned properly to allow light to penetrate all plant surfaces as best as possible.

Green Side Up,

Senior Horticulturalist, Matt Kostelnick

Have a question for our in-house Plant Doctor, Matt? Ask away @ http://www.ambius.com/learn/online/plant-doctor

Croton Leaves Are Fading – Why Is My Croton Losing Its Color

The garden croton (Codiaeum variegatum) is a small shrub with big tropical-looking leaves. Crotons can grow outdoors in gardening zones 9 to 11, and some varieties also make great houseplants, though demanding ones. Their striking red, orange and yellow-striped leaves make the extra work worthwhile. Some varieties even have purple or white stripes and patches on the dark green leaves. But sometimes the bright colors on a croton fade, leaving them with ordinary-looking green leaves. It can be disappointing to notice a croton losing color because those vibrant leaves are this plant’s best feature.

Why is My Croton Losing its Color?

Color loss of croton is common in winter and in low light conditions. Croton plants are native to the tropics, growing wild in Indonesia and Malaysia, and they do best in full sun or bright indoor light. Most often, croton plants with faded leaves are simply not receiving enough light.

Conversely, some colors may fade if crotons are exposed to excessive direct light. Each variety has its own light preferences, so check whether the variety you have does best in full sun or partial sun.

What to Do When Croton Leaves are Fading

If a croton’s colors fade in low light levels, you need to increase the amount of light it is receiving. Bring the croton outdoors during the warm part of the year to give it more light. Be sure to harden off the plant, bringing it outdoors for a few hours at a time and placing it in a shady spot at first, to allow the plant to adjust to the brighter light, wind, and less stable temperatures of the outdoors.

Crotons are not cold hardy and shouldn’t be exposed to temperatures below 30 degrees F. (-1 degree C.). Bring your croton back indoors before the first frost in fall.

If a croton develops fading leaves when it is exposed to excessively bright light, try moving it into the shade or farther away from the window.

To keep your croton healthy during the winter when it has to be indoors, place it near the sunniest window in the house, within 3 to 5 feet (.91 to 1.52 m.) of the glass, or provide a grow light. Legginess is another sign that the plant is not getting enough light.

To ward off other problems that could cause weak coloration in crotons, provide a balanced slow-release fertilizer two to three times a year, but avoid over fertilizing, especially during the winter when growth is slower. Keep soil evenly moist, but avoid waterlogged or poorly drained soil, which may cause leaves to turn yellow. Crotons should be misted to keep them healthy indoors, since they prefer more humidity than most houses provide.

Fittonia leaves losing color

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