Nov 20, 2023 | Fundraising

How Do I Make Sure My Plants Are Healthy?

Bloom Spring Flowers | So Pretty

What Leaves Tell You About Your Plant

What may seem like an endlessly complex formula, plant care is all about balance of care. Too much water or light can damage a plant, but so can too little. By understanding the visual signs you will know exactly what your plants need and how to adjust how you care for them. Keeping indoor plants healthy is essentially following a few guidelines and periodically checking in to see if the plants need additional care or adjustments. Water, light, nutrients, temperature, and humidity are the main things your plant needs to not only survive but thrive. Continue reading to learn more about the signs of a plant struggling to stay healthy.

Signs Your Plants Aren’t Healthy and How To Help Them

Plant Care: The Color of Leaves

One of the easiest ways to tell if your plants are healthy is to look at their leaves. Plant leaves are a direct indicator of whether or not your plants are getting enough water and light, or need some changes in their care routine. When plant leaves change color or have an abnormal hue this is a clear sign something needs to change. When a plant has leaves of a lighter color this typically is an indicator that the plant requires more light. Try experimenting by moving your plant closer to a window or to a new window altogether; south-facing windows receive the most amount of light and can make for a happy plant!

If a plant is getting too much light the leaves may appear scorched and look like they have been burned. It’s likely a plant with scorched marks is receiving too much direct light and the plant needs to be moved to a spot where it receives indirect light. If the leaves of plants turn yellow it likely means your plant is being overwatered or the air in the environment is too dry. If the water is not drying out within a week the plant is probably waterlogged and the watering regime should be changed. Leaves with brown tips are likely not getting enough water, or the soil of your plant contains too much fertilizer.

Healthy Plants & Their Leaves

Another indicator your houseplants aren’t healthy is the behavior of the leaves. Your plant may be telling you it’s not getting the right amount of water, it has a plant disease, the soil isn’t draining, or the environment is too hot or dry. Being aware of these common houseplant issues makes diagnosing your plants and helping them get back to a healthy state much easier.

If your plant is dropping leaves it is likely not getting the appropriate amount of light. When plants aren’t getting enough light they’re not able to produce enough energy to sustain themselves, so plants will let leaves fall off in order to preserve energy. It can be somewhat common for plants to lose a few leaves in the wintertime due to a lack of sunlight. Sunlight can be supplemented by putting grow lights near plants. If this occurs regularly try moving your plant to a new area of your home so it can get additional light. Some plants will lose leaves after being relocated but will bounce back if the environment provides all that they need to grow.

With houseplants one of the most difficult things to diagnose is wilting leaves. Plants having wilted leaves can be a symptom of a few different issues so determining the cause isn’t always straightforward. A plant may not be getting the appropriate amount of water which can cause wilting leaves. If the soil doesn’t dry out your plant may need a pot that drains faster. Check to make sure the temperature and humidity around the plant are both appropriate as this too can cause plant leaves to wilt. In some cases, a plant with wilting leaves is a sign the plant has struggled beyond saving.

Root Disease

Root disease can be detrimental to a plant under your care. By understanding the signs of root disease and root rot you can effectively adapt your plant care routine and provide it a healthy life. Root rot is typically caused by the soil retaining water for too long, or not being able to completely dry out between waterings. When a plant is getting too much water the roots don’t receive enough oxygen. Because the roots of the plant aren’t able to get enough oxygen the roots begin to decay and can die off. This cuts off nutrients to the plant making it more and more difficult for the plant to get water and food.

Another cause of root rot is a plant fungus. A fungus that attaches to the roots of a plant will thrive in a moist environment. In cases where the plant receives too much water regularly, this provides the perfect circumstances for fungi to grow and damage your plant. To avoid plant root rot or try to remove plant fungi you can improve your watering care routine. Make sure your plant is in soil that drains well, avoid overwatering the plant, and if necessary use a fungicide to try to kill off the fungus.

Plant Pests

When a plant is infested by pests it can be extremely frustrating. The process of getting rid of pests can be long and require multiple steps, however it is possible to save your plant. There are a handful of plant pests, and identifying them is important to know how to proceed. If one of your plants has pets isolate it from other plants to stop the spread. Wiping the entire plant clean will remove many of the pests. If they live in the plant soil you may need to place a trap and temporarily reduce watering the plant to stop the pests from laying more eggs. There are multiple options to treat your plant including insecticides, essential oils, and other natural products that when used correctly won’t damage your plant. Spraying the plant and then rinsing it with water will get rid of many pests. These next steps will depend on what pests your plant has. Once this process is completed, wait several days and search for new signs of pests. Repeat this process if necessary to save your plant!

Stretched Growth & Leaning Plants

You may notice, especially during months with more cloud coverage, that your plants may grow differently. If your plant seems to be growing with longer stems than normal or have leaves spread apart by long stems it’s likely not getting the appropriate amount of light.

When plants aren’t receiving enough light the plants can begin to grow longer towards the direction of the light source. Plants do this naturally to try and find more sun exposure. When plants do this usually they need to be moved to a window with more light, or the plant may need an artificial grow light. Grow lights help plants get the energy they need to grow properly. If your plants are leaning heavily this may be another sign the plants are looking for more light. Plants that aren’t getting enough light will look uneven. By placing your plant closer to a better light source you can provide a more healthy environment.


The way soil behaves can tell you a lot about houseplants. If the soil that a plant is living in isn’t providing the right environment or nutrients the plant will suffer. The longer a plant is living in soil that has been stripped of nutrients the more difficult it will be for the plant to grow. Typically houseplants need to be repotted every year or year and a half, however, this depends on the rate of growth, which is unique to each plant.

If the soil around your plant isn’t drying out this could mean the soil is too dense and that it holds on to too much water. Some dense soil mixtures retain far too much water for houseplants, which can cause issues with the plants and their growth. To keep plants healthy make sure the soil is draining properly. If the soil is not retaining any water it could be that the soil needs to be rehydrated by breaking up the soil and submerging the entire plant and pot in water until the air is all gone. Let it drain and periodically check to see if the roots are getting enough water.

Getting Enough Light for Your Houseplants

Light is one of the key ingredients your plants need in order to thrive. Often one of the biggest issues people find with plants they adopt is a lack of light. By ensuring your plant gets the appropriate amount of direct and indirect light it will provide the energy the plant needs to continue growing stronger and taller.

JOCO Growers Providing Locally Grown Plants

JOCO Growers works with local institutions and schools to provide plants for fundraising. Our greenhouse space grows plants throughout the year to support local schools and help them get the resources they need to provide for their students. Please reach out to JOCO Growers to learn more about partnering with us for your next fundraiser.