Indoor Plant Damage

Overview

Although house plants are more protected from weather elements than plants grown outdoors, they still can become damaged. Rather than injury because of fungal diseases and bacteria, most house plants are hurt from environmental imbalances. An indoor environment needs to match the original habitat of a plant if the house plant is to grow successfully. It's much easier to choose plants with the same environmental conditions of a home than alter a home to go along with the plant.

Environmental Factors

Some of the main environmental reasons house plants are damaged include an imbalance in environmental factors such as light, water, temperature, ventilation and humidity. If any of these elements are in wrong proportions a house plant won't grow properly. Light is the most critical factor for house plants not becoming damaged. Both over watering and under watering comprise other major reasons for damaged houseplants.

Symptoms

Soft or mushy stem bases are a symptom of over watering and can cause a house plant to rot. Tips of leaves turning brown are a symptom of either excess or inadequate water, as well as over fertilizing. Dry brittle leaves could possibly mean a house plant has low humidity or not enough water. Leaves dropping are a symptom of either excess fertilizer or sun. Brown or yellow spots found on a house plant's leaves are another sign of too much water or sun. Slow plant growth may be due to insufficient sunlight, fertilizer or water.

Considerations

Sometimes fertilizers are able to replace needed nutrients that are lacking in soil. Although nutrients are in potting soil, a house plant that remains potted in the same container for years can suffer from nutritional depletion of phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium, according to the Classic Garden website. Usually these nutrients are found in plant food solutions and can be easily added to house plants.

Misconception

Many plant caretakers believe that adding sugar to their house plants helps them grow, but plant damage can result from doing this. Sugar added to plant water pulls water from a plant and back into the soil through the osmosis process. This causes damage to a plant and results in leaves wilting because the plant's water tissues are deprived.

Warning

House plants shouldn't be left in a hot car because rising temperatures can destroy them quickly. When traveling house plants can be easily burned from sun shining through a car window even though the car is air conditioned, so plants should be shaded with paper bags or newspaper. In winter house plants should be thoroughly wrapped when transporting them in a car as only a quick run in freezing temperatures can damage or kill them.

Keywords: house plant damage, caring for house plants, house plant problems

About this Author

Venice Kichura has written on a variety of topics for various websites, such as Suite 101 and Associated Content since 2005. She's written articles published in print publications and stories for books such as "God Allows U-Turns." She's a graduate of the University of Texas and has worked in both Florida and Connecticut schools.