Frequently asked questions about houseplants

Frequently asked questions about houseplants

 

Q: My Pothos plant is dripping! Is this normal? Is the liquid harmful?

A: What you’re seeing is called transpiration. Your plant is taking in more water than it can use and is “sweating” off the excess. The liquid is just water and isn’t dangerous.

To stop the dripping, cut back on watering and make sure to give it plenty of light. Increase the air circulation around the plant and if you live in a very humid climate, consider a dehumidifier.

Q: Someone gave me a plant called Purple Passion. It’s lovely but the flowers STINK! Is this normal?

A: Unfortunately, yes! Purple Passion (Gynura) is known for its fuzzy purple leaves. It also produces vivid orange flowers, but they smell like rotting meat! In the future, as soon as you see any flower buds, remove them.

 

Q: Help! The soil my houseplants are in smells awful!

A: Time for new soil! The odor you smell is most likely from a build up of salts. Take the plants out of their pots and remove the soil from the roots. Dump out the pots and scrub them well with warm soapy water with 1 tablespoon bleach added per gallon. Dry well and repot your plants with fresh soil. If they seem root bound, pot them up in a new pot that’s one size larger.

Q: Why do my Spider Plants have brown tips?

A: This is a common occurrence, usually caused by excess salts in the soil or in the water used to water them. To prevent, cut back on feeding, and be sure to water until the excess pours out of the bottom of the pot. Allow it to drain thoroughly. This will flush out the soil. If it’s water that’s causing it, use distilled water to water them. The existing brown tips can be snipped off with a pair of shears.

Q: The leaves of my Jade plant are turning red! Is this normal?

A: Yes, and it’s a sign your plant is very happy! When Jade plants get plenty of bright light the leaf edges turn a bright reddish color.

Q: My clover plant is dying. What am I doing wrong?

A: Clover, also known as Oxalis, is a very easy-going houseplant. Chances are it's not dying, just going into a period of dormancy. They usually do this when temperatures climb above 85, but will also do so if they are under watered. If this is the case, snip of the dying foliage, water thoroughly, and set where it will get bright light. In a few days, new shoots will appear. If it’s heat causing the dormancy, the plant will come out of it naturally once the temperature drops.