Millions of self-proclaimed plant parents around the world have joined the realm of indoor gardening in recent years. Houseplants have taken over as the hottest design trend in interiors and gardening. Unfortunately, their status as a décor item rather than a living thing has led to many early plant deaths, causing previously excited new gardeners to label themselves ‘black thumbs’.

However, I don’t really think black thumbs exist. What kills these plants is not some pre-determined ability you have or don’t have to keep a houseplant alive. Often, it is an excess of love and constant worry about the well-being of our houseplants that ultimately leads to their demise.

Overwatering is the most common example. When you first bring a plant home, you likely give it water to ensure it’s happy in its new space. You may water it again a few days later as the plant is top of mind, believing it needs additional moisture or didn’t get enough the first time around. Later, you set a schedule to water every three to four days based on your research, only to find your plant wilting and yellowing within a few weeks.

Root rot, caused by overwatering or lack of drainage, is one of the most common causes of houseplant deaths. Although it may come from a place of love, the constant fuss over whether your plants have enough water will have the opposite effect as intended. Sometimes, a big heart rather than black thumbs does the damage.

The same can be said for many houseplant mistakes done out of love. Fertilizing too often, moving your plants constantly to find the perfect position, or placing them in full sun can lead to many growth issues that are difficult to resolve. Before you act, take a step back and consider what your houseplants need. They are happy to be left alone more often than you may think.


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