Ask An Expert: Why Are My Houseplants Looking Unhappy?

Houseplants can experience the winter blues, too. Make sure you are pampering them with these tips to raise their spirits and you’ll help turn any houseplant frowns upside down.

Does your houseplant have enough light?

Your houseplant may not be getting enough light. Make sure it is near a bright window: south or west exposure is the best in winter. You can also add an artificial light source.

Does your houseplant like the temperature?

Typically, houseplants fair the best 65°-75° during the day and not dropping below 50° at night. 

Keep your houseplants away from cold drafts and heating sources.

— Mary-Ann M., Prairie Gardens Plant Expert

Does you houseplant have enough humidity?

Humidity levels drop in the winter. You can up the humidity with a humidifier or by misting your houseplants with a spray mister.

Are you watering correctly?

Symptoms from over-watering and under-watering can often be the same, so it can be difficult to figure out what you are doing wrong. In general, most houseplants like to dry out between waterings. 

Use the finger test to know when to water: stick your finger about an inch to two inches into the soil. Water if the soil is dry. Wait to water and check again if the soil is wet.

— John W., Prairie Gardens Plant Expert

Are you fertilizing?

Houseplants should not be fertilize in winter, wait until spring to fertilize.

Do you think your houseplant may have a disease or pests?

Inspect your houseplants for anything odd, such white powder on the leaves (Powdery Mildew), spots on the leaves (Leaf spot), insects and more. If you suspect a disease or insect issue, bring in a sample leaf with the issue in a plastic bag. Prairie Gardens Plant Experts will help you diagnose the problem and help with a solution.

Want to hear more from our garden experts? Tune in to our Radio Show:

Coffee With the Plant Experts

LIVE at Prairie Gardens


A panel of plant experts answer all your lawn and garden questions live at Prairie Gardens.

Listen on NewsTalk 1400 WDWS-AM Saturdays at 8:15-9:00AM

Personalities: Ed Kelly & Temera McDanielP

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