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Gardening

6 Reasons Why Your Plants Are Dying

Know how to better take care of those potted green babies

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Photography: @shine_funa on Instagram (Main Photo)

You've already bought all the basic gardening tools needed to start an urban garden. Your herbs and ornamental plants have already found a nice corner in your home. You water them every day. Two weeks later, one—or more—of them has started to wilt, or worse, is already dead. What have you done wrong? Perhaps you're committing one of these mistakes:

There’s too much or too little water

Sometimes, you think it's better to err on the safe side, so you pick up that watering can and give your plants a good shower every day. Unfortunately, too much water can do more harm than good. While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the frequency of watering your plants (requirements vary depending on the kind), a good gauge is the top soil: check if it's already dry before watering again


Too little water can also do damage. In a tropical country like ours, summers can get pretty scorching. Plants that have delicate leaves, like tarragon and mint, will appreciate watering daily during dry season. How do you know if you’re watering too much or too little? When the leaves are yellow or brown but crisp, that means you need to water more; when they're soggy, that means they're drowning. Also, beware of standing water under the pot, as this may cause root rot when not discarded right away.

There's too much or too little sun

While indoor plants don’t need as much sun as others, they still need to be brought out occasionally for some sunbeams. Do so once or twice a week. This is especially important for succulents.


Place them by the window or in areas of your home that still get enough sunlight for hours in a day. Beware, though, as some herbs need shade; too much direct sunlight can burn their leaves. Observe your greens closely and see where they best thrive.

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You’ve mixed the wrong plants together

You can’t just mix plants together in one pot simply because it looks good that way. Some plants, like mint, grow aggressively that they hoard all the nutrients in the soil, leaving the other plant undernourished. So before potting two greens together, do your research or ask advice from the garden center staff.


The plant you have is an annual plant

Plants are either perennial or annual. Perennial plants live year after year through regrowth; annual ones thrive within one cycle and eventually die. Herbs like basil and dill, and ornamentals like marigolds are a few examples of annual plants. That means they will really die within one growing season. 


What do you do? Replant them using their seeds or propagate them through cuttings.

Your plants have become pest food

Pests such as spider mites, aphids, worms, and caterpillars are common garden invaders. Before buying a pot from a garden supplies store, check first if there are no signs of pest infestation (the leaves should be healthy—there should be no holes, which are obvious signs that worms have been having a feast). If your plant is infested, try to get rid of the pest using organic means (especially if it’s an herb). Keep it away from your other plants. If all else fails, let it go, but make sure to thoroughly clean the pot before planting another one in it.

The soil is no longer healthy

Plants consume nutrients in the soil, so once there are no more nutrients to eat, the soil is no longer healthy for your plant.


Make it a habit to repot every six months or once a year to ensure that your greens get enough nutrients they need all year long. Of course, fertilizers help in making your plants healthy, but make sure to use organic ones for herbs (you don’t want to consume chemicals!). 

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