If you have a houseplant and are noticing yellowing or wilted leaves, don’t give up just yet! There are several reasons why your plant might just need a little bit of TLC, and every plant is different. Let’s discuss the three main reasons why your plants might look like they’re dying to help give you some ideas on how to care for them properly.

Over/Under Watering

One of the biggest reasons why your plant might be struggling is due to the amount of water it’s getting (or not getting). While it may seem like more water = healthier plant, it’s actually quite the opposite. Giving plants too much water can cause root rot—especially if their containers don’t have drainage. If you notice your plant’s leaves are yellowing, turning brown at the tips, or falling consistently, you are likely overwatering. On the flip side, underwatering can cause leaves to dry out, turn brown, and wilt.

Before you water, check the soil. Put your index finger into the soil about one or two inches, and see if it feels dry all the way through before giving your plant more water.

Person pruning wilting houseplant

Too Much or Too Little Light

The second reason your plant may be wilting is that it isn’t getting the right amount of sunlight. Plants vary in the amount of sunlight they need—for example, jade plants do best in bright sun while spider plants do well in partial shade. Yellowing leaves, lengthening stems, and lessening leaf growth can be signs your plant is not getting enough light. If your watering routine is on track and your plant still seems to be suffering, try moving it to a different area with more or less light!

Wrong Type of Potting Mix

Not all potting mix is created the same, and the mix you use should be taken into account for each houseplant you acquire. Most potting mix is a combination of peat moss, vermiculite, sand, and perlite. A good potting mix allows for proper aeration and drainage within the controlled environment of a planter. With these types of soilless mixes, you will need to include fertilizer in your plant care routine. If you are not sure what type of potting mix your houseplant needs, do a little bit of research before repotting, or visit your local gardening supplier to get an expert’s opinion.

A well-maintained houseplant will fare better and live longer than one in non-ideal conditions. If you’re noticing yellowing leaves or wilted plants and aren’t sure why it’s happening, there could be a more simple fix than you might think.