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Why Are My Houseplants Drooping? Top 7 Reasons and Solutions.

Drooping leaves is a common problem you may encounter when caring for your plants. While you may think that the plant just needs a big gulp of water, there are many reasons why your plant looks so glum. So be careful and first try to figure out why your plant is hanging its leaves.

Usually, houseplants let their leaves droop when they are underwatered. Other causes include temperature stress, a pest or disease, low humidity, or problems with nutrition. We are happy to help you solve your plant problem!

Why does my plant get droopy leaves?

All plants use some sort of water pressure in their leaves and stems to keep the plant standing proudly. This determines the strength and structure. There is a continuous supply of water from the roots all the way to the tips of the leaves. A drooping leaf is actually the loss of this pressure in the stems and leaves.

Usually, this happens because of an unnatural balance between water intake in the roots and water loss through transpiration. So excessive or underwatering is one of the biggest causes of drooping leaves, but there are other factors that cause your plant to droop its leaves too.

Hanging leaves

Top 7 reasons for houseplant drooping leaves and their solutions

1. Not enough water

Let's start with the most obvious cause of drooping leaves. If you don't water your plant enough, the soil will become dry, and there won't be enough water for the roots to absorb. Eventually, the pressure in the stems and leaves (turgor pressure) will decrease to the point where the leaves will droop.

How to fix it?

The good news is it’s really easy to recognise this problem. If you have not watered your plant for a while, you can check if the soil is dried out. Stick a finger in the soil and feel whether the soil is dry. Is that the case? Then the cause of drooping leaves is probably too little water.

Sometimes you can even see brown and hard leaf edges or leaf tips forming. Give your plant a nice splash of water and take a step back: hopefully, your plant will soon shine again!

Expert tip! You can also use a water meter if you don't want to get your fingers dirty. Simply stick the water meter into the soil and see if it's dry or moist.

2. Too much water

In the last chapter, we discussed how too little water makes houseplants droop their leaves. Actually, exactly the same thing happens when you water your plant too much, but for different reasons.

When you give your plant too much water, it will first show familiar signs, such as browning or yellow leaves. Watering your plant too much will eventually lead to root rot and oxygen shortage at the root level. This ends with damaged and dead roots. With dead roots, the plant cannot absorb water anymore and will therefore become very thirsty. This will cause the same effect as giving too little water: the pressure in the stems and leaves will decrease, causing the leaves to droop.

How to fix it?

Overwatering is a serious problem, and it can be hard to recognise at first. The best thing to do is always check the soil before giving your plant a sip of water and keep an eye out for signs of root rot. Look up what your specific houseplant watering needs are. Generally, it’s important to let your houseplant soil dry a bit before watering it again, and always choose a pot with drainage holes and well-draining soil.

Expert tip! Remember, less is often more when it comes to watering your plants. Most plants handle dry soil better than they do super wet soil. So, if you're unsure, it's a good idea to wait a bit more before the next watering, especially if the soil still feels damp.

3. Excessive heat or direct sunlight

Besides water problems, temperature is also an important cause of drooping leaves. Extreme heat can cause direct damage to the plant. In fact, leaves can also burn! On really hot days, your plant might struggle a bit. It's using water to keep itself cool, and transpiration is in full swing. It's like your houseplant is sweating and is in danger of dehydration. Your plant may get super thirsty, but its roots simply cannot handle the demand for water. This will cause the leaves to droop.

How to fix it?

Always check specific houseplant care guides and see their optimal temperature and whether they handle the direct sun. Is your plant in a place where it gets a lot of direct sunlight, or is it near a heater? Then pay close attention to the health of the plant. The soil dries out much faster, so you have to adjust the watering to the plant's needs. Do you think your plant is in a place that is too warm? If so, move her to another spot. Most plants thrive best in a bright spot with indirect sunlight.

4. Temperature is too low

Cold drafts and temperatures can slow down transpiration, so your houseplant leaves will not get enough water anymore. This will result in drooping leaves. When it comes to freezing cold temperatures, this can freeze the water inside your houseplant's cells, causing them to damage. This also affects water transport. Good to know! Plants can also droop or curl their leaves to protect themselves. This makes the leaf surface area smaller, so less water evaporates, and the plant can conserve its water supply.

How to fix it?

Choose a new warmer spot for your plant as soon as possible if it is in such conditions. Check your plant's care guide for minimum temperatures. Drooping can occur if plants are left in too cold rooms or near drafty windows or doors. Some plants tolerate cool periods, but extreme cold should be avoided.

5. Pests and diseases

Insects that drink the sap of your plant can lead to drooping leaves. Especially mealy bugs, aphids, spider mites or thrips are culprits. A few insects are not a problem, but a large infestation can lead to leaf damage, drooping leaves and, eventually the end of your plant.

How to fix it?

Is your plant getting droopy leaves? Then check the plant carefully for pests. These can often be seen with the naked eye, but a small magnifying glass is super handy to check properly. Think you've spotted a bug? Then read all about the pest on the PLNTS doctor page.

Expert tip! Make it a habit to regularly check your plants for plant pests. This way, you will be on time, and the infestation is easy to control!

6. Low humidity

While most houseplants prefer high humidity, they can manage in average home conditions. Some plants handle low humidity better than others. However, during the heating season, humidity levels may drop even further, which isn't good for plants.

Low humidity can cause your houseplant's leaves to droop as dry air speeds up water loss from the leaves. This can happen even with moist soil, as the plant can't always transport water to the leaves quickly enough to prevent this.

How to fix it?

Do you have a plant that likes high humidity? Read how to increase humidity for plants. You can use a humidifier, place the plants close together or put them in the bathroom. This way, they will not let their leaves droop.

7. Incorrect fertilisation

Giving nutrition can also be a possible cause of drooping leaves. Giving too much plant food is especially problematic. We understand that it is tempting to give your plant a little more nutrition so that it grows bigger and prettier than ever. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work that way!

If your houseplants have a nutrient deficiency, water transport can be affected, resulting in drooping leaves. On the other hand, too much fertiliser can also cause problems. Excessive fertiliser can build salts in the soil, which can damage the roots and interfere with water uptake. Both of these problems cause drooping leaves.

How to fix it?

Keep track of your plant's fertilising schedule, possibly in a diary. Only fertilise from spring to summer. Avoid it in winter when most plants hibernate unless they're still growing fast - a bit of fertilising is okay then.

As you read, there are several reasons why your houseplants may be drooping. It only takes a close look at your houseplants to identify the cause and address it accordingly to restore the beauty of your plants!

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Hi, I'm Emma, your guide!

Hi, I’m Emma, your guide!