Why Are the Leaves Falling Off My Indoor Plant?

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Houseplant need a little love and attention
Houseplant need a little love and attention (Image: House Plant - Croton image by evillager from Fotolia.com)

Indoor plants help to brighten the room and add an element of life. They help to filter the air and some deter pesky insects. Living inside is not a natural environment for a plant so special care is needed to look after them to keep them in a healthy state.

Leaf Drop

Leaf drop can affect plants for a variety of reasons, which range from insects to temperature to lack of sunlight or water. In many cases the symptoms the plant is exhibiting is the only method to determine what the problem might be in order to treat the plant accordingly. Keeping indoor plants healthy is important as even the slightest stress can require a lengthy recovery.

Too little Light

If a plant does not receive adequate sunlight it can not perform photosynthesis, the process of turning light energy into sugars for growth. The new leaf growth will be smaller and wide gaps will form between each leaf. The lower leaves will eventually turn yellow, dry and fall. If you notice this happening move the plant closer to a window or a natural light source.

Too little light will impact the plants ability to photosynthesis
Too little light will impact the plants ability to photosynthesis (Image: bright darkness image by Komlyk from Fotolia.com)

Too Cold or Too Hot

Plants exposed to the cold will have the leaves curl, turn brown and fall off the plant. By contrast plants exposed to the heat will experience elongated stem growth, the lower leaves will wilt, turn brown and fall. If sudden changes in temperature are experienced the leaves will quickly yellow and fall off the plant. In any of these situations it is important to keep the plant in a moderate environment.

Temperature changes can be fatal for plants
Temperature changes can be fatal for plants (Image: temperature image by berkay from Fotolia.com)

Drought

If a plant does not get enough water its cells will become dehydrated and shrivel and it will not be able to perform internal functions. The leaves will turn yellow and curl, falling off the plant. To prevent dehydration water house plants on a weekly basis. Place their bases in a saucer of water for 10 minutes and then remove. The plant will absorb only the water it requires directly through its roots. This method also prevents minerals and nutrients from being washed out of the soil.

Water is crucial to survival
Water is crucial to survival (Image: dry field image by Adrian Hillman from Fotolia.com)

Insects

A mite colony can cause a plant to lose its leaves. There will be a kind of spider web like material on the plant. The leaves will turn yellow and become dotted and may fall off the plant. To control mites it is important to get a bug spray for plants or using a mild solution of dish liquid that's wiped over the plant can help get rid of them.

A mite on a tree.
A mite on a tree. (Image: Spinnmilbe image by Pepie from Fotolia.com)

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References

  • "Yates Garden Guide"; Arthur Yates, et al.; 2007
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