Indoor plants are much more dependent on feeding than garden plants. Thanks to top dressing, they get everything they need to grow, release new leaves, develop patterns on them or bloom. The substrate is depleted several months after transplanting. And if you do not replenish the reserves of nutrients, plants quickly begin to show signs of macro- and micronutrient deficiencies. Leaves are the first and most obvious signal to signal it. About the deficit or surplus of which elements the leaves of indoor plants will “tell”, and how to solve the problem by adjusting fertilizers, we will tell in the article.
25 indoor plant problems you can identify by their leaves Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com bobvila
When diagnosing problems with indoor plants by the state and color of the leaves, it is necessary to adjust the feeding only after a qualitative analysis. First of all, you need to consider and exclude all other possible causes. It is most convenient to use a simple list of conditions and points of care, which are “crossed out” in turn:
- Lighting: Could deviations of light regimes from the usual and recommended for a particular plant species cause these problems? For example, leaves often turn pale when there is insufficient light, and not only when there is a lack of phosphorus in the soil. Particular attention should be paid to the effect of direct sunlight on the leaves, because it is this factor that most often causes the appearance of burns and spots on them.
- Temperature: how does it differ from the plant’s preferred ranges? Spots on the leaves can also appear from hypothermia, and not only from a lack of nitrogen.
- The presence of drafts and sudden temperature changes, proximity to batteries and air conditioners.
- Irrigation quality, the degree of substrate moisture and analysis of how much the soil dries out between water treatments.
- Natural processes shedding or partial shedding of leaves, withering away of the oldest leaves.
- The presence of traces of disease or pests, including those living in the soil.
- Transplant timing, the need for replanting and the possible lack of space for the development of the root system.
Only if all of the above reasons have been excluded, should you suspect problems with feeding.
1. Slowdown in growth
Slow growth, slow development, atypical absence of new leaves, excluding any other causes that could cause this problem, indicate a slight deficiency of all nutrients. It may occur if you forgot about feeding, picked up the wrong schedule for these procedures, or if it is time to transplant the plant.
Correction method: transplanting into a more spacious container, resuming feeding or changing their frequency.
Withering, drooping leaves, the plant looks stunted and lifeless, despite normal watering and the exclusion of all other factors. Withering, most often, signals that the plant lacks all or almost all macro- and microelements for a long time. Problems are associated with a lack of feeding or transplants.
Correction method: plant transplant with complete soil replacement, start or resumption of top dressing. If the type of plant allows – foliar feeding too. If the plant has not been fed for a long period, the procedures should be resumed with greatly reduced doses of fertilizers and gradually.
3. Loss of variegation
The loss of variegation in plants with pubescent leaves always indicates an excess of fertilizers and too frequent feeding.
Correction method: stopping feeding until the color resumes or reducing the dosage of fertilizers.
4. Rapid growth to the detriment of flowering
Vigorous growth to the detriment of flowering, overgrowth, disturbance of shape and the release of numerous shoots and leaves usually indicates an excess of nitrogen.
Associated signs: vulnerability to pests and diseases, impaired fruiting, loss of bright, dark leaf color.
Correction method: replacement of fertilizers with mixtures with a reduced nitrogen content or not containing nitrogen. Or a temporary stop of feeding until growth is restored.
5. Loss of characteristic colors
The loss of characteristic colors in ornamental-deciduous plants may indicate an excess amount of nitrogen in the soil.
Correction method: replacing fertilizers with mixtures with a low nitrogen content or nitrogen-free preparations, or temporarily stopping feeding until the pattern is restored.
6. Darkening of leaves
Darkening of the leaves, increased colors when the shoots are pulled out also indicate an excess of nitrogen in the soil.
Correction method: replacement of fertilizers with a mixture with a reduced nitrogen content or without nitrogen, a temporary stop of fertilizing until growth is restored.
7. Slight blanching of leaves turning into continuous browning
Slight blanching of the leaves, starting or radiating from the veins, then giving way to repainting in a yellowish tone, and then to continuous browning. Moreover, the process begins with the lowest and oldest leaves and spreads along the crown of the plant.
Such signs always indicate a nitrogen deficiency. Sometimes yellowing is confused with a lack of sulfur, but a lack of nitrogen is always easier to recognize, because the inherent divergence of pallor from leaf veins is not typical for a lack of sulfur.
Associated signs: growth disorders, the plant is sluggish, inactively releasing new leaves.
Correction method: replacement of the applied fertilizer with a reduced dosage of nitrogen for a balanced one or containing a higher percentage of nitrogen. The use of nitrogen-containing fertilizers and biological preparations, the application of fertilizers for decorative leafy plants as additional feeding. Foliar nitrogen fertilization is ineffective.
8. Old and lower leaves turn yellow evenly
Old and lower leaves evenly turn yellow, and the color of the rest seems to deteriorate and becomes expressionless with an excess of potassium.
Associated signs: shortening of peduncles, blanching of the characteristic color of flowers.
Correction method: stopping feeding or excluding potassium from their composition (finished preparations are replaced with a mixture of nitrogen-phosphorus fertilizers).
9. Leaves gradually fade from the edge
Starting from the very edge, the leaves gradually turn pale, turn brown without yellowing, but not on the entire leaf plate, but as if crawling to the edges. Most often, the process without the yellowing stage affects the oldest leaves of herbaceous plants and the lower ones – indoor shrubs. Such processes indicate a slight lack of potassium.
Correction method: replacing the fertilizers habitual to the plant with preparations with a low nitrogen content or an increased potassium content, several dressings with pure potassium fertilizers in low concentration, followed by correction of the main complex preparation.
10. Yellowing of the edge of the leaves
Yellowing of the edge of the leaves, which slowly spreads from the tip, and in a neglected state begins to turn into dying off from the edges to the middle, always indicates a lack of potassium.
Associated signs: lack of flowering, loss of bright patterns on the leaves, plants hardly set fruit.
Correction method: temporary stop of fertilizing, replacement of basic fertilizers with preparations that do not contain phosphorus or fertilizers with an increased dose of potassium.
11. Very fast yellowing
Very rapid yellowing and shedding of the oldest leaves, massive yellowing of the lower leaves in indoor shrubs and trees most often indicates an excess of phosphorus in the soil.
Associated signs: the plant grows old quickly, the trunks become bare, there is a feeling of accelerated development.
Correction method: stopping top dressing until the signs are eliminated, fertilizer correction with the exclusion of phosphorus from their composition (replacing the main preparation with a fertilizer mixture that creates only potash-nitrogen mixtures).
12. Blanching of leaves with reddening of the edges
Blanching of the leaves, which, as the problem intensifies, is also complemented by reddening of the edges of the leaves and the beginning of their drying, always indicates a lack of phosphorus.
Associated signs: growth problems, absence or delay of flowering, small deformed fruits.
Correction method: replacement of basic fertilizers with preparations containing phosphorus in normal amounts or with an increased dose of phosphorus, resumption of dressings, if they have not been carried out, the use of monofertilizers with a temporary stop of dressings with other macronutrients, transplantation.
13. Appearance of yellowish or whitish spots
The appearance of yellowish or whitish, seemingly colorless spots, gradually turning into whole areas, blanching or partial blanching of leaves with fading indicates an insufficient amount of magnesium. The leaves are affected by chlorosis, starting with the oldest, they do not recover even after the restoration of normal feeding.
Correction method: replacement of basic fertilizers with preparations containing the entire set of microelements or the use of magnesium monofertilizers as additional procedures.
14. Blanching of the underside of the leaves
The blanching of the underside of the leaves is observed only between the veins, over time, capturing the entire leaf plate and complemented by the manifestation of purple-violet hues at the edges of the leaves, which begin to blush more and more, also indicates a lack of magnesium. The process on decorative deciduous plants can begin not only on old leaves, but on any leaves unevenly throughout the plant.
Correction method: the use of magnesium monofertilizers in liquid form (foliar dressing is ineffective).
15. Acquisition of uncharacteristic reddish, lilac, violet color
Acquisition of an uncharacteristic reddish, lilac, purple color, first along the edges, and then throughout the entire leaf plate, while the central vein remains green – symptoms of magnesium deficiency in non-variegated plants.
Correction method: the use of monofertilizers – magnesium preparations.
16. Growth retardation and deformation of plants
Dwarfism, growth retardation and deformation of plants, accompanied by the death and drying out of the upper buds, are associated with calcium deficiency.
Associated signs: the problem can be completely diagnosed only by the roots, which, with a lack of calcium, thicken and become many times shorter, but at the same time become covered with visible mucus.
Correction method: introduction of monofertilizers – calcium preparations, transplantation with soaking roots in fungicides and replacing soil.
17. Discoloration and blanching of the top or youngest leaves
A pronounced discoloration and blanching of the upper or youngest leaves, which does not affect the old part of the bushes or crown and quickly turns brown, always indicates an insufficient amount of iron.
Correction method: replacing simple drugs with mixtures with not only macro-, but also microelements and the use of monofertilizers – iron preparations.
18. Yellow-green spots on the leaves
Yellow-green spots that densely cover the leaf plates with a loss of their turgor and density (the leaves seem to become thinner) are the main symptom of copper deficiency.
Associated signs: the stems of the plant become both thin and very tough.
Correction method: replacement of conventional preparations for fertilizers with a high content of trace elements or additional feeding with copper preparations.
19. Small pale specks between veins
Small pale specks appear on the leaves between the veins with a zinc deficiency. The more this element is lacking in the plant, the more rusty spots appear on the leaves, which can cover the plate with a solid speck. The basic color of the leaves, even in variegated plants, becomes as if grayish or bluish, and then the leaves acquire a characteristic bronze tone.
Correction method: replacement of basic fertilizers with preparations containing the entire set of trace elements or the use of monofertilizers with zinc as additional procedures.
20. The appearance of a gray shade of color
The appearance of a gray shade of color or a bluish bloom in non-pubescent plants indicates a lack of zinc.
Correction method: replacement of basic fertilizers with preparations containing the entire set of trace elements or the use of monofertilizers as additional procedures.
21. Blanching and yellowing of the leaf with normal color of the veins
Despite the fact that the veins retain their usual intense color, the tissue of the leaf plate between them turns pale and turns yellow evenly and strongly enough. As damage progresses, the edges of the leaves become as if rusty, an orange tint appears on them. These symptoms are essential for recognizing manganese deficiency.
Correction method: the use of mono-fertilizers – manganese preparations. If before this feeding was carried out with preparations that do not contain trace elements, then the choice of a quality preparation in the early stages can solve the problems with manganese deficiency in the soil.
22. Uniform yellowing of all leaves
A uniform yellowing covering the entire surface of the leaves indicates a lack of sulfur.
Associated signs: slowing down or stopping growth.
Correction method: replacement of basic fertilizers with preparations containing the entire set of microelements or the use of monofertilizers of sulfur as additional procedures.
23. Elongation, elongation of shoots
Elongation, elongation of shoots while maintaining the shape and size of the leaf, gradually complemented by lignification of not only twigs, but also leaf petioles, indicates an insufficient amount of sulfur in the soil.
Associated signs: unhealthy, depressed look.
Correction method: the use of microfertilizers or sulfur preparations.
24. Initial signs of chlorosis
At the edges of the youngest leaves and at the base of the rest, at first, partial, as if blurred, signs of chlorosis are observed, which quickly turn into necrosis. These symptoms are signs of boron deficiency.
Correction method: the use of monofertilizers – boron preparations.
25. Burns on leaves
Burns on leaves, flower petals, buds, pedicels, if exposure to direct sun is excluded, indicate improper or excessive foliar feeding. Problems can be associated with the concentration of fertilizers in the solution, and with the technique of this procedure, and with excessive frequency of treatments, and with the wrong time (such dressings should be carried out only in the evening or early in the morning).
Correction method: change in dosage, time or refusal of foliar dressing.
Correction of top dressing after a careful analysis of possible difficulties will restore the balance of nutrients in the soil and will not require serious measures.
But if the situation has gone too far, the plant grew for a long time with a lack of nutrients or suffered from an excess of them, more drastic measures will be required: transplantation with partial or complete replacement of the soil, stop feeding or a gradual increase in the concentration of drugs until normal growth resumes.
If additional feeding with monofertilizers can help, it is always better to use this option instead of transplanting (if there is no physical need for it).
The range of preparations for restoring the balance of individual elements can be evaluated in any nearest flower shop or garden center (of course, you can use ash, copper sulfate, etc., but it is better to use professional products with known properties).