Decorating houses with plants has become the in-thing. People today prefer furnishing their home and office with beautiful plants and thus it becomes very necessary to keep the plants healthy and looking great. However, maintaining healthy plants indoors can sometimes be difficult. However if you are a kind of person who enjoys the company of your plants and love taking care of them then you should know the different types of problems that your plants face and know about the solutions. Thus if you enjoy the challenge of growing plants indoors, you will still need to use time and ingenuity to figure out what is causing problems when they occur. Following are a few common houseplant diseases with possible causes and remedies.

Leaf-spots, flower spots and scars

Fungi and bacteria may cause spots. If you suspect bacteria or fungus is causing spots, remove and destroy the affected plant parts, avoid splashing water on the foliage since this spreads the microorganisms causing the problem, and provide good air circulation. Infection only occurs under moist air conditions or if standing water is left on the foliage for prolonged periods. Too much light or heat causes pale washed out, white or gray spots, usually irregular in shape and size. Brown corky spots or lumps can be caused by too much water, especially during cool, humid weather. Many tropical plants develop spots on foliage that is old and ready to be dropped. This is normal.


Wilting means that the plant is not able to replace the water lost by evaporation. The cause is some types of fungi and bacteria enter the plant roots through the soil and destroy the water-conducting ability of the plant as a result of which leaves wilt and become pale, eventually turning brown; growth is reduced and the plant may soon die. To determine the cause, you must examine the roots of the plant. Sometimes over watering and lack of drainage will cause the roots to die because of lack of air. Thus provide drainage, and reduce watering. Growing plants in small pots may also cause wilts. A pot-bound plant, which has filled its pot with roots, which can often be seen growing out of the bottom of the pot, will wilt because there isn't enough soil to hold the water for all those roots. Hence the solution is to repotting the plant in a larger pot. Sometimes infection by root knot nematodes will result in wilting. Look for lumps and bumps on the root system. Infected plants and soil should be destroyed.

Top, stem or root rot

Certain fungi cause root rots, which are usually aggravated by too much water. If only a small amount of the roots have been affected, drenching the soil with fungicides may cure the disease. Fungal root rots will eventually cause a wilted top. Cutting dead roots and repotting in clean soil usually obtain good results. If most of the roots are dead, the plant should be discarded. The microorganisms that cause these problems thrive in moist conditions, so plants, which have root rots as a result of over watering, are highly susceptible to infection. Always place the plant in dry, ventilated room and avoid too much watering because at first the plant seems like it needs water and the leaves droop. It is only a false sign. Withhold water until progress of the disease is halted.

Yellowing of the entire plant

Yellowing of the plant may result from too little light, too little fertilizer, insects or mites. Most often yellowing is caused because of over watering. As above, check for drainage in the pot, examine the roots and if root is dark, rotten and dead, it is better to discard the plant.

Botrytis blot

This disease generally appears as a fuzzy gray growth and is basically caused because of fungus. This fungal disease mostly develops on any aboveground part of the plant as a result of high humidity or overcrowding, or if dead leaves or flowers have been left on the plant. Thus always spend some time to remove old leaves and flowers. Increase ventilation and keep the plants in dry places, avoid too much humidity and moisture. Treatment with a recommended fungicide may be necessary.

Viral and bacterial diseases

Viral diseases rarely cause serious problems with houseplants. These parasitic microorganisms multiply only in living plant cells. They cause a variety of symptoms like, ring spots, abnormal leaf growth, etc. Bacterial diseases cause root and stem rots, wilts, leaf spots and galls on the different plant parts and are difficult to control. To keep plants safe from bacterial diseases keep plants in dry places with proper ventilation and do not over water your plants.

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