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Houseplant Leaf Drop

As the weather cools in the Fall, it's time to take our houseplants in for the winter. This needs to be done before the first frost.

One of the most common houseplant problems is leaf drop. Your houseplant has enjoyed a season of full sunlight, and warm temperatures. Houseplant leaf drop is normal when you bring them indoors. It's nature's way of helping the plant to adjust to the sudden change in climate. With less sunlight and cooler temperatures, your plant cannot support the same amount of leaves, that it could outdoors in the summer.

If your houseplant is experiencing dropping a lot of leaves, don't panic. After a few weeks, it will stop. Then, new leaves will begin to slowly appear.

Important Note: While houseplant leaf drop is most common in the fall, it can happen at any time that the plant is stressed. The causes can be environmental, or some other form of plant stress.


When caring for your houseplants, follow these simple steps to help minimize leaf drop problems:

Plan a transition period for your houseplants. If they are in the ground, dig them up and transplant them into containers. A slow transition to an indoor environment, helps to reduce leaf drop.

Provide increasing amounts of shade. Move containers into a shaded area for longer periods each day. Do this over a period of at least two to three weeks, if possible.

Allow the soil to be drier than it experienced over the summer. Indoors, the soil in the containers will normally be drier than what the plants experienced outdoors. Your goal is to make the soil a little drier. However, do not let it dry out.

Hold off adding fertilizer during the transition period. The intent is not to starve the plant. Rather, it's to encourage and train the plant to slow down growth.

After moving the plant indoors, put it in a sunny room. Apply a light solution of liquid fertilizer. Better still, use houseplant fertilizer spikes, for long term feeding.

Your plant may still experience leaf drop, but the transition you provided, will help to minimize or even eliminate this problem.


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