How To Understand Your Plant’s Ailments

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How To Understand Your Plant’s Ailments

Anyone who has kept plants has dealt with a troublesome rose bush or vegetable garden that just won’t thrive. Whether it’s pests, nutrient deficiencies or inadequate watering, you must determine the plant’s ailments and know how to remedy them.

Pests
Plants looking sad? Holes in leaves? Small webs on the plant? These are all signs of pest damage. Check the underside of leaves to confirm, where pests like aphids like to hide. Once identified, store-bought insecticidal sprays or homemade sprays can help keep them in check.

How To Understand Your Plants’ Ailments

Watering and Sunlight
Plants need water and sunlight to perform photosynthesis, so if either of these requirements are not met, trouble ensues. Inadequate sunlight can be spotted by leaves that appear faded or droopy. Moving the plant to a brighter location or moving obstructions will do wonders. If the leaves appear droopy and dry, then they likely need water. Slowly apply about an inch of water to the affected plant. Conversely, if leaves look wilted with a yellow coloration, too much water may be the culprit. Try improving the drainage in the soil by adding sand.

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Nutrient Deficiencies
Nutrient deficiencies can be tricky because many of them exhibit similar symptoms in plants. Nitrogen, potassium and iron deficiencies all manifest by varying levels of yellowing in the leaves. Nitrogen and potassium deficiencies show as yellowing of the tips and edges of the leaves. Leaves lacking iron are generally fully yellow. Treat nitrogen and potassium issues by adding compost or coffee grounds to the soil. Try lowering the pH to below 7 in soil with low iron.

Plants’ Ailments

Calcium poor leaves are small and misshapen and can be remedied by adding gypsum or lime to correct pH levels. White stripes between leaf veins can signal magnesium deficiency, which can be corrected with an Epsom salt spray. Similarly, zinc deficiencies appear as discoloration between the veins and can be corrected with an application of kelp spray.

Hopefully, this guide can help you better care for your plants and put a little more “green” in your thumb!

Extension.psu.edu    Aces.uiuc.edu

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