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Caring for Houseplants - Houseplants - University of Illinois Extension

Plant Health

Improper watering, sudden changes in environment, cold drafts, lack of fertilizer, insect or disease attack may cause problems for houseplants.

Common Causes of Unhealthy Plants

Symptom Possible Cause
General defoliation • Sudden change in temperature
• Transplanting shock
• Sudden change in light intensity
• Over-watering
• Lack of light
Browning of leaf tips • Improper watering
• Exposure to cold drafts
• Insect attack
• Excess fertilizer
Loss of normal foliage color • Over-watering
• Lack of fertilizer
• Insect attack
• Improper light
Spotted foliage • Over-watering
• Burning from direct sunlight
• Disease