If watering is the problem
Cut off any shoots and leaves that are dry. They will not resuscitate or come back, because they are dead tissue. If only the tips are affected, you can cut off only the burnt part and let the leaf complete its life cycle. If the problem is lack of watering, start by hydrating the substrate very well. You can place the pot in a bucket of water, let it soak for a few minutes and then let it drain well. Prefer to water copiously and less frequently if you are afraid of over-watering. You can buy a moisture indicator, which are terracotta instruments that will tell you when it is time to water.
If it is over-watering that has affected the plant, then you can repot the plant using some fresh substrate, which is not so wet, and let it gradually dry out well. Remember to always touch the substrate before watering and if in doubt, you can always wait an extra day. It is much easier to recover a plant that has dried out a little than one that has rotted due to overwatering.
If the problem is lack of humidity
Ambient humidity has nothing to do with watering, so there is no need to change the watering pattern. To increase humidity levels you only need to spray the leaves of your plants once a day with a fine mist of water. Avoid overwatering or puddling, as this attracts mould and fungus, use a sprinkler. Another option is to place a plate with pebbles and fill it with water, so the water will evaporate little by little without affecting the roots and leaves of the plant. If it is indoors, you can always buy a humidifier. One trick is to group several species with similar characteristics so that they themselves regulate the humidity. Dracaena and ferns are great for this task.
If the problem is an excess of fertiliser
To remove excess salts or fertiliser from a plant you must "wash" the substrate. Water profusely, trying to make the large amount of water wash away the compost that has accumulated. If you feel that the problem is much more serious, then it is advisable to transplant, mixing in fresh substrate to dilute the fertiliser. Don't forget to wash the leaves and stems thoroughly, as well as removing or trimming any damaged ones. This way you stimulate the growth of new leaves.
When too much sun and extreme temperatures are the problem
It is important to keep plants that are not in full sun away from direct sunlight. Keep them at a safe distance from the window and use thin blinds to filter out excess sun. Avoid watering from above and/or at times when the sun is high, as water droplets can act like magnifying glasses and magnify the sun's rays, causing severe sunburn.
Protect plants from strong breezes and frost. Avoid placing them where there are frequent drafts, such as near doors and opening windows. If they are on the terrace or similar, shelter them indoors as soon as temperatures start to drop. Pay attention also to the position of the plants. Try not to overcrowd them and make sure that the leaves do not touch the walls, as this also causes stains and other problems.
If the problem is fungi or bacteria
Start by isolating the affected plants. Remove diseased leaves with scissors and if you see that almost all the stems have been attacked, it is best to do some severe pruning. Dispose of the cuttings properly. Never leave them lying around near other plants or add them to compost to avoid further watering of the spores. Remember to disinfect tools thoroughly with diluted bleach or alcohol after use so you don't contaminate other plants.
Use a broad-spectrum fungicide to treat the substrate and the plant. There are homemade mixtures such as baking soda with mineral oil and water, but if the disease is too strong and does not subside, it is better to resort to a good commercial fungicide that can save your plant from the clutches of this problem. In case the infection is too advanced, it is better to discard the plant than to risk contaminating all the others.
Prevent fungal and bacterial infections
- Avoid grouping plants too tightly together, allow some air to circulate between them to avoid excessive moisture build-up.
- Use a sprinkler for plants because this fine mist dries quickly and does not accumulate on leaves, which can attract mould and other fungi.
- Avoid watering plants from above, but water directly into the substrate.
- Remember that in winter you don't need to water as often, so you should space out watering to avoid excess moisture.
- Always disinfect tools before using them on other plants.
- If one plant has been contaminated, isolate and use the fungicide as a preventative on the other plants, even if they appear healthy.
- Avoid watering at night or late in the afternoon to avoid moisture build-up. The best time to water is early in the morning.
- Plants should be in pots of adequate size. If they are too large, they will accumulate water from watering and may develop fungus.
Dedicated to creating an army of cacti, succulents, poodles and cats to help me conquer the world. In the little free time I have left, I play, write and dance.