Houseplant Getting Droopy Leaves? How To Tell If It's Normal
These days, it's easy to fall prey to plant perfectionism. With so much picture-perfect greenery on social media and interior design programs, our own houseplants can start to look a little dull and droopy by comparison. But a limp houseplant isn't always cause for concern. Plants are, after all, living things and (like us humans!), they don't always look perfect.
"To us, maybe it looks droopy, but for the plant, it could be perfectly fine," Darryl Cheng, an engineer who takes an analytical approach to houseplant care on House Plant Journal, tells mbg. "Just looking at it, we can't say that it looks droopy so there must be something wrong."
That's because the leaves of some plant varieties, like prayer plants, will naturally rise and fall in response to sunlight. A "droopy" look is just a function of their biology. Cheng also notes that popular picks like monsteras will jut out leaves at different angles over time, which might look like a flaw to us but is actually totally normal.
So before jumping to a conclusion, do a little research on what standard growth looks like for that plant variety. Once you do, you might find that the drooping doesn't signal a care issue.
If the drooping is trying to tell you something, it's probably that you're underwatering.
If you've done this metaphorical digging and still suspect something is off, the next thing to examine is your watering routine. Plant roots die after sitting in overly dry soil for too long, causing their corresponding leaves to droop and wilt. So while we've all heard about the dangers of overwatering, underwatering isn't great for your plant either.
To correct for underwatering, Cheng recommends ditching the watering schedule and tuning into what your plant needs on any given day. Feel the top layer of its soil and water as needed depending on your plant's type and location (remember, plants that get more sun will require more water).
When you do water your plant, make sure to give it a good soak, like the type it would receive in its native habitat. "In nature, when it rains, it pours. It doesn't stop raining the moment the soil is saturated," Cheng says. "After you finish watering and lift the pot, it should be the weight of a fully soaked sponge."
More water should help your plant surge back to life after a while, once its leaves can develop new roots. In some cases, though, the drooping might persist and become a permanent feature of your plant—but that shouldn't make it any less lovable.
"Plants are living things," Cheng reminds us. "Do your best with it, and whatever outcomes happen, happen."
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