IDK Query: Why are my houseplants dying?

Q. Why are my houseplants dying?


This query comes from a young woman looking for books on houseplant healthcare. Probing further, we found out her spider plants (a weird, scary name for a type of indoor palm plant) were growing dark tips on the ends of their fronds. Their leaves were becoming dry and brittle.

A. One of the best resources about houseplant care that we could find was the good old-fashioned Farmers Almanac.

The online Almanac took us through several genera of houseplant and the specific care instructions for common plant irritants, such as humidity, over-watering, under-watering, and more pest related problems like aphids and spider mites.

Dry, brittle plant leaves combined with “tip burn” (the black, dried out tips of the spider plant leaves) we deduced were from a combination of dry soil and watering with tap water that sometimes puts fluoride or salt build up in the soil.

Treatment? Start watering with filtered water and grab a soil meter from Home Depot so that you can stop predicting whether the soil is moist or dry.

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