houseplant in a bedroom houseplant in a bedroom

Plant Doctor: Five Reasons Why Your Houseplant is Dropping Leaves

Common reasons your plant may be losing leaves and how to fix it!

Discouraged or frustrated by your houseplants dropping leaves?

Monstera plant close up

This is one of the pain points of a plant parent as it is often confusing to figure out why. Leaf loss is a natural part of the life cycle of a plant (lower mature leaves can drop a leaf as the plant grows), but when the healthy leaves of a plant start falling off, this can be a cause of concern.

Remember: you are still a great plant parent! You'll have to pay some extra attention to what the plant is trying to communicate to you.

Here are five causes of dropping leaves and how you can fix it:

1. Low Humidity

Monstera plant with a mister

It’s important to mimic the natural environment of the houseplant, especially for tropical plants that love high humidity. The leaves may drop when the humidity is too low. Mist your plant, place it by a humidifier or by the bathroom, or place the pot by a tray of wet pebbles. 

2. Shock

Spider plant

Houseplants can be quite fussy and love consistency. If the temperature changes to extreme warm or cold, has a sudden change of light, or a plant is abruptly moved to a different environment, the plant may go into shock and begin dropping leaves. Once a plant has experienced shock, the best thing to do is to leave it to adjust. Try to keep the environment as consistent as possible, and if you need to move your plant, gradually expose it to the new space so it can adapt.

Further reading: check out our guide to houseplant lighting

3. Over or Underwatering

watering can watering a snake plant

Plants may drop leaves when over or under watered. Be mindful of the watering needs of your houseplants as they will most likely be on different watering schedules and have different requirements. If you have over-watered your plant, let it dry out before watering again. If the roots are drowning, repot the plant in fresh well-draining potting soil. For under-watering, water slowly and thoroughly so the roots can drink up without drowning.

4. Pest infection

A bundle of plants in front of a gray wall

If you notice pests on your houseplant, it is important to quarantine it from the rest of your other plants to avoid a spread. Inspect the plant to determine what pests are making your plant sick (common pests include thrips, spider mites, and mealy bugs). To treat your beloved houseplant, spray with insecticidal soap or make a mix of distilled water and a small amount of neem oil.

5. The plant has outgrown its pot

A bundle of plants in front of a gray wall

If you see the roots of the plant poking through the bottom of the pot and notice leaf drop, this may be a sign to repot your plant. Be sure to only repot with a pot 2 inches larger than the current pot.

Ready to repot?