Whether it's your raised bed garden succumbing to drooping plants and leaves or your indoor houseplants and herbs — there are many reasons why your plants might be drooping. Unfortunately, diagnosing the issue can be difficult and you're often left trying one thing after another to no avail. However, isolating the reason why is the most important thing. Let's examine why plants start to droop and seemingly sicken and what can be done about it.
Many plant diseases can result in drooping leaves. This is because diseases can interfere with the healthy function of the roots, xylem, and leaves, which harms their ability to regulate their internal conditions.
If you spot any problems in one of your plants, it’s important to quarantine any diseased plants immediately and get treatment.
Aggressive pruning and medication can potentially save your plant from disease, but it’s important to isolate it so the disease can’t spread and ruin all of your plants.
Also, it’s worth evaluating the conditions your plants are kept in and making sure that the conditions aren’t causing disease.
Things like overwatering or poor drainage can cause disease of the root systems, for example, and it’s easy to prevent when you’re aware and proactive.
There are many great products on the market to fight fungal and other diseases in plants, and keeping a “medicine cabinet” for your plants is a great way to ward off some of the most common diseases as soon as they appear.
2. Low Air Humidity
If your tropical plant is droopy and dry, this is a sign that the air humidity might be too low for the plant to thrive.
When there isn’t enough moisture in the air for your particular species of plant, it can lose way too much water through transpiration and start to wilt as it dries out.
When the air isn’t humid enough for the plant, the roots aren’t effectively able to replace the moisture at the rate that it’s lost through transpiration.
Misting the leaves daily and running a humidifier or automatic mister near the plant is a great way to resolve low humidity.
3. Too Much Sunlight
Despite what you might expect, plants can get too much sunlight.
This is especially true for some shade-loving species of plants, which will wilt and droop when they’re put in harsh sunlight conditions.
This is an easy problem to fix.
There’s lots of information available in books and online about the specific needs of your plant, and if you’re not sure, you can just experiment with moving it to a shadier spot and seeing how it responds.
4. Not Enough Sunlight
If your plant isn’t getting enough sunlight for photosynthesis, this can cause the leaves to droop.
This can be an especially common issue in plants with pale patches on their leaves since the pale spots don’t have any chlorophyll and can’t photosynthesize — meaning that the dark green parts of the leaves have to do a lot more work to keep the plant alive!
Fixing the sunlight situation is simple, however.
You can research how much sunlight your specific variety of plant needs online, and move your droopy plant to a place that is suitable for its needs.
A plant that needs partial shade shouldn’t be kept in a dark corner, for example, but somewhere where it gets sunlight for a portion of the day.
5. Dusty Leaves
One unexpected issue that might result in drooping leaves is too much dust accumulated on the surface of the leaves.
This is an especially prominent issue with plants that have broad and waxy leaves since the dust will layer on and prevent the photosynthesis that keeps your plant alive and healthy.
When there’s too much dust on the surface of your plant’s leaves, it acts like a filter and reflects sunlight away from the plant.
The leaves won’t be able to capture the sun’s energy, and will slowly begin to wilt as they lose necessary nutrients.
The plant’s ability to regulate moisture will also be inhibited since dust can decrease or even increase transpiration to inappropriate levels.
6. Fertilizer Toxicity
As it turns out, there can be too much of a good thing! If your plants get too much fertilizer, they can suffer chemical damage from the excessive nutrients.
As the roots sustain damage from the poor soil conditions, it will harm your plant’s ability to absorb the water and nutrients it needs from the soil.
The right amount of fertilizer to give a plant is only as much as it needs.
And with too much fertilizer in the soil, you have to flush it out and resolve the issue quickly to keep your plant alive.
Washing the soil with large amounts of water will flush the fertilizer salts out of the soil. Afterward, it’s important to follow the guidelines for how much fertilizer to give your plant.
7. Too Much Heat
Keeping a plant in temperatures that are too hot for it to survive and flourish can contribute to severe temperature stress which will show several symptoms, including drooping leaves.
Excessive temperature is a problem because it results in increased transpiration and water loss, and at certain temperatures can even cause direct damage to the tissues of your plant.
Aside from checking the temperature of the room that the plant is kept in, you should make sure indoor plants aren’t being kept under too much sunlight, and that it isn’t placed nearby something like a hot air vent, heater, or radiator.
Also, it’s worth noting that temperatures around the house can differ drastically in the winter and summer, and you may need to move your plants as the seasons change.
8. Not Enough Heat
Cold temperatures and frost can also cause temperature stress which can eventually kill your plant.
Cold temperatures or drafts can directly harm the plant’s foliage and roots, which will harm their ability to absorb water through the roots and regulate transpiration in the leaves.
As the cold water harms your plant’s ability to regulate its internal conditions, it will begin to droop and wilt.
It’s important to intervene quickly and make sure that your plant can recover. If temperatures get especially cold in the winter and spring, you should take your plants inside and make sure that no cold drafts come through windows or doors.
9. Pests And Insects
If your plant is being attacked by pests and insects, this can cause your houseplant to droop.
Insects like aphids and spider mites will bite holes into your plants and suck the sap out of them, which causes severe damage and a huge loss of moisture in your plants.
You can usually find the pests on the underside of leaves, where they hide to feed off of the plant.
They’re usually very tiny and you will need to check thoroughly to find them. When you can address these culprits and remove them from the plant, you will find that the plant will liven up within a few days.
10. Too Much Watering
There’s a certain equilibrium of watering that is necessary to ensure your plant is hydrated, but not waterlogged.
And unfortunately, it’s easy to accidentally waterlog soil and cause terrible diseases like root rot in your plant.
Whether it’s due to inadequate draining, frequent heavy rain for outdoor plants, or over watering by hand, overwatered plants will begin to droop and eventually die — so it’s important to correct the issue as soon as you notice it!
To fix overwatering issues, you should determine if you’re watering too frequently and make sure that excess water is draining properly from the potted plant. Drainage issues can be addressed with looser potting soil or a bigger pot.
11. Not Enough Watering
While it’s easy to keep up with the ongoing needs of your new plant at first, it can be difficult to keep that same routine across the lifespan of the plant.
And unfortunately, when your plant isn’t getting enough water, it can start to droop and wilt and eventually die from inadequate hydration.
Some early signs of a dehydrated plant include limp yellowing leaves that are crispy around the edges.
The lack of water results in a lot of stress for your plant, so it’s important to keep up with a good watering routine to avoid dry soil.
12. Rootbound Plant
If your plant is rootbound, this can be a major contributor to a wilting or drooping plant.
When your plant is kept in a pot that is too small and the nutrients and water that it needs to survive and flourish are limited, it’s bound to eventually start wilting until more resources are made available to it.
To fix this, you just need to move it to a bigger and well-drained pot with nutritious soil. You can mulch the top of the pot so that it holds in moisture better, and keep it on a regular schedule for watering and fertilization.
How To Fix Drooping Plants
It can be scary when your favorite plant starts drooping, but luckily, there are many simple and effective measures you can take to resolve the drooping and bring your plant back to life.
While it’s a bit of an investment to start with, using tools like a moisture meter and a book with information about your species of plant can give you the essential information you need to correct your plant’s care.
Checking its conditions and ensuring that it has the right sunlight, moisture, soil, and container space is a great way to see if the solution was simple.
If your plant doesn’t perk up, exploring possibilities like pests and dust will have your plant vibrant again in no time.