As with all living things, even the hardiest plants require care, and strategies can vary quite a bit. As a new plant parent you have to get to know your plant: how tough it is or isn't, how much water it really craves, and if it prefers classical music or a perhaps an 80s throwback (or maybe that's just me wondering). A plant will go through various cycles and change shape and form as it grows with you, and sometimes those cycles might look like the end of the line.
But if you pay attention, you might be able to pick up on some tell-tale signals that your plant is sending you before it's too late.
A freshly planted, tiny pencil cactus in our new porcelain planter from Stuck in the Mud Pottery.
When you first bring a plant home, make sure you understand what it needs in the way of light, water, soil, and other conditions, so that you can provide it the best possible imitation of its natural environment. Then, learn how to read its signals: A plant can go through stress for a multitude of reasons (most of which you have some control over) and it will normally let you know via its leaves.
Dropping and/or changing color of leaves is one of the biggest signs that your plant is in stress. When you notice a change of this kind, however, don't freak out and overcompensate. Take a moment to analyze the scenario and react accordingly.
Here's what to do if your plant is in crisis:
We first ran this post last spring, but houseplants can go into crisis mode any time of year! So we brought it back to help you save them.
Have you brought any houseplants back from the brink? Let us know how you saved them in the comments!