5 Common Houseplant Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Golden Pothos Houseplant

🌿Do you love the idea of having houseplants but think you have a brown thumb? This guide is perfect for you! Houseplants are little powerhouses that purify the air, elevate your mood, and add a touch of natural beauty to your home. The secret to keeping your plants happy is simple. The first step is understanding what they need.🌼💚 

🌱In this guide, we'll discuss 5 common mistakes beginners make with houseplants and how to avoid them. Learn these and you'll be well on your way to transforming that brown thumb into a green one and becoming a plant parent pro! 🌿💚

  1. Overwatering 💧

The Mistake: Many beginners think more water means happier plants. The truth is too much water can lead to root rot.

The Fix: Learn the specific watering needs of your plant. In general, plants prefer a consistent cycle between fully saturated soil during watering to letting the soil steadily dry until the next watering. When it’s time to water, you will want to completely saturate the soil and let the water run through to promote strong root growth. Make sure your pot has drainage holes to allow excess water to run out. A pot with no drainage holes will not allow excess water to escape and can lead to root rot.

  1. Inadequate Light ☀️

The Mistake: Placing plants in areas that do not provide enough sunlight.

The Fix: Most houseplants will thrive near a bright window with indirect light. There are many houseplants such as the ZZ plant, Pothos, and Peace Lily that will do just fine in much lower light and will also do well in brighter light too. If your low light tolerant plant is usually in a darker spot, move it to a brighter area occasionally to give it a little boost of energy. Research the light conditions your plant needs or choose a low-light tolerant houseplant that is more flexible on light needs.

  1. Over or Not Fertilizing 🌸

The Mistake: Thinking more fertilizer will make the plant grow faster.

The Fix: Fertilizer helps your plants grow and look their best but too much fertilizer can burn the roots. To keep it simple, I use a slow-release fertilizer, Osmocote. It releases the right amount of fertilizer every time you water and the best part is it lasts for months before you have to reapply.

  1. Humidity 🌫️

The Mistake: Not considering the higher humidity levels that many popular houseplants prefer.

The Fix: Many houseplants prefer higher humidity around 60 - 80%. The level in our homes is normally lower than they prefer but localized humidity levels can be increased and are generally higher in bathrooms. Place a water tray near the plant or use a humidifier to increase humidity. If you enjoy tending to your plants, you can also fill a spray bottle with water and mist around them a few times a week.

  1. Lack of Pruning ✂️

The Mistake: Letting dead leaves and faded flowers remain on the plant and not trimming overgrown plants.

The Fix: Regularly prune dead or yellow leaves and faded blooms. This will redirect the plants’ energy and encourage new growth. Also, don’t be afraid to trim vining houseplants like the Pothos, Philodendron, and Arrowhead plant if you want them to stay in their pot. You can always put the trimmed stems in water and grow new roots for new plants!


Taking care of houseplants is a rewarding experience that enhances your connection with nature. By avoiding these common mistakes, you'll be well on your way to creating a thriving indoor garden.

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