How Do You Debug A Houseplant? (Garden Advice)

Safeguard the health and vitality of your indoor plants with our expert garden advice on how to debug a houseplant. In this post, we guide you through the process of identifying and eliminating common plant pests.

If you’re curious about the types of bugs that may inhabit your indoor plants, our article on what bugs live in indoor plants provides valuable insight.

For those struggling with gnats, our post on how to keep gnats off houseplants offers expert tips. Delve deeper into plant care and protect your indoor garden from unwanted pests.

Key Takeaways
Debugging a houseplant involves identifying and treating pests and diseases that may be harming the plant.
Regularly inspecting your houseplants can help you catch and treat infestations before they become serious.
There are many natural remedies that can be effective in treating pests on houseplants, such as essential oils and neem oil.
Keeping your houseplants clean and healthy can help prevent pests and diseases from infesting them in the first place.
Taking care of your houseplants can be a rewarding and satisfying hobby, but it’s important to educate yourself about proper care and maintenance.

Check Your Planter Is Large Enough

Plants need to be able to grow to their full size in order for you to notice and correct any problems. If the plant has grown too big for its container, remove it from that container and repot it into one that’s large enough for the plant.

Check there is enough space for the roots.

The main part of a houseplant is usually made from clay or plastic; however, it can also be hand-made out of pottery or even wood. 

Each material has its own drainage system which allows excess water to leave the pot without creating too much mess on your floor—so make sure these holes are not blocked by sitting water!

Check whether or not there is direct sunlight hitting the leaves directly during daylight hours – this could burn some plants if left in place too long!

“Identifying and treating pests in your indoor plants can be a challenge, but with the right knowledge, you can protect your plants and help them thrive. Learn more about common bugs that can infest your houseplants with our expert advice on what bugs live in indoor plants guide.”

Is The Room Getting Enough Light?

If you have a plant that’s not growing well and isn’t producing the flowers or fruit you want, the first thing to check is whether it’s getting enough light. Plants need light to photosynthesise, which is how they make their food.

Plants will grow towards the light source, so if your houseplant doesn't have enough natural sunlight in its current position, consider moving it somewhere with more natural light (or adding an artificial grow lamp). 

If you are using an artificial grow lamp then remember to keep checking on them as they can overheat and burn your plants!

Don’t Let The Soil Dry Out

To make sure your houseplant is happy, it’s important to keep the soil moist. Plants need water to grow and do best when they receive regular watering. 

The specific watering schedule will vary depending on the type of plant and environment it’s in, but you can count on needing to water your plants more than once per week—so make sure you have a good watering schedule at all times!

If your plant does not get enough water, the leaves will turn brown or yellow and fall off slowly over time until there are no leaves left at all. 

This process is called “wilting” because if you touch an affected leaf with your finger or thumb (gently!) 

“If you notice your houseplant is dying, don’t panic! There are ways to save it with proper care and attention. Our guide on how to save a dying plant provides useful tips on how to revive your plant and bring it back to life.”

Be Careful Of Overwatering

Check the soil to see if it is too wet. If you have a plant that is wilting, it is probably overwatered, and if the plant is droopy, it may be underwatered.

Wilt: Leaves will turn brown or yellow and droop over the pot edge.

Drooping: New leaves appear limp, curled at their edges and may even appear light green in color rather than dark green or bronze, which indicates that they have not received enough light exposure for photosynthesis to occur properly (see below).

Turn Your Plant Regularly, So The Leaves Don’t Grow Towards The Window

Your houseplant will grow in a more natural way if you turn it regularly. This can help prevent the leaves from growing towards the window, which can lead to sunburn and leaf burn. 

If your plant is already growing this way, rotate it so that the light source is on one side of it instead of directly above or below.

“Watering your houseplants can be a tricky task, as overwatering or underwatering can harm your plants. To ensure you give your plants the right amount of water, check out our helpful guide on how often should I water my houseplants for expert tips and advice.”

Don’t Forget To Fertilise

Don’t forget to fertilise. Once a week, add one teaspoon of a balanced fertiliser for plants that need lots of nitrogen and potassium. If you’re looking for something organic, try using fish emulsion or seaweed extract. 

You can also use blood meal, which is made from dried blood and is high in phosphorus (a major component of DNA).

When applying the fertilizer, use a watering can with a rose attached so that you can get right down close to the base of your plant. The tips of leaves are often where its food is stored up so make sure you give them plenty too!

Check For Diseases And Pests

You should also check for diseases and pests. If a plant is healthy and happy, it will usually show no signs of these bugs, and their presence can be a sign that something is wrong with your plant.

Here are some common problems to look for:

Bugs: Aphids, mealybugs, scale insects and mites are common pests that eat the leaves of your houseplants. 

They may also suck the sap from the stems or roots if they’re left untreated. You can use an insecticidal soap or spray to kill them off easily enough (though remember that this kind of spray isn’t safe for pets). 

If you have severe infestations on more than one plant in your houseplant collection you may want to treat all of them at once—the chemicals used aren’t very strong so there’s little risk in using multiple applications at once! 

Just make sure not too apply them too often because frequent spraying could damage your plants’ leaves over time.”

“Peace lilies are a popular indoor plant, known for their attractive foliage and ability to purify the air. If you’re considering adding a peace lily to your collection, make sure you know how to care for it properly. Our indoor plant care tips on how to take care of a peace lily guide provides all the information you need to keep your peace lily healthy and thriving.”

Does The Plant Need To Be Pruned?

If your plant is overgrown and needs to be pruned, follow these guidelines:

Prune to shape. This can mean removing dead or damaged branches so that the plant will look more attractive. It also means cutting off any unnecessary growth that may have formed above ground level—this can help prevent disease from spreading through the plant.

Prune for new growth. If you want your plant to grow faster or in a particular direction, pruning is the way to do it! You’ll need to choose which branch(es) you want on top when you’re done styling them (this will make a difference in how they grow).

Control the size of your houseplant if necessary by cutting back its roots with scissors as needed; however, make sure not too much foliage grows back before taking another look at how well it fits where you want it placed since this could cause problems down the line due “overgrazing.” 

If soiling occurs during this process then simply apply some mulch around each section until all plants are covered again then wait three weeks before checking again for signs of life (or lack thereof).

Did You Change Potting Soil Recently?

Did you change the potting soil recently? If so, the plant may have been moved to a new pot with different soil that can cause a chemical imbalance in your houseplant.

Potting soil is typically more acidic and has more nutrients than regular topsoil. This helps plants thrive when they’re first planted and during their early growth, but if you haven’t been keeping up with watering, it could lead to some problems later on.

“Spider plants are low-maintenance indoor plants that can add a touch of green to your home or office. One of the best things about spider plants is that they are easy to propagate, making it simple to grow new plants from existing ones. Our step-by-step instructions on how to propagate a spider plant guide will show you how to do it.”

Is Water Is Too Cold? Or Too Warm?

So, you’ve got a houseplant and it’s not doing so well. You’re worried that the plant might be thirsty but are unsure if your tap water temperature is correct for the plant.

The answer to this question is important because if your water is too cold or too warm, it can cause your houseplant to wilt or rot respectively. The best way to find out what temperature is best for your specific plant is by using a thermometer!

Use A Humidifier. (Or A Spray Bottle)

Houseplants are living things, and they’re just like you. They need water to grow. But you can’t just dump water onto your houseplant willy-nilly—you have to be careful about how much and how often you give it. 

Too much or too little water can lead to several issues, including root rot and inadequate oxygen supply within the soil (which is why watering with a spray bottle is so important).

If your plant isn’t getting enough humidity in its environment, try using a humidifier or putting the plant near a window with open blinds or windows where there are frequent bursts of wind that create extra moisture. 

If it’s getting too much humidity around it, move the plant away from sources such as air conditioners and shower heads that might be emitting excess moisture into the room.


If you’re still struggling to find the problem, try making sure the potting soil is ‘drained’ but not too dry. You can also leave the plant in a warm, dry place for a few days – this might help to dislodge any pests or disease causing organisms.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources you can check out to learn more about debugging and caring for your houseplants:

7 Proven Techniques for Debugging Your Houseplants: This article provides tips for identifying and treating common pests and diseases in houseplants.

Debugging and Cleaning Potted Plants: This guide offers advice on how to keep your potted plants healthy and pest-free.

How to Debug Plants to Bring Indoors: This article provides tips for removing pests from outdoor plants before bringing them inside for the winter.


What does it mean to debug a houseplant?

Debugging a houseplant means identifying and removing pests or diseases that may be harming the plant. This can include inspecting the leaves and soil for signs of infestation and taking steps to treat the problem.

What are some common pests that can infest houseplants?

Some common pests that can infest houseplants include spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects.

How can I prevent pests from infesting my houseplants?

To prevent pests from infesting your houseplants, it’s important to keep them clean and healthy, avoid overwatering, and inspect them regularly for signs of infestation.

What should I do if my houseplant has pests?

If your houseplant has pests, you should identify the type of pest and take appropriate steps to treat it. This may include using insecticidal soap, neem oil, or other treatments.

Can I use natural remedies to treat pests on my houseplants?

Yes, there are many natural remedies that can be effective in treating pests on houseplants. These include using essential oils, neem oil, or a mixture of water and dish soap.