Top Ways to Kill a Houseplant

how to kill houseplants

Photo by Cafe Kim

Houseplants are resilient little creatures, but with proper carelessness you can easily kill them off. Here are some proven methods for how to kill your favorite houseplants...

  • Over-watering. That's how I did away with Spike, our family cactus (pictured here). For most plants, be sure that the soil dries out before watering. I was a little too enthusiastic about making sure Spike had enough water, and, sadly, he drowned. R.I.P., Spike.
  • Planting in a container with no drainage holes or allowing the plant to sit in standing water (for example, collected in the drip saucer). Congrats! This is an ideal way to suffocate your plant.
  • Not providing enough humidity. Be sure to mist your plant often or it will dehydrate.
  • Exposing your plant to direct heat or cold drafts. Would you want to sit all day on an ice-cold air conditioner or boiling-hot heating vent? Neither does your plant.
  • Keep it in the dark. Most plants need some amount of daily natural light to thrive. 
  • Over-fertilizing. Easy does it on the fertilizer! The recommended dose is half the amount of a water-soluble fertilizer suggested for outdoor plants once a month.
  • Ignoring pests: A pest infestation can kill a plant. Get rid of them by washing the plant with soap and water and, if weather permits, leaving them outside for a while so they don't infect your other plants.
  • Refusing to repot your plant. Healthy plants (and their roots) eventually outgrow their pot. I used to be intimidated by this step, but then I learned an easy way to repot a houseplant. Be sure to use packaged potting mix; regular garden soil will kill houseplants.

Do you often kill your houseplants? What's your preferred method of destruction?


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