For plant lovers, plants can be like children; we want the best for them, we feed them what we think is right, we watch them grow, take care of them when they’re sick and get disappointed when despite our hard work they grow in the wrong direction or don’t grow at all.

There are many reasons why your plants may not be growing the way they were intended to, finding out what the cause is one step closer to finding a solution.

Related: 5 Reasons your indoor plants keep dying

1. Too much watering

Roots are vital for your plants. Without roots, they can’t absorb water and nutrients from the ground and eventually they’ll die. Most people are worried about underwatering their plants, but overwatering can kill them even faster! Overwatering your plants can rot their roots leaving them malnourished and wilting. Make sure to read up on how much water your plants need and stick to the necessary amount.

Related: 5 Tips for watering your garden wisely

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2. Pests

Birds, insects and sometimes your pets and family can cause visible damage to your plants. If you are considering pesticides for your garden, look for environmentally friendly and organic pesticides that will not cause unnecessary damage to your garden or the environment.

The first step to addressing a pest problem is to identify the exact pest that’s killing your plants, then you can decide on the best way to get rid of them. For instance, you need a very different approach if your plants are being munched by caterpillars or attacked by aphids.

3. The wrong soil type

Correcting your soil before you plant your garden is a great idea, but even if you do, not all plants thrive in the same soil type. While some of your plants may grow well in soil that is clay and alkaline, some plants may need neutral soil with better drainage and others may need the soil to be slightly acidic. If your plants have different needs it may be best to grow them in pots instead of in the ground – that way you can manage the needs of each plant without compromising the needs of others.

4. Infections

Bacteria, fungi and sometimes even viruses can attack your plants without you even seeing them. The effects of these attacks, however, are fairly obvious.

When maintaining your garden, it is important to take note of the condition of each plant so you will notice any negative changes and act on them before it is too late. And remember, the healthier your plants are, the more likely they will be to withstand diseases.

Related: Plant diseases, identification and control

5. Too much sun or shade

Before deciding where each plant goes, you should consider the plant’s needs. Not all plants are meant to enjoy full sun all day, while others are miserable in the shade.  Plants meant for shady areas will burn out in too much sun while those meant for sunny spots will become stunted and wilt in the shade. If your plant isn’t doing well and you’ve ruled everything else out, try moving your plant to a different spot.

Now read: 7 Reasons to plant spekboom in your garden