A Soapy Solution to My Plant Problems

When I redecorated my dining room, I bought a lovely dracaena plant for one of the corners. I planted it in a nice bamboo planter and called it a day. Then, a few weeks later, it started to look bad. The tips of the leaves were turning yellow and dying.

Stressed Plant

I read this was a sign of not getting enough water, but the dirt in the planter was damp and moldy.

Moldy Dirt

Well, folks, apparently this is what happens when you put a plant in a bad pot. I planted the dracaena in a pot purchased at Lowes and it didn’t occur to me that the pot didn’t have any drainage holes. Just a side note – I wish they would sell pots that are actually ready for plants! So, I had my hubby pick up the plant so I could drill holes in the bottom of the pot from below. I even sprinkled cinnamon on the soil because I read it is an anti-fungal. It was too late. My poor dracaena was stressed out and this left the plant susceptible to bugs.


Those white, fuzzy things really liked the new growth. I’m not really sure what kind of bugs they were, but I’m not hosting them in my house. When I have a bug problem I usually try to deal with it without chemicals first. I read a few things on the interwebs and decided to repot the plant and get rid of those bugs.

First I took everything outside and got the plant out of that dastardly pot.

Took plant out of pot

Here you can see the soil is full of bugs, eggs, whatever. Ick!

Bugs in the soil

So, all that dirt had to come off. I put the plant on my lawn and sprayed off the soil with my garden hose.

clean dirt off roots

I read somewhere that a solution of water and dish soap would kill the bugs, so I sprayed the whole plant with the solution. I’m sorry, but I don’t remember how much soap I used. I did this little project months ago and I really didn’t think it would work, so I just winged it.

spray plant with soapy water

Then I prepared my new clay pot. Yes, there is a drainage hole under those rocks and paper towel.

Prepared new clay pot

I potted the plant with new soil, I rubbed the leaves with rubbing alcohol to make sure the little buggers were dead and gone, and kept my fingers crossed.

repotted plant

This is what it looked like right after I repotted it. A few days later it looked really bad. The poor thing was so stressed out. Some of the leaves turned yellow and a few of them died. I really thought the plant was a goner, but I kept taking care of it since it was finally properly potted. Then after a while, my dracaena was as good as new.

Have you successfully saved a plant without using chemicals? Seems like all plants need are a little time and TLC!

This entry was posted in Gardening by Jennifer. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jennifer

I'm an interior designer at my core and a big fan of simple pleasures and Mother Nature. Originally from Iowa, I've lived up and down the East Coast, plus Alaska and Germany (thanks to my husband, who must have nomadic blood in his veins). Currently I'm a Yankee in South Carolina, trying to keep up with my son and constantly adjusting to life in the South.

One thought on “A Soapy Solution to My Plant Problems

  1. Yes I used this soap solution on my plants. When I lived in Georgia I used it on my garden. It worked great! I’m glad you were able to get your plant healthy again!! I have a plant I probably need to do some doctoring on myself!! Yes, it is frustrating when pots don’t already come plant ready. But atleast it’s usually an easy fix, right?!

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