Why Is My Sand Plant Dying? Tips for Rescuing Your Dying Abronia Villosa

With bright pops of color from its trumpet-like flowers and thriving green stems and vines that will grow into a bush or trail like a vine, the sand plant is certainly one to fall in love with.  

And if you have, you are likely desperate if you think yours is dying.  

The Abronia villosa can seem difficult to care for because it does take a bit of extra love and attention to keep this gorgeous plant thriving.  

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So, if you’re struggling with yours, we’ve got some tips to bring it back to life.  

A Sand Plant Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office 

The verbena sand plant brings warmth, abundance, and prosperity into your home.  

A Sand Plant Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office

It purifies the air, it is a great feng shui plant, and it can be a wonderful conversation piece.  

If you have a desert theme or a succulent garden vibe going, its bright, bushy, or trailing foliage will perfectly accentuate the ambience.  

It can even be a wonderful addition to a beachy feel in your space as the sand plant is native to rocky, dry coastal regions.  

Keep it by a window so it gets plenty of light, don’t overwater it, and you can have a thriving Abronia for life.  

Signs of a Dying Sand Plant 

If you are worried your verbena sand plant is dying, you might have noticed any of the following signs:  

  • Leaves falling off  
  • Failure to flower 
  • Leaves or flowers wilting or curling 
  • Leaves beginning to yellow 
  • Leaves turning brown 
  • Bugs or root rot 

Common Causes of a Dying Sand Plant 

The most likely cause of a dying verbena sand plant is overwatering. With the best of intentions, of course, far too many people think they need to water their plant before its actually time.  

Other causes of a dying sand plant include:  

  • Underwatering 
  • Poor air circulation  
  • Too much light 
  • Not enough light 
  • Pests 

The sand plant calls for relatively close attention. Learn to check its soil for moisture, to monitor its leaves and flowers, and to watch for bugs, and you will develop a green thumb and a solid relationship with your growing plant.  

Watering Needs of a Sand Plant 

The Abronia does not want to be overwatered. It prefers dry, sandy soil that drains fully and well before another watering. Remember, it is a dry, rocky, coastal plant used to wind and sun. Take a look at this article on watering mistakes that might be killing your plant. 

To be sure your plant is well watered and not too watered, learn to check its soil. Stick your fingers into the topsoil of the plant. If the soil you can feel with your fingers is not fully dry, it is fine. If the soil has completely dried out, you can water it again.  

With the sand plant, you want to allow it to fully dry out but not suffer from a total lack of watering. You’re riding a fine line. In general, this plant expects about an inch of water per week during the warmer months.  

Am I Underwatering My Sand Plant? 

In the event you have underwatered your verbena sand plant, you will notice the leaves turning yellow or brown and wilting. If it is severely underwatered, the soil will become tightly packed in a desperate attempt to squeeze out any moisture it can get.  

Am I Underwatering My Sand Plant?

Restoring Water to Your Underwatered Sand Plant 

To restore your underwatered sand plant, simply water it fully to soaking, where the water runs through the pot and drains out. Then place it in a bright, sunny window to dry out.  

Keep an eye on it to add water before it dries out too much going forward.  

Am I Overwatering My Sand Plant? 

Many of the same signs as underwatering will show up for overwatering, which is the much more likely scenario.  

If you notice soggy soil, yellow or brown leaves, or wilting leaves, you have likely overwatered your plant.  

Restoring Balance to Your Overwatered Sand Plant 

If your verbena sand plant has been overwatered, you can restore it to good health by placing it outside in full sun for a few days.  

As you notice your soil drying up, pay attention to when the soil has gotten close to fully dry, and you can bring it back inside to a sunny window spot.  

Soil Needs of a Sand Plant 

The verbena sand plant wants a light, sandy, even rocky soil that will not absorb water and will allow for good drainage.  

Soil Drainage Needs for a Sand Plant 

If you notice your plant is not draining well, you can either repot it in a fresh pot with better drainage and a saucer or place pebbles at the bottom of your pot.  

Also be sure your pot has plenty of drainage holes in the bottom. 

Resolving Soil Drainage Issues for a Sand Plant 

Another option is to place your plant closer to bright light in a drier space in your home or office. It may simply be a matter of the plant not getting enough sun and air to dry itself out.  

Lighting Needs of a Sand Plant 

The sand plant needs 8 to 10 hours of bright, warm light like it would get in the desert or on a sunny Pacific Coast beach. 

Lighting Needs of a Sand Plant

Resolving Lighting Issues for a Sand Plant 

If you notice your plant is not flowering or the green begins to become dull, that is a clear indicator that your sand plant is not getting enough light. Simply move it to a brighter window or consider moving it to another part of the house. 

In contrast, if you notice your leaves are beginning to scorch or burn, your plant is getting too much direct sunlight. Move it a bit farther away from the window.  

Pests or Diseases that Can Cause Issues with a Sand Plant 

You are only likely to get pests and disease with your sand plant if you either overwater it or do not provide it with ample air circulation.  

In the event you notice a powdery mildew developing on the leaves of your Abronia, be sure to place your plant in a room with plenty of air circulation.  

You can wipe away the mildew and spray the plant with neem oil to resolve the situation.  

If you do notice pests, you have likely overwatered your plant to the point of root rot and soggy soil.  

Simply remove your plant, including its root ball, from the pot, and lay it on a screen out in the sun to dry out fully.  

Repot your sand plant in a fresh pot with a light, sandy soil, placing pebbles at the bottom of the pot.  

Water the plant fully then leave it in a bright, sunny spot by a window.  

Fake Sand Plants Are an Additional Consideration 

Even with these tips, you might find the sand plant is just too hard to care for. Don’t worry. You are not alone.  

Fake Sand Plants Are an Additional Consideration 

But that doesn’t mean you have to give up.  

You can always invest in a lovely, high-quality artificial verbena sand plant for your home or office space.  

Wondering if fake plants are trendy right now? Check out my article on whether artificial plants and flowers are tacky here. 

Do you have a sand plant you’ve nursed back to life? What worked for you? Leave your tips and tricks in the comment section below.  

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