5 Tips To Save A “Dead” Plant And Make It Grow Again

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:49 pm

Seeing their discolored and burned leaves, the tired weak stems and their sad look, we immediately think that our green plants and plants are well and truly dead. It must be said that we can sometimes subject them to many aggressions without necessarily realizing it. Between direct sunlight, attacks of thrips, mealy bugs or aphids badly managed and forgotten or too frequent watering (especially during their resting period for succulents), we can do great damage.

Yes! the maintenance of apartment or outdoor plants is sometimes complicated… Fortunately, in gardening too, appearances can be deceiving! So try these techniques to save a dead plant and get it going again before you give up and run to the garden center to replace it. Your houseplant, your window boxes and outdoor shrubs will thank you!

1) Before deciding whether to try to save a plant and get it going again, look for signs of life

5 Tips To Save A "Dead" Plant And Make It Grow Again

plantes fanées mortes

There is no point in trying if all hope is lost! On the other hand, it is possible to save a plant in a bad state if you distinguish clues that it still lives despite appearances.

First of all, look for buds and the presence of green leaves, which are good signs. In fact, you can grab a bud between your fingers and try to crush it a little. If it crumbles, that’s a bad sign, but keep looking for live buds along the plant.
Then with your fingernail, very lightly scrape the bark looking for green. If you find any, the plant is still alive and if the tissue is brown, it is dead.
Also, try bending stems around your finger starting at the top of the plant and working your way down. A live stem will be flexible and bendable while a dead stem will break.
Here, you can cut the dead parts from the top until you see green shoots. To do this, wait until the end of winter and late frosts. You can cut up to a third of the stem at a time in search of green tissue.

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2) Think about the watering of the plant to save

5 Tips To Save A "Dead" Plant And Make It Grow Again

Did you overwater it? You’ll need to repot!
Have you overwatered and the soil is wet and the leaves have a tired brown or yellowish appearance? In this case, you will have to repot the plant in dry soil and a pot with holes for drainage. This last point is important, as standing water in a saucer can kill many plants. To help with this, you can tap on the edges of the pot to help the roots break away before gently grabbing them and pulling them out. You can then let it dry for a few hours or half a day before repotting.

Did you water it too little? Get your watering cans!
On the contrary, you may have neglected watering and you will have to do it carefully without drowning the plant. First, clean the soil of dead leaves and bathe the pot in water at room temperature. You can also mist its foliage if it likes humid environments. Then, let it recover its strength! However, don’t hesitate to repot if the soil is extremely dry. And if it is necessary to re-green leaves that have turned yellow, water the plants once a week with a mixture of four tablespoons of cider vinegar for two liters of water. For a beautiful, well-hydrated plant, adding clay balls to the bottom of the pot will preserve moisture longer in the soil.

3) Don’t neglect to add nutrients when appropriate

jardinage terre engrais fertiliser sol

Fertilizer, fertilizer, etc… we can think that it can only strengthen it and help it to start again… Nevertheless, in general, we must forget them the time to save the plant. Indeed, it could harm its still fragile roots which will not be able to manage all these nutriments. As a result, they could burn and the plant will not survive. On the other hand, it can be useful if the plant seems malnourished. This can be seen by discolored leaves and very slow or no growth. In this case, use a fertilizer chosen according to its needs during its growth periods only. Generally, this is from March to September depending on the species. Avoid fertilizing during dormant periods to avoid tiring your houseplants.

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4) The luminosity is another point to consider to save your plant

5 Tips To Save A "Dead" Plant And Make It Grow Again

Whether it’s because you’ve moved it to a different location, got new curtains that are more blackout and insulating for the winter, or because the lighting has changed naturally (for example, due to a season with less sunlight), this could explain why the plant is doing poorly. Indeed, some plants need to receive a lot of light, while others can’t stand it. If the foliage has white or brown spots, it’s usually because it didn’t like being bathed in too much sun. So, switch them around as needed and give them time to recover.

5) If nothing happens to save the plant, give up… and compost it!

5 Tips To Save A "Dead" Plant And Make It Grow Again

Saving a plant takes a lot of effort… Unfortunately, some plants don’t deserve so much. For example, if a plant is too damaged, it may take too long to recover. There is also the question of the price, the rarity of the plant or its sentimental importance to you (especially if it is a gift from a loved one). Considering all these criteria, make the decision to continue your efforts or not. In any case, don’t throw the plant away like a common weed! You can compost it to benefit from


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-jones-436784297/ gardeninguru@outlook.com Jones James
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