Appearances can be deceiving, so even if a plant looks dead, it doesn’t mean that it is. Try these expert gardening tricks to revive your precious plant instead of tossing it.
By Rubab Saeed
W hen it comes to plants, “dead” is a relative term. It may look like your plant is a goner, but when you take a closer look, that may not actually be the case. If there’s any green left on the plant, you might still be in business.
You should also check the roots. As the plant’s support system, they provide a lot of information about the state of its overall health. Even if the visible parts of the plant are a mess, the roots may still be receiving enough nutrients and water to keep it going. The roots should still be alive and have a chance to recover for any of these tips to work to save the plant. If you do find signs of life, the next step is figuring out what went wrong and how to revive your plant. Plants need water to survive and thrive, but it’s possible to give a plant too much water. How can you tell? Overwatered plants will have brown or yellow wilted leaves with moist soil. This will affect the roots, which can start to rot. If you’ve been giving your plant too much water, you will need to make some changes—ASAP. Move the plant out of direct sunlight and stop watering until the soil dries out.
Just like overwatering, it’s also easy to underwater—and for many people, a likely scenario. What are the signs of a thirsty plant? The plant will begin to wilt. Leaves will start to dry out and brown at the tips, and then turn brown, die, and drop off. The soil will also crack and pull away from the edges of the pot. Of course, water is the answer here, but you have to go about watering a dying plant in the right way. If a plant has been severely underwatered, a quick way to revive it is to let it soak in water for a few hours. Many plants go from droopy and sad to beautiful, lush, and perky in just one day with this method! Plants that are deteriorating will likely have dead leaves, and you’ll need to get rid of them.
Of course, green is good. Anything else? Not so much. To that end, you’ll want to trim stems back to just the green tissue. Trim back the dead leaves, and then take off dead bits of the stem as well.
Let there be light—or maybe not so much of it! Lighting is an important factor for the health of your houseplants, so you’ll need to make sure that your variety is getting the optimal amount. Once you know if your houseplant prefers full sun, partial sun, direct sunlight, or indirect sunlight, then you can move it to a more suitable area of your home. If you’ve tried everything, including waiting a minimum of a month, and your plant hasn’t made any progress, it’s possible that it’s time to say goodbye. But instead of tossing your dead plant in the trash, place it in a compost bin. When you compost your plants, even if they’re dead, the remains can be turned into nutrient-rich soil that acts as a natural fertilizer.
“Be ruthless: If leaves are completely brown, they’re not coming back; you want to focus on new growth instead.”