A Guide to Revive Dying Plants: A Troubleshooting Guide

Can any plant be revived?

Yes, any plant can be revived as long as signs of life still remains in its roots and stems. If the plant seems to be dead but there are still some healthy, white roots, then this means that it can still be revived. It is even better if your plant stems still show signs of green. When the stems and roots are too mushy and brittle, then this is a sign that your plant is dead.

How can a dying plant be revived?

Dead parts of the plant should be removed. This will allow the plant to use all of its energy for the parts that are still alive. Make sure to trim all the dead leaves first. Then do the same to the dead stems.

If the plant roots are still alive, but the stem is completely dead, you should not trim the stems all the way down to the roots. Instead, you should leave a bit of stem, about 5 centimeters, above the soil. New growth will sprout from these stems when the plant is revived. New stems can grow from the trimmed ones.

Don’t water a dying plant. If it receives an extra dose of water, it can be harmed if the plant doesn’t need it.

1. If the leaves are wilted and are colored yellow or brown, the soil is moist, and you can see fungus growing at the base, then your plant is overwatered.

Check the pot or the sauce underneath to make sure that there is no leftover water. You should not keep plant roots constantly wet or sit in standing water. This will cause the roots to drown and kill the plant.

If your plant is overwatered, make sure not to add fertilizer or plant foot to it until it has fully recovered. The reason for this is that the roots are sensitive and need time to heal. You should keep these water-damaged plants away from direct sunlight and only water the plant lightly until its recovery. When the leaves return to their normal green, then this is a sign that the plant is fully recovered. Also, the soil is neither too moist nor too hard.

You can also repot your plant in fresh, dry soil. Use a pot with good drainage so that the roots will not sit in water. Choose a pot with a hole in the bottom, or a layer of rocks that can absorb excess water and slowly release it.

2. If the leaves are drooping and dried brown, and the soil is dry and hard, then your plant is underwatered.

This problem can be solved by watering the plant well. You need to saturate the soil so that it will be evenly moist. Let it then dry before watering again. If possible, place the plant in an area that is humid and keep it out of direct sunlight.

Brown leaves should be trimmed away. If only the tips are brown, then using sharp scissors or pruning shears, snip the brown parts away. If the whole leaf is brown, then you should cut it off near the base. A plant mister should be used to give it a little mist every day.

Use distilled water or rainwater instead of tap water. If using tap water, let the water stand uncovered overnight so the minerals can evaporate.

Watering alone may not be enough if your plant is dried out to help it recover especially if you always forget to water it. Make sure to put it in a humid spot out of direct sunlight. The plant will then absorb moisture through its leaves.

3. If the leaves show dark or bleached patches and are dried out, then it is receiving too much sun.

Some plants are able to survive in full sun but there are others that cannot handle it. Make sure to know the sun requirements of your plant, how much sun your plant needs and the place in your home that is can thrive best. Put your plant in a different location if it is showing signs of too much sunlight.4. If the leaves are pale, small, stretched out, and drooping, and the stems are weak and stunted, then your plant is not getting enough sun.

Perhaps you recently moved your plant to a new spot. It is very possible that it is no longer getting enough sunlight. Even if you didn’t move the plant, it is also possible that the lighting situation has changed.

It is best to put the plant in a sunny place and make sure to wipe off the dust from the leaves. Make sure your windows are clean. You can also add light-colored gravel which will reflect light.

If the lighting in your home is really low, then you can use artificial lights. Artificial light can also help your plants. Although bulbs cannot really offer the full spectrum of light the plants need, the effect can be increased by using a more intense bulb.

Don’t immediately transfer the plant to the sunniest spot in the house if you are worried that your plant is not getting enough light. You should move it a little at a time. Gradually expose your plant to higher light to acclimate it to a better location.

4. If the leaves are deformed, have holes, folded, rolled, with white patterns, and with abnormal growth, then this shows that the plant is being infested by bugs.

You simply need to wipe off the leaves with a mild soap solution to remove the pests. Never use insecticides because it can hurt your plant. After wiping off the leave, spray horticultural oil or insecticidal soap and make sure to reach the crevices and the underside of the leaves. Gently dust or wipe the leaves to keep your plants clean.

Make sure you don’t attract bad buds into your house and yard. If your plant seems to have a bug problem, find out how the pests got in there and do what is necessary to prevent them from coming back.

5. If the leaves are deformed or discolored, and the stems are weak or dying, and its growth is stunted, then your plant is deficient in nutrients.

You have a hungry plant in need of nutrients. If you haven’t added plant food to replenish the nutrients in the soil, then this can happen. If your plant lacks nutrition, its ability to thrive is inhibited since it has nothing to fuel and support its growth. It is easy to make homemade plant food. You can simply use common household items that have all the nutrients your plant needs. Or, you can repot your plant to a bigger pot so that the roots can grow well.

If you want your plant to recover immediately within days, then you should provide it with the necessary nutrients that it needs. You can also give your plants a water-soluble fertilizer that will slowly release nutrients. This will keep the plant’s roots from being burned. Before watering, add fertilizer to the watering can. And use the fertilizer only during the plant’s growing period. If you over-fertilize or use the wrong fertilizer, the roots of the plants can burn.

6. If the plants get crispy edges, called salt burn, and the leaves turn brown or black, then the plant has too much fertilizer.

Your plant can fall apart very fast in this condition. Your plant’s root can burn with too much fertilizer. However, your plant still needs its nutrients to grow. You should then use water-soluble fertilizer in a can of water and water your plant with this nutrient-rich solution.

It is important also to fertilize only at the right time so that you don’t do harm to your plant. If the plant does not flower in winter, it uses the time to rest. Only fertilize the plant during its growing season from spring to autumn.

7. If the plant isn’t growing, then maybe the pot is too small.

When the plant is too big in relation to the pot, then this can happen. As a rule of thumb, your plant should be 2/3 above ground and 1/3 below ground. The soil level should be within one or two inches of the rim. This will make the water pool before it seeps in. 

Repot a plant right away when you buy it in a plastic pot. These plants are overgrown when they are sold and they are not meant to live in those pots. It is important that you give them room to grow

If roots are coming out along the top of the pot or through the drainage holes, then it is time to repot your plant. This shows that your plant needs more space. You should then repot your plant to a larger one.

When you water your plant and the water rushes right through the pot and out the drainage holes, then this shows that the plant roots are taking up too much space in the pot. There is not enough soil to help your plants thrive.


I enjoy all things outdoors and I love plants! I've never considered myself to be one with a green thumb, but it's my mission to learn, so I figured I would bring you along for the ride. :) Happy planting!

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