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How to save a wilted plant and bring it back to life – tips & tricks for amateur gardeners

Appearance can sometimes be deceiving, with a wilted plant often looking like it’s dead, but that doesn’t mean it actually is. To take care of your plants or revive houseplants as an amateur gardener, you can try these tested hacks. This way, you can save your favorite plants from the compost pile. So, here are some practical tips and tricks that might help you.

Choosing the right care for a dying or wilted plant

how hobby gardeners can save a dying plant with some tips and tricks for plant care

Some of the most common reasons for a plant’s decline are over- or under-watering. The right amount of sun, changes in its environment, bugs and pests, or nutrient deficiencies are more secondary factors. From identifying even the subtlest signs of life to correcting the mistakes you’ve made, you can take simple steps to restore your plant to its former glory. In doing so, you may want to start by choosing the best place for your garden or houseplants.

Look for signs of life first

save a dying or withered plant with simple plant care and bring it back to life

If your plant has turned brown and lost some leaves, you don’t have to give up on it just yet. There is hope that you can revive a dead or wilted plant if it still has a few green leaves and bendy stems. Buds are also a sure sign of life. However, according to experts, reviving a plant takes a lot of patience, which could sometimes take years.

take care of indoor plants and remove falling and yellow leaves

Moreover, the word “dead” is a relative term when it comes to plants. It may look like your plant has died, but if you look closer, that may not be the case. If there is still some green left on it, you may still be in business. Any sign of green on the stem means you may be able to bring the plant back to life. However, you should also check the roots. As the plant’s support system, they provide a lot of information about its overall health.

with little water the leaves of a plant become yellow or brown


Even if the visible parts of the plant are a mess, the roots may still be getting enough nutrients and water to keep them going. Healthy roots should look plump and be white to brown in color with white tips. The roots should still be alive and have a chance to recover so any of these tips will work to save the wilted plant. So if you find any signs of life, the next step is to figure out what went wrong and how to revive your plant.

Check the wilted plant for overwatering.

condensed drops on the leaves of an indoor plant when overwatered or in a damp place

Plants need water to survive and thrive, but it is possible to give a plant too much water. Overwatered plants will have brown or yellow wilted leaves with soggy soil. This affects the roots, which can begin to rot as a result. If you overwater your plant, you need to make some changes as soon as possible. First, move the plant out of direct sunlight and stop watering until the soil dries out. If the potting soil is moist, you may want to change it along with the flower pot. From there, you can research to become more knowledgeable about watering. Look up your plant variety as well as its watering preferences and make sure you follow that information closely in the future.

Prevent desiccation and provide adequate water to the plant

carefully remove dried and yellow leaves from an indoor plant

Just like overwatering, it is also possible that your plant is not getting enough water. For many people, this is a likely scenario. What are the signs of a thirsty plant? In most cases, it will begin to wilt. Its leaves begin to dry out and turn brown at the tips. They then turn brown, die and fall off. The soil also cracks and separates from the edges of the pot.

woman carefully watering a wilted plant with a watering can

Logically, water is the right solution here, but you also need to properly water a dying or wilted plant. If it has been heavily watered, you can quickly revive the plant by soaking it in water for a few hours. Many plants transform from floppy and sad to beautiful, lush and vibrant in just one day using this method. From then on, it’s all about loving plant care. Water more frequently and give the plant the same amount of water each time. However, also give the water time to soak in to the roots. A moisture meter can help you monitor the moisture of the soil. This will ensure you are on the right track for your specific plant species.

Cut back stems and remove yellow leaves

hobby gardener cares for a dying plant by removing the leaves

For this purpose, you should cut back the stems to the green tissue. Also cut back the dead leaves, and then remove dead stems. Ideally, bring it back to the healthiest parts of the plant, but if the stems are dead, leave at least 5 inches of them above the ground. This is also a good time to change the soil and even the pot. In fact, it is a good idea to repot the plant into a larger container or pot at this time. You probably won’t see a change for the better right away. Depending on the plant, it may take a few weeks or longer before it is in better health.

cut dry leaves and stems of indoor plants with scissors

Plants that are deteriorating in health will likely have dead leaves that you need to get rid of. Be ruthless about this. If the leaves are completely brown, they won’t come back. Instead, you should focus on new growth. To do this, cut off the dead leaves with plant shears or regular scissors, or gently pinch them with your fingertips. Typically, yellow leaves come off the stem easily, but if you need to pull, using a cutting tool is recommended.

Provide good lighting conditions.

adapt wilted plant to good light conditions and sunlight and protect it from death

Lighting, including sunlight, is an important factor in the health of your houseplants. Therefore, you need to make sure your plant variety is getting the optimal amount of it. Once you know whether your houseplant prefers full sun, partial sun, direct sunlight or indirect sunlight, you can move it to a more appropriate location in your home. If your plant is not getting enough light, it may help to move it to a place where it will do well. Depending on its condition, a seemingly dead or wilted plant could perk up sooner rather than later with just this simple tweak.

Provide additional nutrients for the wilted plant.

use liquid fertilizer for wilted plant

Fertilizing your plant is especially important during the growing seasons of spring and summer. Accordingly, an undernourished plant will exhibit weak stems or discolored leaves. So to revive a dying plant, you need compost or fertilizer. Two good options here would be a liquid feed that contains only organic ingredients and no synthetic chemicals, and an all-purpose organic fertilizer.

repotting plants and changing potting soil as essential plant care required

Simply repotting the dying plant can also help. The soil can become depleted of nutrients over time. Therefore, it is always a good idea to repot every few years. However, if your plant is in poor condition, start slowly. You don’t want to make several sudden changes at once, as the plant is likely already in shock and more prone to problems. Maintain good habits over time. Most plants do best with some fertilizer, usually once or twice a month during the growing season.

Compost the plant

gardener composts dead or wilted plant with potting soil

If you’ve tried everything and your plant still can’t be revived, it may be time to let go. By composting your plants, the remains can be recycled as nutrient-rich dirt. This can help your next houseplant thrive. This means that your dead plant can have new life. This allows you to contribute to the health of your future plants while helping the environment.