When is it too late to restore a plant? Sometimes it is necessary to ask yourself this question. Whether it's due to forgetfulness or lack of knowledge, we failed to give the plant proper care and now it's deteriorating. In this article, Savana will give you more information on plant health and how to revive a dying plant.

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A telltale sign of dead flora is mushy and brittle stems and roots. Once a plant reaches this stage, no home remedies can save it. 

When is It Too Late to Revive Plants?

Above, we mentioned roots and stems showing whether you can save a dying plant. In practice, if your plant does not exhibit any of the following properties, it cannot be salvaged:

  • The stems of this plant are still curved. That means it's not completely dry yet.
  • somewhat stubby roots and white tips
  • Green tissue on the stem (scratch the base of the stem or trim off ⅓ Check the upper branches one at a time and look for the green part)
  • Note that you may not be able to assess a tree's roots because it is much larger than a houseplant. So to decide if it's too late, bring a tree back to life and scrape the bark to see if it's green underneath. No green anywhere means a dead tree.

In fact, some people may be more concerned about unhealthy foliage because it is more noticeable than other plant areas. However, gardeners should know that a seedling or tree with brown leaves is not always dead. Often, it has watering issues and other problems that can be fixed.

Another possibility is that your plant may be going through winter dormancy, causing it to shed or drop its leaves before growing in the spring. During the colder months, plants that appear to die include daffodils, tulips, deciduous trees, evergreens such as rhododendrons or camellias, and shrubs such as rosemary and lavender.

With these facts in mind, if there is life on the roots or stems, follow these tips to revive dying plants:

  • Keep the healthy roots intact, and trim off dead stem segments, leaving at least two inches.
  • Alternatively, place only live stems into the soil, and discard dead roots.
  • In both cases, give the plants 50 percent of their sun needs and keep the soil moist. Then wait for improvements.

How to Revive a Plant

Now that you know when it's okay to bring a seemingly dead plant back to life, here are some additional tips for restoring plant health.

1. Remove unhealthy stems and leaves.

The first step in reviving dead plants is to cut off the dead stems and leaves. Brown leaves never regain health, so there's no use saving them. Cutting off dead leaves will also improve the plant's appearance and encourage new growth.

Also, sterilize your shears before pruning. Doing this will prevent the spread of disease, especially if you used cutting tools on other sick plants. For an inexpensive solution, mix bleach and water 1:9, or use 70% isopropyl alcohol to sanitize the scissors.

2. Adjust your watering and repot if necessary.

If you see brown and drooping leaves, you may have found a plant that is dying from lack of water. In this case, soak the roots in water for 30 minutes to a few hours, then adjust your irrigation.

For example, if a plant needs an inch of water per week, give it that exact amount. You can also buy a soil gauge and use it to guide your watering habits. Simply insert the device into the soil, check the reading, and if it says "dry", water

On the other hand, another situation that can happen is overwatering. In this case, the leaves will also turn brown or yellow; the soil will become soggy; and there may be soft stems and roots with a strange smell.

In this case, rejuvenate houseplants by repotting. While you can wait until the soil dries out, it's better to change the planting medium, especially if the current pot is infested with pests and bacteria.

3. Give plants the appropriate temperature, sunlight, and humidity.

An easy way to bring a dying plant back to life is by satisfying its growing needs. Obviously, if the temperature, sunlight or humidity are not right, the plants will suffer.

Too little sun will usually cause leaf shedding, while too much sun will cause wilting and discoloration.

Likewise, high humidity can increase disease risk, while low humidity can cause leaf deformation.

As for excessive heat or cold, both can damage plants, with the obvious result being heat stress or stunted growth and death.

With these facts in mind, it is wise to consult a plant care guide and follow it.

For example, to revive a dying money tree, we should give it dappled light (at least 6 hours), a temperature of 53 to 77°F, and a humidity level of 30%. These conditions prevent drought and brown or drooping leaves from becoming a problem.

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Lighting should be easy to handle while doing this tip. As for temperature and humidity, HVAC, shades and humidifiers will come in handy.

4. Apply fertilizer.

In addition to the above problems, nutrient deficiencies may be the culprit behind lifeless plants.

Therefore, you should perform a soil test and follow its recommendations, including which amendments to use and how much. If you don't know where to find them, soil assessment kits are available online and at university extension offices.

It's also important to note that fertilizing is the last step, especially if your plants have other issues such as dead stems, overwatering, etc. Address these issues before applying nutritional supplements, as plants in a state of shock will not adapt to many changes immediately.

5. Manage diseases and pests.

Just as important as the steps above, inspect your plants for pests and diseases and eliminate them. Management strategies will vary depending on the plant's problem, so consult a gardening professional for an accurate diagnosis.

For example, Bordo copper spray treats powdery mildew and blight, while garden sulfur treats black knot and apple head blight.

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When is it too late to restore a plant? We hope the answer is now obvious. If your plant is salvageable, follow the tips above to bring it back to life.

Otherwise, it's best to compost the dead tissue and move on. Even the best gardeners lose a crop sometimes, so you shouldn't feel bad about going through the same thing.


January 02, 2023

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