How To Revive A Plant


There are two types of people out on this planet: those with a green thumb and those without one. When you’re first starting out on your gardening journey, it’s easy to make a mistake that causes your plant to wilt and wither. Does this mean you should give up? Absolutely not!

How do you revive a plant? After determining the cause of your plant’s ailing health, you can do a number of different actions to help improve your plant’s chances at life, including:

  • Watering Your Plant
  • Changing Your Plant’s Environment
  • Combatting Root Rot
  • Giving Your Plant More Nutrients

Obviously, not all plants can be saved once they start to wilt. Thankfully, you can still give your little green buddy a chance to turn its life around. This guide will help you diagnose your plant’s problem and work towards solving it. 

How Do You Revive A Plant? 

Plant revival starts off with the most important step: figuring out what caused your plant’s health problems. Without proper diagnosis, you can’t really figure out what you need to do to better your plant’s health. This quick guide will show you how to kick off your diagnosis and form a plan:

  • Feel the soil. Does the soil feel dry and flaky? If so, you may have left your plant underwatered. Watering it will revive it. On the other hand, soil that’s overly wet may be a sign of overwatering and/or root rot, which will require root care and a new potting session.
  • If you’re concerned about root rot, take the plant out of the pot and inspect the roots. Root rot will appear like a moldy growth on the plant’s roots. If your plant has mushy roots, you will need to treat the rot before it gets worse. 
  • Look at the plant’s leaves. A plant that’s low on sunlight will have pale leaves. Scorched plants, on the other hand, will have dark, bleached, brittle leaves that break under pressure. 
  • Test the soil’s pH and nutrient level. Plants that aren’t very hardy can wilt due to poor soil conditions, especially soil that has a pH level that’s too low or high for its species. A test kit can reveal how close your plant’s soil quality matches its ideal environment. 

Preventing Further Damage

After fixing up your plant’s main problems, there’s one last step in revival: clipping away ailing parts of your plant before you can let your plant heal. This is a part of the procedure regardless of the original cause of your plant’s poor health.

Your plant can’t heal well without having dead portions of its body removed. So, you will need to trim your plant before things can get back to normal or before you can re-pot your plant. 

Doing this is fairly simple. Using a pair of scissors or shears, trim away dead leaves and dead parts of your plant’s roots. If the leaves are starting to yellow, it’s best to err on the side of caution and clip it away regardless.

Fixing Soil Moisture Levels

Most rookies will eventually overwater or under-water the plants in their garden. Thankfully, this is a relatively quick fix in most situations. Touching your plant’s soil will give you a good idea on what to do. Wet soil may be indicative of overwatering, while dry soil requires more moisture.

What To Do If You Overwatered Your Plant

Overwatering is actually more dangerous than underwatering in most situations. If you know you overwatered your plant but only did it once, then just skip a watering session and aerate your soil. On the other hand, regular overwatering can be more insidious, as it can cause root rot. 

Here’s how to treat a plant that’s overwatered and potentially hit with root rot:

  1. Take the plant out of the planter and remove soil from the pot. If you want to reuse the pot, make a point of cleaning it with bleach. This way, if any mold has taken hold in the planter, it’ll be killed off.
  2. Examine your plant’s roots. Root rot takes hold in highly moist areas. If your plant’s roots are dark and mushy, they are infected with root rot.
  3. If your plant has root rot, remove the soil from your plant and dip the roots in fungicide. This will get rid of the mold.
  4. Transfer your plant to a new pot (or reused pot) with clean soil. This will hopefully give your plant a place to heal. 

What To Do With An Under-Watered Plant

Not watering your plant enough can also cause some serious issues, but these are easily corrected. All you really need to do is water your plant more, and possibly add some water crystals to your soil. 

Fixing Soil Quality Problems

If you are dealing with a matter of soil quality, things get a little more involved. A soil testing kit will tell you whether you’re dealing with a low nutrient soil, a high pH soil, or a low pH soil. Generally speaking, acidic soil and low nutrition will pose a larger threat than basic soil will. 

Here’s how to handle each reading, based on what your plant needs:

  • Soils with low nutrient levels will need to get some fertilizer or plant food into the mix. A quick spritz of Miracle-Gro will be enough to get most plants on the right track. If your plant has unique nutrient needs, doubling up on fertilizer and plant food made for your specific plant can help.
  • High levels of nitrogen suggest that you should try to transfer your plant into a new pot of soil. Many plants don’t do well with too much nitrogen, which may be why your plant is wilting. Give your plant a transfer to see if it works. In many cases, it’ll boost your plant’s life!
  • Adjust the soil pH to better work with your plant. A pH level that’s too high or low will cause the plant to struggle with nutrient intake. You can balance things out by adding Dolomite Lime to acidic soil or by adding used coffee grounds and water to basic soil.

Fixing Sunlight Problems

There are two major issues that can harm a plant in terms of light: too little sunlight, and too much sunlight. If you notice that your plant’s leaves are very pale, chances are that a quick transfer to a more well-lit location will revive your plant in a pinch. It’s an easy fix.

But, what if you’re giving your plant too much sunlight? It can cause bleached leaves as well as excessively dark leaves. After all, plants might need sunlight to survive, but there is still too much of a good thing! 

Perennials that are made for shady reasons can wilt if left out in the sun. If you believe an overabundance of sunlight to be an issue with your plant, transfer it to a shadier indoor location to see if it perks up.

Preventing Your Plant From Dying Later On

Once you’ve worked to revive your plant, it’s important to make sure it has a chance at a speedy recovery and a long life. Doing this requires that you learn what your plant needs to survive. Most plants will come with instruction cards that detail how you can grow them.

Didn’t get much detail on your card? Not a problem. Finding details about your plant’s needs can be done via a quick search on the internet regarding information about your plant.  Follow those instructions, and you should be good to go.

Eyerly Family

The Eyerly Family is a family of 8 that loves gardening. Over the past several years we have been applying what we learn about gardening to our own 16x16 raised back yard garden. Our garden is very prolific and we grow a wide variety of vegetables which we love to eat! Click here to learn more about the Eyerly Family.

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