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7 Signs That Your Plant Is Dying: What Should You Do To Save It

7 Signs That Your Plant Is Dying: What Should You Do To Save It

7 Signs That Your Plant Is Dying: What Should You Do To Save It

Plants may die when they are well tendered to. That means that you can save your plants from dying if you are careful about treating them. But what are the signs that you need to watch out for, and what can you do to save a plant from dying?

You need to watch out for a few things to know if your plant is almost dying. And to save the plants, it doesn’t take a lot of effort, just everyday things that anyone can do. Below are signs to note when your plant is dying and how you can save the plant. 

  1. Shivering Plant With Wilting Leaves

This may be a sign that your plant isn’t under the proper humidity. This may not so much be your fault as much as it is an environmental issue. When you start seeing this, you need to move the plant to get more moisture in the air. 

You can also try to mist your plant regularly when you notice these signs. Check out this site to find out how to do it. You will find more information on plant care too.

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2. It’s Turning Brownish

The first and obvious sign that your plant is dying is if it starts to turn brownish. When you begin to see this, you will also notice that the plant may appear to have lost life. It is withering in the process, and you need to act early if you are to save the plant from dying. 

First, what you need to do is to check the roots of the plants as these are the supporting system for the plant. This is where the plants mostly get their nutrients from, and it has to be on point for the plant to survive. If the roots are healthy, then the plant can be saved. 

How to figure out healthy roots – they should be whitish and appear plump. If this isn’t the case, the plant can’t be saved, and you need to find out why it died. You have a better chance with the next one when you figure out the problem. 

  1. Yellow Wilted Leaves With Moist Soil

The other sign that you have a dying plant is wilted leaves that are often brown or yellow. And it may be accompanied by moist soil – this is a sign of overwatering of the plant. Plants need water to survive, but you shouldn’t overdo the watering process. 

When you overwater the plants, you’ll be making the first mistake by killing the plant’s roots. When there’s more than enough water, the roots start to rot, and they won’t support the plants. At this point, you need to move the plants to direct sunlight and stop watering. 

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You may need to check the soil – if it’s soggy, you need to change the soil type that the plant has. You can then seek to find out more about the plant and how to water it. 

4. Dead Leaves

Dead leaves are another sure sign that you have a dying plant. And this has more serious issues than what you see above the soil. The first reason this may be happening is that you may be underwatering the plant. 

Now, you will need to find out how often you need to water this specific plant. Also, you may need to remove the plant from direct sunlight. You may now need to start trimming the dead leaves so as not to take up any more nutrients. 

  1. Dead Stems

You may also start to see the stems of the plants dying, which is a sure sign that your plant is dying. When you see this happening to your plant, the first thing you have to do is to trim the stem. 

When you trim the stems a bit, you need to ensure that the leaves of the plants are a few inches from the soil. This is when they can be the healthiest as they are close to the nutrients from the soil. You can also opt to change the soil the plant has. 

  1. Wilting Plant

Generally, a wilting plant is a sign that things aren’t going on well with it. You will need to find out the reasons why by checking some of the ideas on this list. One by one, and maybe you’ll find out what the issue is. 

7. Do Not Throw Out The Plant Immediately

When you notice signs of death on your plant, you don’t need to throw them out immediately. You need to give it at least a month and perform some of the tips above to ensure it survives. After, if there’s no sign of life, you can then throw away the plant. 

Always take your time trying to revive your plants before throwing them away. 


There are several signs that a plant is dying, and when you know them, you can quickly start trying to save the plant. These are some of the characteristics of a plant that is dying and how you can save the plant. There are also some lost causes that you need not spend time trying to figure out how to save. 

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“Some of the most common reasons for a plant to deteriorate are overwatering or underwatering, not getting the right amount of sun, changes to their environment, bugs and pests, or nutrient deficiencies,” says Gardening expert John Valentino, owner of John & Bob’s Smart Soil Solutions

How do you help a dying plant?

To revive the plant, you can soak it in water and then adopt a predictable watering schedule that uses the same amount each time. Remove dead leaves: Improper care may cause most leaves on the plant to die, and removing leaves that have become entirely brown is usually best.

Why is my plant dying?

The most common mistake that well-meaning plant parents make is overwatering, which can cause root rot, ultimately killing your plant. Root rot from a pathogen thrives in a consistently moist environment; the once-dormant pathogen activates and attacks the roots if the soil is left soggy for too long.

How do you describe a dying plant?

Yellowing or Wilting Leaves

Discoloured or drooping leaves are often an indication of a dead plant. “When plants are stressed, leaves fall off because the plant is losing moisture and trying to protect itself,” explains Kip McConnell, director of Plant Development Services, Inc.

What happens when a plant is dying?

Brown leaves are one of the most obvious signs your plant is dying. If the browning is only confined to the tips of the leaves, check if your plant is tropical and needs high humidity. To save the plant, spray it with lukewarm water or move it into a greenhouse.

All may not be lost!

If you’re here, chances are you’ve got a dead plant on your hands. Don’t be too hard on yourself—it happens to the best of us, sometimes even with the most low-maintenance plants. But we’ve got some good news for you: Your sad-looking plant may be only mostly dead, to borrow a line from The Princess Bride, and you might be able to revive it. “Some of the most common reasons for a plant to deteriorate are overwatering or underwatering, not getting the right amount of sun, changes to their environment, bugs and pests, or nutrient deficiencies,” says Gardening expert John Valentino, owner of John & Bob’s Smart Soil Solutions. “All of these problems can be fixed as long as you notice them in time.”

Of course, we’re here to tell you exactly how to do that. From identifying even the most subtle signs of life to correcting your mistakes, these simple steps will help you return your plant to its former glory and reap the health benefits of gardening. Once you’re a plant pro, you might want to peruse the best places to buy plants online and pick up a few of the best indoor plants—or maybe these artificial plants that no one can tell are fake.

Step 1: Look for signs of life

Regarding plants (including air-purifying ones), “dead” is a relative term. It may look like your plant is a goner, but that may not happen when you look closer. You might still be in business if there’s any green left on the plant. “Any signs of green on the stem mean there’s a chance you’ll be able to bring it back to life,” says Valentino.

You should also check the roots. As the plant’s support system, they provide much information about its overall health. Translation: 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. “Healthy roots should appear plump and be white to tan in colour with white tips,” says Jennifer Morganthaler, an agriculture instructor at Missouri State University. “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 find signs of life, the next step is figuring out what went wrong and how to revive your plant.

Step 2: Check if you’ve overwatered

Plants need water to survive and thrive, but giving a plant too much water is possible. How can you tell? “Overwatered plants will have brown or yellow wilted leaves with moist soil,” says Valentino. “This will affect the roots, which can start to rot.” If you’ve been giving your plant too much water, you must make some changes—ASAP. “Move the plant out of direct sunlight and stop watering until the soil dries out,” advises Morganthaler. “If the soil is soggy, you may want to change the soil and the pot.” From there, do a little research. Look up your plant’s watering preferences, and follow that information to a T in the future.

Step 3: Check if you’ve underwatered

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,” notes Morganthaler. “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 water a dying plant correctly. “If a plant has been severely underwatered, a quick way to revive it is to let it soak in water for a few hours,” says Vickie Christensen, master gardener and plant doctor at Léon & George. “Many plants go from droopy and sad to beautiful, lush and perky in just one day with this method!”

From there, it’s all about regular TLC. “Water more often, and give the plant the same amount each time,” Morganthaler advises. “Make sure to give the water time to soak down to the roots.” A soil moisture meter can help you monitor the soil’s moisture and ensure you’re on the right track for your specific plant. Check if there are any white fungus balls in your plant’s soil.

Step 4: Remove dead leaves

Plants that are deteriorating will likely have dead leaves, and you’ll need to get rid of them. Be ruthless: If leaves are entirely brown, they’re not returning; you want to focus on new growth instead. To remove them, snip the dead leaves with plant shears or scissors or gently pinch them with your fingertips. Typically, dead leaves will come off the stem quickly, but if you have to tug, use a pair of shears. If you want to add to your plant collection, check out these indoor hanging plants.

Step 5: Trim back the stems

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,” says Valentino. “Ideally, you want to take it all the way back to the healthiest bits of the plant, but if the stems are dead, then leave at least two inches of them above the soil.”

It is also an excellent time to change the soil—and even the pot. Morganthaler recommends repotting the plant in a larger container or pot at this time. And be warned: You likely won’t see a change for the better right away. Depending on the plant, it could take a few weeks or longer till the plant is in a better state of health. Speaking of health—check out these toxic plants you may already have at home.

Step 6: Look at the lighting

Let there be light—or maybe not so much of it! Lighting is an essential factor for the health of your houseplants, so you’ll need to ensure that your variety is getting the optimal amount. Once you know if your houseplant prefers full sun, partial sun, direct sunlight or indirect sunlight, you can move it to a more suitable area of your home. “If your plant isn’t getting enough light, moving it to somewhere it will help,” says Christensen. Depending on its state, a seemingly dead plant might perk up sooner rather than later with this simple tweak. Don’t have a lot of light in your home? Consider these low-light houseplants that thrive in near darkness.

Step 7: Determine if your plant needs more humidity

If your plant came from the tropics, it might be dying to return to that environment. Although the amount of humidity depends on the plant, there are some indicators that a plant may need more moisture in the air. “If the humidity is too low,” says Morganthaler, “the plant can show signs of shrivelling, browning and wilting.” If more humidity is needed, try misting your plants regularly or grouping them to help increase humidity.

Of course, too much humidity will be a problem for some plants. “If the humidity is too high, the plant can develop mould or mildew, fungal infections and yellow leaves,” says Morganthaler. She notes that plants with thicker, waxier leaves tolerate dry air better, and that’s the situation in most of our homes. Still, Christensen adds, “While houseplants have been acclimated for life indoors and don’t necessarily need very humid conditions, most won’t like sitting next to a heater or air vent, as this can be too dry for their liking.”

Step 8: Provide additional nutrients

Feeding your plant is especially important during spring and summer growing seasons. A malnourished plant, says Valentino, will exhibit weak stems or discoloured leaves, so to revive a dying plant, you’ll need compost or fertilizer. Two good options: are Dr Earth’s liquid food, which contains only organic ingredients and no synthetic chemicals, and the brand’s all-purpose organic fertilizer for all types of plants. Simply repotting your dying plant can also help. “Soil can become depleted of nutrients over time, so repotting every few years is always a good idea,” says Christensen.

If your plant needs to be in better shape, starting slow is a good idea. You don’t want to make several sudden changes all at once since the plant is likely to already be in a state of shock and more susceptible to problems. Over time, keep up the good habits. “Most plants do best with a little fertilizer, usually once or twice a month, during the growing season,

Step 9: Wait at least a month

It can be easy to lose hope when your efforts aren’t paying off. But remember: It took a while to nearly kill your plant, and it will take a while to nurse it back to health. The key is to be patient. Keep tending to your plant for a few weeks, and then reevaluate. “Once you’ve taken steps to revive a dying plant, it can take up to a month before you start to see an improvement or new growth, so don’t give up on it too soon,” says Valentino. You may also need to troubleshoot before figuring out the exact problem and the subsequent solution, so the process may take longer than expected.

Step 10: Compost it

If you’ve tried everything, including waiting a minimum of a month, and your plant hasn’t made any progress, it may be 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 that can benefit your other houseplants or garden. That means your dead plant can have new life—and contribute to the health of your future plants while also helping the environment.

7 Signs That Your Plant Is Dying: What Should You Do To Save It

Last update on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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