How to bring back a dying plant in 10 Steps

You saw a plant you loved in a shop and you brought it home and loved it for many months and sometimes years and then it started to decline. What are you doing wrong? Is it dying? Can you save it? Check out our top tips to save a dying houseplant.

Right plant in the right spot

The best way to keep a plant happy, is to learn what it wants before you buy it. You can't fight nature so only buy the plants that suit the conditions you can offer. Don’t buy a cactus for a dark corner, you are wasting your time and money and no amount of plant advice will help.

How can I tell if I am overwatering?

Overwatering causes plants to drown from lack of oxygen, or suffer from root rot and fungus because they can't dry out properly. If the soil is always wet, you are almost certainly overwatering and the plant is likely drowning. Your soil needs to dry out between waterings as a golden rule. Yellow leaves and and bugs are also signs your overwatering. Bugs love damp soil!

How do I know if my plant needs more water?

If your plants is wilting or drooping, the plant needs more water. Plants should be rigid and upright with water strengthening the plant. Under watered plants will sag and look miserable. Under watered plants are easily fixed, if you look carefully and you have dry soil and a wilting plant it needs more water. A good soaking will revive a plant in. a few hours and it will usually bounce back without any more help.

How can I tell if my plant needs more or less sun?

If your plant is not getting enough light, the most common sign is the yellowing and dropping of leaves, stunted leaf growth, elongated stems, and a dull-green color. If your plant is getting too much light, then its leaves will have singed tips, burned patches, yellow or will be falling off. Move the plant closer or further away from a window and expect to move plants regularly through the year as the days get hotter, brighter, longer or shorter in the UK through the seasons.

How can I tell if I’m fertilising too much or too little?

Plant food deficiency will result in yellow leaves starting at the tips then reaching the stem, its happens mostly to plants that are old or pot bound that have not beed fed regularly - the soil becomes depleted and stale and the plant has no more energy to grow. You may also see small spots develop on the leaves that grow over time and create large patches of discolouration.

It's hard to over feed, but usually the plant will show signs of distress like falling and yellowing leaves, similar to overwatering. Feeding outside the growing season, march through October in the UK usually causes this type of plant damage. Its very rare so unless you know you have overfed it's usually another cause.

How can I tell if the pot is too small?

Easy, simply try tilting your plant on its side and sliding it out of the pot. If it won't budge, or if you see more roots than soil, or roots that are growing out the pot (tope or bottom), then its pot-bound. Repot only in the growing season, early is best so aim for Spring. Don't ever report new plants, let them settle for a few weeks before you report nay plant.

How can I tell if my plant needs more humidity?

Leaves will dry and shrivel up and Some plants may curl their leaves inward or down. If a new leaf unravels and looks misshapen, that might be because it formed during a time with to low humidity. Sometimes the seasons can affect the humidity in your house, central heating in the UK is typically bad for plants, think about moving sensitive plants into the bathroom or spray them regularly with water in the winter.

Also consider placing your plants on hydroballs with water, which will evaporate around the plants. It works wonders for palms and other plants anytime of the year.

What can I do if I see bugs?

Check you are not overwatering and ensure you isolate the plant to stop the spread. Also keep perspective, plants can fly in through the window and land on your plant so a few bugs in summer is to be expected. Purchase a good bug spray and treat the plant over several weeks and the bugs usually disappear without too much trouble. Also try not to let it spoil your hobby, plants and bugs live together naturally and the plant will cope if its being well looked after.

Where do I find more information about caring for my houseplant?

Check out happy houseplants you tube channel, we are uploading regularly and we have many topics covered to ensure you are successful and enjoy your hobby.

How can I tell if my plant is dead or salvageable?

Any plants that has a healthy root system will cope, leaves and stems will grow back. A plant that has been distressed or poorly often will cope if you cut it back and provide ideal growing conditions, bouncing back in a few weeks with new growth. Plants that have been overwatered rarely grow back, the brain of the plant is in the roots and cannot cope with being drowned.

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