How To Save Sick Houseplants

Some of us seem to have a knack when it comes to houseplants. They flourish, they look big and beautiful, and they really brighten up the space they occupy. Others of us…not so much. Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, houseplants just seem to wither. Instead of these lush gorgeous things, they just kind of shrivel up, leaving you to wonder what gives! When this happens, it’s hard not to feel that on some level you’ve failed them. If this sounds even remotely like you, we’ve got some tips on how you can try to save those little green friends that are maybe not doing so well.

Assess The Situation

Alright, first things first. Just because your plant looks dead, doesn’t mean it actually is. If the leaves are looking all brown and dried out like a bit of papyrus, there still might be hope to revive it. What you want to do is give the stem and roots a good looking over. If these parts of the plants are still firm and somewhat pliable, there’s yet hope! You also want to check the stems to make sure there is a bit of green inside of them. But, if these parts of the plants have turned to mush, or just crumble, it’s a lost cause.

Check For Root Rot

So, there is such a thing as giving your plant too much water. While we might think we are just giving it an extra drink, over-watering can actually result in something called root rot. This especially occurs in houseplants that don’t have a means of proper drainage. To check for root rot, unpot your plant and see if the roots appear mushy and brownish-black in color. That means the roots aren’t getting enough oxygen and are over-saturated. Another sign of this plant malady are when you notice that the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. To save the plant, remove it from the pot and wash the roots clean. Then, you’ll want to trim the roots back where they are damaged. Wash the pot out and replant in fresh soil.

Growing Pains

If the roots of a houseplant get too crowded, that can make your plant start to go downhill. If you take your plant out of the pot, and the roots like like a big tangled mess, it’s outgrown its pot. The roots need space, but not too much. You want to go one size up from your plant’s current pot, going too big too soon can also cause issues. Before you re-pot try to gently separate and loosen up the tangled mess of roots. Also, make sure you use fresh soil.

Hold Up On The Fertilizer

Alright, so your plant is looking a bit sickly and you think that maybe it just needs a little fertilizer in order to revive itself. Actually, no. If your houseplant is already showing signs of distress, throwing fertilizer on it can actually cause it even more stress, and even kill it completely. Instead, check for the other issues mentioned above, and make sure your plant is getting the right amount of sunlight each day. Sometimes, reviving your plant really is as easy to moving it in or out of the sun, or partial sun. Not all plants like the same amount of sun. Only once you begin to see new growth, and some general improvement in your plant, should you then give it a little fertilizer to help it along its path to recovery.

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