How To Revive A Houseplant
A range of reasons can explain why your houseplant is looking the worse for wear, and there are various remedies which can bring it back to life.
If a houseplant has been watered too much, it is likely to become droopy and lethargic. It may be drowning in water at the base. If the roots look healthy, then all is not lost. All you need is to tip out the excess water, settle the plant back in, and add some fresh potting compost. If the roots are only partially damaged, you can trim some of the upper leaves so that the root has less work to do. Then, just ensure the plant is not sitting in strong sunlight, and water sparingly.
If this is the case then the compost will be dry and hard, and the plant will look desiccated. Put it in a bucket of water, completely submerging it for about half an hour. Then let it drain somewhere, making sure it isn’t in direct sunlight, gently watering it until signs of new life begin to appear.
Yes, plants can get hungry, just as us humans. You might notice discolored leaves or virtually no growth occurring. A bio-solids fertilizer (think of it as a nutritional supplement)
can help the plant recover rapidly, within a matter of days. Other deficiencies may take longer, weeks maybe, while others are so serious that they may not ever fully recover, although these are rare with houseplants.
Sometimes a plant can have received too much sun and has a scorched look about it. You might notice dark or bleached bits on the leaves, the foliage will tend to be brittle, and the compost will be baked hard. You need to water it well, and with some scissors cut away the dead foliage before moving to a cooler, more shaded area. Putting it in a tray of gravel and water can help, due to the humidity this enables.
It’s possible that your plant is suffering from unwanted bugs which view it as a free meal. If this is the case, wash the plant with warm water, wipe it down to remove the bugs, then spray it with some kind of horticultural oil or insecticidal soap, ensuring you spray all sections of the plant. Regular dusting or wiping should help alleviate this situation from reoccurring, so that mealybugs or any other bugs (gnats, aphids, fruit flies, spider mites) can’t get properly settled on your precious plant.
This will lead to unhealthy, gaunt looking leaves, or sometimes in a gangly, thin appearance. Some of the leaves, particularly near the base, can turn yellow; it is unlikely that any flowering will emerge. You need to wipe off the dusty residue and move to a sunnier area in your home, then add a layer of white gravel to the soil which will reflect the sunlight upwards into the plant.
If you start to notice that roots are growing out of the drain hole or that your pot is tipping over a lot, then take the plant out of the old pot without damaging the root ball, squeezing the plastic pot or rolling on a bench if the root ball does not slide right out. Put soil mix into the new pot, positioning the plant’s roots to replant it in the same position it was growing in before. Water well, using a root stimulator or similar fertilizer, and keep the pot in a lower light exposure for the first week to prevent transplant shock.
- Reviving Houseplants – IOWA State University