How do I revive wilting?

Written by susan walworth
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How do I revive wilting?
The droopy leaves of a potted plant can be a sign of wilting and a plea for help. (plant image by prinzesa from

All plants are susceptible to wilting. Without proper care, cut flowers and greenery can wilt quickly and have a short vase life. Droopy leaves are a sure sign that garden plants and potted plants are wilted. The most common cause of wilting is lack of water, but overwatering can also cause wilting. Having plants in the wrong location, such as shade-loving plants in a sunny location, is another common cause of wilting. Wilted plants in these situations are often simple to revive. Certain plant diseases, however, can also cause wilting.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Newspaper
  • Tub
  • Potting soil
  • Sand
  • Rocks
  • Fungicide
  • Pesticide

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  1. 1

    Make fresh, diagonal cuts on stems held under warm running water.

  2. 2

    Wrap wilted stems in newspaper for support and place paper and stem in a water-filled vase. Allow stems to absorb water until they can stand on their own.

  3. 3

    Submerge both bloom and stem of severely wilted cut flowers completely straight in a tub of water for about 30 minutes. Use warm water for roses. Use cool water for irises, tulips, daffodils and similar flowers.

  1. 1

    Stick your finger in the soil of wilted potted or garden plants. If no soil sticks to your finger, soil is dry and plants likely need water. Water potted plants slowly until water drains out the bottom of the pot or set pot in a tub of water to allow plant to absorb water up through the roots. Water garden plants until soil is moistened to a depth of at least 6 inches or the depth of the plant's roots.

  2. 2

    Allow soggy soil to dry out before watering potted or garden plants. If necessary, repot plants in fresh soil. Make sure pot has a drainage hole and at least 1 inch of gravel or rocks in the bottom of pot to improve drainage. If garden soil is too soggy, amend with coarse sand and organic matter to improve drainage.

  3. 3

    Move wilted lowlight house plants away from windows or sun-loving plants into more light. Transplant shade-loving garden plants out of sunny locations or use shade cloth and stakes to protect them from the sun. Move sun-loving plants out of the shade.

  4. 4

    Mist house plants with water and move to a cool location away from drafts.

  5. 5

    Extend time between feedings. Too much fertiliser can cause wilting.

  6. 6

    Watch for wilt that includes yellowed leaves and moves slowly up the plant, which often signifies a fungal infection. Treat according to package directions with a fungicide such as Spectrum Garden Safe Fungicide.

  7. 7

    Check for signs of pests including eggs, webs and insects. Treat plants according to package directions with a pesticide such as Ortho Max Flower, Fruit and Vegetable Insect Killer.

Tips and warnings

  • Select plants that are resistant to fungal infections to avoid wilt.
  • Before using chemicals on vegetable plants, make sure they are safe for use on edibles.

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