How to revive a dead plant

Updated November 21, 2016

Houseplants and gardens make any home look more inviting by adding a touch of green to the decor. However, not everyone was blessed with a green fingers, and under their care every piece of nearby greenery is soon reduced to a wilted, brown mess. For those who are not quite ready to give up on their plants, there are a few 11th-hour measures that can be taken to bring them back to life.

Visually inspect the plant for any signs of life. Gently trim off any brown plant material, leaving only what is green. If there is nothing green remaining, leave the main plant stem.

Remove the plant from the soil and inspect the roots. Cut away any obviously dead plant material from the root system.

Re-pot or replant what remains of the plant. For indoor plants, choose a pot that is 1 to 3 inches larger than the plant root system and a sterile potting mixture. For outdoor plants, dig a hole that is approximately two times larger than the root ball and work a few handfuls of compost into the soil before replanting.

Water the plant thoroughly. Add more soil, if necessary, as the water is absorbed into the planting material to ensure the roots are completely covered.

Place the plant in a warm, sunny location. Plants need light to thrive and most tend to do well in mild to warm temperatures -- 18.3 to 23.9 degrees Celsius. Any area that is too cool or too warm could stress the plant and inhibit growth.

Fill a spray bottle with cool water and mist the plant once a day. Check the potting soil to make sure it is moist, but not wet. Plants tend to flourish in moist environments; however, too much water can cause root rot, so be careful not to overdo it.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Plant container
  • Potting soil
  • Compost
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
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About the Author

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.