How to Revive Dying House Plants

Updated February 21, 2017

Indoor plants can grow without trouble and then, without warning, begin to show signs of rapid decline. Troubleshooting a dying houseplant is the first step in slowing and reversing decline. Houseplants are growing under unnatural conditions where the roots are contained in a pot and the sunlight, air and temperature is different than an outside environment. Reviving a dying houseplant takes time and is not always successful, but it's worth a try to save your indoor greenery.

Inspect the dying houseplant for insects and infestations that can damage a houseplant and quickly cause decline. Mealybugs, mites, aphids and whitefly are just a few of the infestations that attack houseplants.

Treat infestations on houseplants with an insecticidal soap spray, a common product that can be found at most home and garden centres. Use the insecticide treatment as indicated on the package.

Monitor temperature changes in the environment. Many houseplants are tropicals that require a specific temperature range in order to thrive. Check the temperature range requirements of your specific houseplants and make sure to keep their environment consistently within that range.

Move the houseplant if necessary. As the sun shifts with the seasons, the houseplant can suffer if it is not getting enough sun or if it is getting too much.

Check for drafts. If the heaters are turned on for the winter and subjecting a plant to hot, drying air, it can adversely affect the plant. Likewise, cold drafts from air conditioners in the summer can have a similar effect.

Remove all the damaged or dying leaves, limbs and stalks using a pair of garden clippers. Even if it looks like there won't be anything left of the plant once you get done removing the damaged parts, a dying houseplant has little to lose. By removing the damaged foliage, the plant can put more effort into restoring the roots and the healthy foliage.

Place the dying houseplant into the sink and thoroughly soak the potting soil around the roots with water. Leave the pot to drain completely from the drainage holes in the bottom.

Place the dying houseplant in a greenhouse where it will be in a humid environment. Alternately, make a mini-greenhouse out of a clear plastic bag. Put the plastic bag upside down over the rim of the pot and fasten it. Remove the bag after a week and add water if the top of the soil is dry. Replace the bag and monitor it weekly until new growth appears.

Things You'll Need

  • Insecticidal spray
  • Pruning shears
  • Plastic bag
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About the Author

Eulalia Palomo has been a professional writer since 2009. Prior to taking up writing full time she has worked as a landscape artist and organic gardener. Palomo holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from Boston University. She travels widely and has spent over six years living abroad.