15+ Ways to Save a “Dead” Plant, Even If You Don’t Have a Green Thumb

Some people have special bonds with their houseplants, just like Leon and Mathilda from Luc Besson’s movie. And it’s so disappointing when one day, we find our green pals taking their last breath, with their leaves helplessly shriveled and dried up. But the good news here is that you shouldn’t rush to mourn over your untimely deceased plant, as there are some ways to jump-start these poor things and make them bloom in glory again.

1. Switch decorative or metal pots out for “healthier” ones.

If your plant is hardly breathing, it may be because you’ve chosen beauty over practicality and have put it into the wrong kind of pot. Your plant doesn’t really care if its “outfit” matches the pattern of your new curtains. Ultimately, they need a healthy environment to grow and bloom in. So if your plant is in a metal pot or in a nice decorative one without drainage holes, you really need to free it from this captivity. Metal planters keep heat inside and the roots of your poor plant are literally “cooking” in this “frying pan.” Ceramic pots with a single drainage hole or with no drainage holes at all will make water stay inside the soil, provoking unhealthy humidity around the roots.

2. Treat overcrowded roots manually, loosening and separating them gently.

When a plant looks like the one in the picture on the left, it’s time to repot it to give it more space. Before repotting, make sure you clean up the roots and untwist them so that they can absorb water and nutrients more efficiently. Do it carefully, like unwinding the fragile rope, in order to not break the roots and give them more space to breathe.

3. Use only filtered water on your plants.

Despite the opinion that tap water is filtered, it still has some levels of chlorine and other chemicals that may be the last bullet for your plant. Let the water sit for 24 hours before watering the plant. Distilled water or rainwater is also good for your plant, experts say, as both are slightly acidic and naturally flush away all the chemicals and salts that have already accumulated in the soil because of the previous usage of tap water. You can either collect rainwater in a reservoir or put the plants outside to soak in some moisture while it’s raining.