If your plant isn’t looking its healthiest, it could be experiencing an imbalance of sunlight, nutrition, or water. Pests are another common culprit. With the exception of incurable plant diseases, there’s a good chance you can save your plant. You’ll just need to act quickly before it becomes too sick. 

So, how to save a dying plant? Let’s take a look at what can affect plant health and what you can do to bring a plant back to life!

Can I Revive a Dying Plant?

Fortunately, it is very possible to revive a dying plant. This depends on how much your plant’s health has deteriorated, though. Just keep in mind that some conditions, like Crown Rot, can’t be cured, though. 

The quickest way to tell whether your plant can be saved is to check the roots. Are the roots pale, firm, and healthy? Or have they become dark and mushy – lost to rot? There’s no healing rotted roots, but if there are enough healthy roots left, there’s still a chance you can salvage your plant. 

The first thing you need to do is remove any dead roots and repot your plant in fresh soil. Depending on what ails your plant, apply a fungicide or pesticide as necessary. Then, trim any dead plant parts or dying stems and foliage. This will help your plant focus on healing the parts it can, and in time (and with a little luck), new, healthy growth will appear!

Signs of a Dying Plant and How to Bring it Back to Life

Let’s explore how to save a dying plant and learn to identify the signs of a struggling plant. 


Like all living things, houseplants need the right amount of water. Obviously, underwatering is not good for a plant. Did you know that overwatering isn’t either? In fact, overwatering tends to be deadlier. This is because, while underwatered plants simply need to be watered and rehydrated, overwatered plants may actually become sick. While excessive moisture is unfavorable to plants, many plant disease-carrying bacteria and fungi consider the conditions ideal. When it comes to overwatering, this is the biggest risk. Both overwatered and underwatered plants will begin to wilt and turn yellow. When an improperly-watered plant starts turning bouncy and green again, you’ll know it’s begun to recover!

  • Overwatering

Signs: Wilted leaves, soggy soil, leaves begin to turn yellow or brown.

Solution: Allow the soil to dry out by watering the plant less frequently, and keep it out of bright light. Cut off damaged parts of the plant, including leaves and roots.

  • Underwatering

Signs: Drooping, yellow or brown leaves, crunchy leaves, dry, hard soil.

Solution: Water the plant thoroughly and keep it out of bright light. Increase the amount of water gradually to avoid overwatering the plant.

Signs and solutions to underwatering and overwatering plants


Plants require sunlight for photosynthesis, which converts water, carbon dioxide, and soil into food. So, all plants need at least a bit of sunlight (or synthetic plant light). This being said, plants can vary largely in just how much sunlight they require. Their lighting preferences are broken up into low-light, medium-light, bright indirect light, and direct light. 

A houseplant that requires very little light to grow will actually be damaged and burn when it’s exposed to overly-bright sunlight. Alternately, plants with too little sunlight will experience stunted growth and will lose the vibrancy of their leaf-color. It’s important for plants to get just the right light level, especially if they need to recover!

  • Too Much Sunlight

Signs: Bleached patches, blotchy yellow or brown burns, dried-out leaves.

Solution: Relocate the plant to an area with fewer hours of exposure or lower light intensity, and trim any badly-damaged leaves.

  • Too Little Sunlight

Signs: Pale leaves, small leaves, both stunted and leggy growth (as the plant stretches to try to reach more sunlight).

Solution: Relocate the plant to somewhere with the proper light level, and brush dusty leaves off to help your plant photosynthesize as effectively as possible.

Signs and solution to too little and too much sunlight for plants


Pests love plants and think of their leaves as a sweet and tender snack. Some of the most common are aphids, whiteflies, scale bugs, thrips, spider mites, and mealybugs. 
Most pests are sap-suckers. They leave splotches and clear, sticky droppings called ‘honeydew’ behind on afflicted leaves. Others take little chomps out of the leaves. You may be able to see the pests themselves on the undersides of leaves, where many tend to cluster. 

Not only do pests harm plants directly, by consuming their sap and foliage, but they also introduce bacterial infections and fungal diseases. To prevent this unfortunate side-effect, it’s important that pests are quickly eradicated.

  • Pests

Signs: Yellow and brown splotches on leaves, malformed leaves, curling leaves, honeydew on the leaves, and bumps (which can hold eggs).

Solution: Treat with dish soap, Neem oil, or pesticide (in order of infestation severity).

Signs and solution to plant pests


It’s a common misconception that all plants need is water. In fact, plants get hungry, too. In order to obtain the proper nutrients, plants must receive plant food in the form of fertilizer. You can buy this at the store, or make it at home yourself. Without the proper vitamins and minerals, plants will develop nutrient deficiencies. Some common deficiencies are potassium, nitrogen, zinc, and iron. You may wish to study the signs of each deficiency, so you know what a seemingly malnourished plant might lack.

  • Nutrient Deficiency

Signs: Deformed leaves, discolored leaves, brown leaves, stunted growth, spindly stems, the inability to fruit or flower.

Solution: Feed them homemade plant food or store-bought fertilizer, and repot in new soil (if necessary). To prevent nutrient deficiency in your plants, make sure that their soil is the right kind and they are watered with balance. 

Signs and solution to plant nutrient deficiency