How to Revive a Dying Houseplant

House plants can sometimes be as temperamental as any other member of the household, no matter how well looked after they are. Luckily, they can often be revived with just a little extra TLC!

As plant popularity continues to grow, with more and more people using them to add some extra life to their homes, the question is as common as ever; how to revive a dead plant.

When it comes to caring for your houseplants, Jim’s Mowing NZ has plenty of expert advice.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Like with our own ailments, the first step to curing a plant is getting to the root of the problem… literally. If we look at some of the most common issues with dead or dying houseplants, the symptoms look pretty similar across the board; limp and droopy leaves that are turning brown or yellow in colour. This alone doesn’t make it very easy to identify what the cause could be, but looking closer to the soil lends some more clues.


While houseplants need to be watered to stay healthy, being a little too enthusiastic with watering can cause some problems. In overwatered houseplants, the soil will be noticeably wet, damp, or moist, which can also lead to rotted roots. The first step here is pretty simple- take a break from watering. You’ll also want to remove roots that are clearly compromised to stop the spread of any pathogens. Remove and replace any soil that’s turned to mud with fresh potted plant mix, and your houseplant will be well on the way to recovery.


On the flipside, underwatering is also bad for plants.

When you check out your soil and see that it’s dry in appearance and pulling away from the sides of the pot, that likely means your plant is underwatered. For plants that are struggling to get hydrated, we recommend placing the entire pot in a bucket or sink of water for up to 30 minutes. This will allow the water to be soaked up from the root, instead of being predominantly absorbed by the soil.

Finding the balance between too much and too little water can be a bit of a Goldilocks situation. If this is a bit too time-consuming and you’re after something more low-maintenance, then consider opting for plants that require little watering.

Pot-Bound or Root Bound

If your plant appears to be having a hard time, check the soil for visible roots. If you can see a lot going on, then your plant may be outgrowing its container, and is now getting choked by its own roots. The fix to this is easy, just get a slightly larger pot and some fresh soil, then transfer the plant into it, gently loosening up the roots as you go.

Sunlight preferences

Some plants thrive in sunlight, whereas others fare better in the shade. It’s important to choose your plant’s spot in your home based on its needs, and move it around if required.

If you’re wondering how to save a dying plant with wrinkled, dried, and wilted leaves, it could probably benefit from less exposure to harsh light.

If you find that your beloved plant’s leaves seem to be losing their colour and dropping off, this is a sign that they aren’t getting what they need for photosynthesis. Giving these plants access to more indirect sunlight should do the trick.

Household Conditions

No matter how good we are plant-parenting, there’s always a chance that something will crop up that we just can’t work out. For those unknowns and general queries on how to save a dying plant, sometimes that answer can be as simple as evaluating their spot in your home. Being close to windows, vents, heating, and air conditioning systems will undoubtedly impact your plant, so it’s important to educate yourself on the specific needs of the plant at hand.

General Maintenance

Wherever in the house your plant thrives, it’s always a good idea to perform general maintenance to keep it as fresh and lively as can be. Removing rotted roots, cutting away dead leaves, and trimming poor parts back will help to stem the spread of anything unwanted. You can also give your plant leaves a wash with some mild soap and water to keep them free from pests and dusty buildup, so their natural colour can stay as vibrant as ever.

Contact Us

If your plants aren’t looking as lively as they should, it may be time to call in the professionals for some expert advice. You can contact our team at Jim’s Mowing NZ to speak with one of our specialists about any of your plant or gardening needs!