How to Save a Dying Houseplant

If you forgot to water your plants or you're wondering why your plants are dying, here are nine ways to revive them and bring dead plants back to life.
Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
3-minute read

How to Save a Dying Houseplant

Keep Insects off Your Houseplants

There’s nothing an insect loves more than a tasty treat in the form of your houseplant. Make sure they stay away by periodically spraying the leave and stems with this incredible insect spray: Combine 2–3 tablespoons of powdered laundry detergent with 1 quart of warm water, and shake. Add to a spray bottle and spray on every few days. The spray is perfectly healthy for your plant, but bugs won’t be able to grab on to the leaves or stems with their tiny feet—and if they can’t get near the leaves, they can’t eat them!

See also: How to Keep Insects and Animals Out of Your Garden

How to Get Rid of Bugs in a Potted Plant for Good

If there’s already a bug infestation in the pot your plant lives in, place the entire plant (pot and all) in a clear, plastic dry cleaning bag. Throw several mothballs in with it, and tie a knot at the top. The sun will still get through, but the bugs will die after a week in seclusion with the mothballs.

Help Houseplants Get More Sun

If your houseplants aren’t getting enough sun, maximize the amount of light they are getting by placing them on top of a table covered in foil (shiny side up). The foil will reflect the light, and your plants will thank you.

For Plants in Window Boxes

If you keep plants in window boxes, paint them white first. The bright, reflective surface will help them get more sun, deter insects, and even reduce the risk of dry rot. It looks great, too!

Boost Your Plant’s Nutrition

Give dying indoor plants a second chance with this treatment that’s filled with nutrients. Let three empty eggshells sit overnight in a couple of cups of water. (Multiply the amounts as needed.) Then use the eggshell water the next day when it’s time to water the plants. Or try one of these houseplant fertilizers.

Plants Like It Warm

When watering houseplants, always use lukewarm water. Cold water may chill their roots.

How Do I Know If My Plant Has Had Enough Water?

No matter how long you’ve had your houseplant, it’s still hard to tell exactly how much water it needs—and overwatering plants can harm their roots, promote the growth of fungus, and more. To see if your plant has had enough to drink, poke a pencil into the dirt and pull it back out. Clean means it’s time to water. Soil on the pencil means the plant is okay for now.

Remove Plants from Drafts

You probably know that your houseplant doesn’t appreciate being left in cold areas, but did you know that fluctuating temperatures can harm them, too? In the winter, keep your plants out of drafty areas, such as near the front door. They’ll grow better in warmer areas that don’t change temperatures as often.

Help Plants During Cold Weather

To give your houseplants a little extra humidity, especially in dry climates or in winter, place their pots on a tray of pebbles and add some water. The water will slowly evaporate, adding moisture to the plants. And the tray of pebbles will look decorative, too!

For more tips like these, check out our Gardening and Yard Tips Pinterest board and don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

Image courtesy of Who Knew?

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.