Bringing Plants Back to Life and Keeping Them Alive

By Ashley Ess in Thinking Sustainably

You've likely experienced it. You walk into your friend's house and see a bare, wilting plant sitting in the corner of the living room. Or you may have your own stories of the many times your family tried to raise healthy Boston ferns, only to witness their demise within a couple of months. These unfortunate botanical scenarios don't have to be the norm. Did you know that bringing plants back to life is possible?

Often, a plant that looks dead may not actually be dead. Usually these poor plant companions end up taking an early trip to the compost when all they really needed was a little loving care. Learning as a family how to care for plants is a wonderful opportunity for kids to learn not only a little bit about botany and how plants benefit the environment, but also about how important it is to nurture living things. Instead of giving up after an unsuccessful run at plant rearing, try the tips below to help nurture your greenery back to good health.

You've Recently Repotted Your Plant

Problem: You think you've killed your plant after recently repotting it. Your first thought might be to give it more water and fertilizer than normal, but hold off. According to Gardening Know How, many plants go into shock after being repotted and do survive the transition splendidly, despite a temporary, sickly appearance.

Solution: It's best to give it some time to adjust instead of feeding it more than it's used to. Symptoms like wilting leaves are common, but should resolve within a couple of weeks. Keeping the newly repotted plant in the same spot as before, sticking to the same type of soil, and trimming any excess leaves or stems will all help the plant adjust to its new home. This is a great opportunity to introduce children to the concept of nurturing things. Like pets and people, plants need love, caring, and attention. When a child nurtures a dying plant, they are making a special connection that bestows respect for all living things.

Your Plant Is Wilting and Turning Yellow

Problem: Your beloved peace lily's leaves are turning yellow, the stalk is becoming soft and you are convinced your plant is on its way out. Yellowing leaves and a brownish, softening stalk are all signs of over-watering.

bringing plants back to life

Solution: Overwatering is generally an easy fix. Simply checking to make sure there is enough drainage goes a long way. The right type of potting soil can help with this. Water remaining in the drainage tray is a sign of too much water, so cutting back on watering can help. This type of scenario opens the door to a fun way to teach kids about plant care. Have them snip the yellow, dying leaves and set up a watering schedule chart that they can check off when they've tended to the plant.

The Leaves Are Brown and Falling Off

Problem: You feel like you've failed your plant because the crispy brown leaves are unsightly and the center leaves won't stop shedding. When the tips of leaves turn brown, it's a good sign the plant is not getting enough water. Plants whose center stalk leaves keep falling could be a sign of not enough sunlight.

Solution: When it comes to questioning how much water do plants need, there are plenty of resources to help you determine the proper amount of hydration required, like this article from Guide to Houseplants. Sit down with the kids while consulting these guides to get them involved in the process. It can really bring out a child's inner botanist and caregiver!

With these tips, bringing plants back to life should be a breeze. What are some of your plant care tips and stories? Share with us on Twitter!

Image source: Flickr | Flickr

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Why It’s Good

Surprisingly, there is hope for bringing dying plants back to life. Involving the entire family in caring for plants creates connection and teaches responsibility in a rewarding way.