How to Revive Wilting

Overview

Wilting may appear in all types of plants and can quickly degrade the natural beauty of your outdoor garden or houseplant collection. Symptoms include weak stems, floppy flowers and leaves that appear shriveled. Wilting signifies that something isn't right in the plant and gives the gardener a chance to fix the various management or pest problems that may be causing this visual symptom.

Step 1

Apply water to the plant's soil. A dehydrated plant lacks the water that supports the plant's stiff cell structure, according to the University of Florida, and exhibits this as wilting. Watering requirements vary by species. Generally, water should be given whenever the first couple inches of soil has dried out.

Step 2

Spread mulch around the plant's base. This conditions the soil and conserves soil moisture to further help rehydrate the plant.

Step 3

Increase shade around the plant. Excessive sunlight on plants that like shade can create heat stress that causes wilting. Houseplants or plants in pots should be moved to a darker area. Plants in open areas can be shielded with shade cloth.

Step 4

Mist the plant's leaves with water. This immediately raises the humidity around the plant--low air humidity is a common cause of wilting in houseplants--and helps to directly revive plant foliage.

Step 5

Fertilize the plant. Poor soil nutrient levels cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies that may provoke wilting. Use a fertilizer product labeled for use in your specific gardening space (e.g. fertilizer labeled for houseplants) or plant species (e.g. acidic fertilizer labeled for use with rhododendrons). Apply the fertilizer as directed on its label as potency varies by product.

Step 6

Treat the plant for pests. Pest infestations, such as an invasion of thrips or aphids, can stress the plant and cause wilting. A homemade insecticidal soap made by mixing 2 tbsp. liquid soap with a gallon of water can treat light insect infestations. Serious infestations can be killed with a chemical insecticide obtained from any garden store or nursery.

Tips and Warnings

  • When using insecticides, always use products labeled for use on your specific type of plant. For example, insecticides intended for ornamental shrubs may not be suitable for use on vegetables that will be consumed later.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Shade cloth
  • Fertilizer
  • Insecticide

References

  • "The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual"; Barbara Pleasant; 2005
  • "The Vegetable Gardener's Bible, 10th ed."; Edward Smith; 2009
  • University of Florida: Soil, Plant and Water Relationships
Keywords: plant wilting problems, revive wilted plant, fix plant wilting

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.