How to Rejuvenate Plants


Plants change over time. What was once a healthy-looking garden may turn scraggly and brown before you know it. Overcrowding, poor soil quality and seasonal changes can cause plants to lose leaves or change colors. Perennial flowers naturally wither and produce seed heads in the fall while shrubs may look overgrown in mid-summer. Regularly inspect your plants and amend your gardening habits as needed. If normal rejuvenation techniques don't seem to make a difference, it may be time to move your plant to a more suitable location.

Step 1

Loosen the soil. Use a rototiller to gently loosen topsoil, taking great care not to break any roots. Thick soils (like those with heavy concentrations of clay) may need periodic aeration to allow oxygen and nutrients to reach the roots.

Step 2

Remove spent flower heads from annuals and perennials. This will keep your plants looking neat and divert energy to more production of blooms. If you wish to keep the seeds, wait several weeks after the petals fall off to remove flower heads.

Step 3

Prune off any dead or dying branches and leaves. Don't be afraid to really cut back trees and shrubs as this will encourage new growth. Always water immediately after pruning.

Step 4

Fertilize your plants with an appropriate formula. House plants may need a light, organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion to spring back to life. Palm trees, on the other hand, may need a good application of palm fertilizer once a month.

Step 5

Spread high-quality mulch around the base of your plants. This will aid in soil moisture retention and prevent an onslaught of weeds, which create competition for water, nutrients and light.

Step 6

If all else fails, transplant your plants to a new location--it could be time to revisit the optimal growing conditions for your plants and find a more suitable location in your yard or home. Overcrowded garden beds will also greatly benefit from thinning where remaining plants will have less competition for water and soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear gloves when pruning to protect your skin from cuts and bruises.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Rototiller
  • Water
  • Shovel
  • Gloves


  • Mississippi State University
  • Good Gardening
Keywords: healthy plants, rejuvenate plants, dying plants

About this Author

Kelsey Erin Shipman has worked as a travel writer, poet, journalist and award-winning photographer since 2004. She is a featured poet on NYC public radio, is the winner of the San Jacinto & Alethean Literary Societies' Poetry Award, and has authored three collections of poetry including "cold days," "bastante" and "short poems." She earned a B.A. in philosophy from Southwestern University.