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How to Revive Wilting

By Joshua Duvauchelle ; Updated September 21, 2017
Wilting can affect all types of plants.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.


Things You Will Need

  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Shade cloth
  • Fertilizer
  • Insecticide


  • 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.

About the Author


Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.