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How to Bring Dying Flowers Back to Life

By Jenny Harrington ; Updated September 21, 2017

As summer progresses, plants begin to look ragged and in ill-health. Often, they only require an adjustment to their watering and fertilization treatments in order to perk back up. If the plants appear to be in particularly bad health, a little pruning at the right time may help revive them. Bringing dying flowers back to life requires a little time before they return to their former beauty. It is worth it when they return to blooming for the rest of summer and sometimes into fall.

Check the drainage holes in the pots for container-grown plants. Push a pencil 2 inches into each drainage hole to loosen any soil that has compacted. Too much water in the soil causes the roots to begin drowning.

Remove the old, spent flowers, dead leaves and wilting stems from the plants. Pinch them off, leaving at least two leaves on each stem. Cut back perennials such as geraniums and annuals such as pansies to a height of 3 inches to encourage new, vigorous plant growth.

Apply a phosphorous-rich fertilizer to the bed or container to encourage new bloom production. Apply it to the soil 6 inches from the base of the plant and cultivate it in. Follow label instructions for application amounts.

Inspect the plants for insect damage or fungus growth. Treat with the proper chemical or organic control.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy at all times. Apply a 2-inch layer of organic mulch around the plants to preserve soil moisture.


Things You Will Need

  • Pencil
  • Shears
  • Fertilizer
  • Chemical or organic pesticide
  • Organic mulch


  • Some plants have a short blooming period of only a few weeks. If the foliage is still healthy on perennial plants, lack of flowers may be normal.
  • Use a water-soluble fertilizer in container plants. Apply it every 2 weeks while the flowers are blooming.


  • If disease is only affecting a few plants, dig them up and dispose of them before it spreads to the healthy plants.

About the Author


Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.