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How To Tell If Plant Is Dead? [ Here Are Few Steps ]

How To Tell If Plant Is Dead? [ Here Are Few Steps ]

It hurts a lot when a plant baby dies and has absolutely no chance of recovering. But is the plant really dead? There are cases where the plant becomes dormant, and we mistake it for dead.

Due to this, most plants actually die because several gardeners and plant parents fail to recognize the signs of dead and living plants.

Here we have gathered all the vital signs that will help you realize this difference and know whether there are chances of recovering a dead plant or not. Read on to find out.

How To Tell If A Plant Is Dead?

Before you come to the conclusion that your beautiful plant is dead, you need to check for the various signs.

As plants do not have any vital signs like heartbeat or breathing, you need to do a proper inspection before discarding them.

Here are some of the signs and methods that would help you know about your plant’s living state.

  • The first thing that you should look for is the green casting and the firmness of the stem. Even if the plant leaves are shredding, if the stem is alive, you have a higher chance of recovering the plant.
  • If the stems are not so firm, then try to break them. If the breaking was clean, then the limb is quite dead. But, if the break was shredded, then there is high moisture, and it’s a great sign that the plant is alive.
  • If the stem is completely dead, then it’s time to check for the roots. To check whether the roots are still alive, cut the stems third at a time till you reach the roots. While nearing the root area, you would observe some signs of life in the stem. In this case, do not cut the living stem and leave as much as possible. However, if there’s no living stem, then leave at least 2 inches of the stem above the soil.
  • If your plant recently had any bug or pests infestation and is still not showing any growth signs after the treatment, then you need to inspect again. There are high chances that the larvae of eggs are still hidden somewhere and are eating your plant away. If not treated immediately, then your plant would be dead in no time.

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Can You Bring A Dead Plant Back To Life?

In most cases, you can still revive your dead plants if they have some life left in them.

But, the chances are grim, and you should not hope too much.

However, here are some of the methods that you can use to bring your plants back from the dead.

The most important thing you should keep in mind while reviving plants is to have patience and treat them with extreme care.


If you are determined to bring a dead plant to life, then the first thing you should do is trim all the dead parts from the plant.

Be it stems, leaves, flowers, or any other part; cut it away if you see that it’s dead.

That’s because the dead parts eat out all the food produced by the plant to survive, which leaves absolutely no food for the living parts.

By cutting all the dead parts, you are helping the remaining portion to get enough food to survive.

If the stem is dead, then cut three inches at once, and continue doing so till you see signs of life in it.


The most common cause of plant death is due to watering.

While underwatering makes them thirsty and leads them to death, overwatering leads to root rotting and various pest infestations and fungus growth on the plant.

Due to this, it is essential to make a proper watering routing to prevent the death of your plant.

If you have an overwatered plant, then repot it immediately.

You can either plant it in your backyard or use a proper soil mixture that will absorb all the moisture from its roots.

For underwater plants, move them to a humid spot and water them with filtered water only.

Make sure to keep them under indirect sunlight or limit their exposure to sunlight by half.

By doing so, you are providing enough time for the plant to absorb all the water and quench its thirst. Besides, a humid area helps in speeding up the recovery time.

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Apart from water and sunlight, plants also need proper nutrition to thrive.

While outdoor plants get their dose of nutrition from the soil, indoor plants need the right fertilizer as an alternative.

If you are reviving a dead indoor plant, pot it in an appropriate mix of soil and use a good fertilizer.

Check the type of macronutrients and then use them in the mixture.

There are water-soluble fertilizers as well that you can mix with the potting mixtures.

However, make sure that the ingredients are suitable for the plant as a wrong fertilizer can easily burn your plant’s roots and would diminish any chances of revival.

Pest Treatment

One of the major things you need to keep in mind while reviving plants is checking for pests and bugs.

They get attracted to such plants and tend to hide beneath leaves and stems.

Additionally, there are high chances of fungus and mold growth on the plant if some dead remains in it.

These things can quickly kill off the plant and would leave no sign of reviving it ever again.

That’s why it is essential to check for pests regularly and treat them accordingly.

One of the best methods for pest treatment is to spray the plant with a mixture of pesticide and neem oil that will kill them easily. After that, take a brush and remove all the eggs and larvae from the stems and leaves.


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How To Tell If A Plant Is Dormant Or Dead?

Most of the time, we mistake a dormant plant to be dead and try to discard it away. Due to this, it is important to understand the difference between a dead and a dormant plant.

Plants become slow or dormant when the temperature falls down.

This happens because they get limited sunlight, and the temperature is not optimum for their growth.

By slowing down their growth rate, they try to keep themselves alive.

What does a dormant plant look like? A dormant plant would have brown stems, leaves and would look completely dry.

Even after looking like that, the plant still survives harsh winters, which clearly states that it went into a dormant period to save itself.

Most outdoor perennial and annual plants enter into the dormant period, and it is pretty normal for them. But, indoor plants also go through this state.

Apart from harsh weather conditions, there are other reasons that force a plant to enter into a dormant state – one of the major factors being stress.

When a plant is highly stressed due to lack of water, it will start shedding leaves to save water for the roots and other parts of the plant.

If you don’t know whether your plant is in a dormant state or is already dead, try the snap-scratch test.

In this process, select the tip of the twig and bend it with some force.

If the limb takes time to turn correctly and exposes moisture underneath, then it is alive and will soon become healthy. But, if the stem breaks off sharply, then it’s already dead.

In Closing:

It is essential to take good care of plants to avoid them from dying.

Though you can always revive a dead plant, the process might take more than two months, and there are high chances that the plant might not show any signs of growth.

Additionally, you need to check for various things such as pest infestation, water requirement, fertilizer, and other aspects that can affect the survival chances of the dead plant.

If there are no signs or the chances of survival are less, then it is better to replace the plant with a healthy specimen.

If you have a rare plant, then make sure to propagate its leaves and stems to grow multiple plants.

By doing so, you won’t have to go through the whole revival process in case the plant dies.

However, to prevent the death of your plant, you need to provide it with proper nutrition, water, and sunlight. Do not provide anything less or more than the stated amount, as it can result in severe conditions.