Appearances can sometimes be deceptive. If a withered plant seems lost to us, there may still be some life dormant deep inside it. Nobody has to give up their favorite plant until everything possible has been done to save them. But how do you determine whether it is really appropriate to hope? And even more important: What can help the plant quickly out of this life-threatening situation?

Appearances are sometimes deceptive

If a plant shows the first yellow or dried up leaves, it can continue withering at a breakneck pace. So quickly that the possibly helpless owner does not immediately know how to save her and therefore hesitates. Almost the whole plant is colored yellow in an instant.

Perhaps you come back from vacation and find sadly that one of your plants does not seem to have survived the absence.

It may well be that in both cases there is nothing left to save the affected plant. But appearances can also be very deceptive. Deep inside the plant, in the branches, in the trunk or in the root ball, there is still a driving force slumbering that is sufficient for the formation of new shoots. For that to happen, however, something crucial has to change in their current living conditions.

Test: is the plant still alive?

The plant itself gives us some clues that can be interpreted as signs of life.

  • Despite the dried up branches, the trunk is still damp
  • It is green below the bark (score with a knife)
  • The leaves are yellow in color but not completely dried up
  • thrown leaves are still green
  • Flowers hang asleep and leaves curl up

A dead plant cannot be brought back to life. But if one of the listed signs is discovered, it might be worth paddling up. It is important to know what can bring the desired success, instead of blindly doing something.

Why do plants dry up at all?

Green, plump leaves and yellow, dried-up leaves differ mainly in one point: their water content. While the cells of green leaves are filled with water, dried leaves obviously suffer from a deficiency. Photosynthesis cannot take place, the plant dies.

But what caused this water shortage? The cause must be found so that its elimination leads to optimal supply of the plant again. There can be several reasons why the natural water cycle is not working properly or even not at all.

  • too little poured
  • the watering was done at the wrong time
  • a hot period affects the water balance
  • the roots are damaged and consequently water absorption is impaired
  • the plant was cut too much
  • the vessel may be leaking

Requirements for a rescue

First, check whether the roots of the plant are largely undamaged. They are their water supply organs, without which no water can get into the above-ground parts of the plant. Annuals that have been badly affected are difficult to nurture. They usually have to be disposed of.

Perennial plants with intact roots can often be saved by a combination of several measures. These also depend on the extent to which or what cause of the drying out could be clearly identified. The appropriate sequence of steps can also vary or individual steps can be omitted.

Tip:  Also clarify whether diseases or pests were at work and, for example, damaged the roots. If so, a rescue is only feasible if these are also combated.

Step 1: Provide with water

The handle in the pot quickly reveals whether the substrate has dried out. Instead of adding a load of water to the plant, you should proceed as follows when nurturing it with care:

  1. Fill a large bucket with water, there should be room for the flower pot.
  2. Dip the plant in the bucket so that the entire pot is covered with water. If the pot has no holes in the bottom, take the plant out beforehand and put it “naked” in the bucket.
  3. Leave the plant in it so that the soil can soak up water.
  4. Take out the pot or the plant as soon as no more air bubbles rise.
  5. A plant that has taken the water bath without a pot should first air dry before it is put back into the pot.
Tip:  Do not leave the plant in the water for more than a full day, as persistent moisture will damage the roots.

Step 2: repot in fresh substrate

A completely dried out soil loses part of its storage capacity for the precious water. As a result, watering cans will have to be used more frequently in the future. It is much more practical to provide the damaged plant with a fresh substrate and to save it in this way. A clay pot that can hold moisture in its walls is a great alternative to a plastic planter. It also ensures better ventilation of the earth.

Step 3: cut back

So that the weakened plant does not waste itself on the supply of numerous shoots, its energy should be directed to the main shoots. This happens because other shoots are radically cut away with the secateurs. Dried parts of the plant have to be removed near the trunk anyway.

Step 4: find a more suitable location

A new location can also save the plant. Most of all, it is important to protect them from too much exposure to the sun. It promotes evaporation and the high temperatures mean increased stress for the plant. But in her weakened situation she cannot use this at all.

If you cannot find a shady spot, at least provide adequate protection from the sun. How this is done exactly is left to your own creativity or depends on the local conditions. Tensioning an awning over the plant is one of many possibilities.

Step 5: Provide plenty of nutrients

The almost dried up plant needs plenty of energy and building materials to form new, healthy shoots. These should now be made available to her by giving her a suitable fertilizer. The more parts of the plant are dried up, the more it is dependent on the supply of nutrients.
Unscheduled fertilization can be dispensed with in the case of slightly dried out plants.

Saving dried-up plants in the bed

Bedding plants are firmly attached to their housing. Simply repotting is not easily possible here. Moving to another location is also out of the question. Usually several specimens are affected by the drought at the same time.

Small plants can be carefully dug up and saved as described above for potted plants. Large plants need to stay in place, but they don’t need to be left to their fate.

  1. Use the secateurs to remove all dried out parts of the plant.
  2. Loosen the soil around the trunk
  3. Water the plants abundantly and directly near the roots.
  4. Keep watering abundantly for several days in a row.
  5. Cover the root area with a thick layer of mulch to keep moisture in the soil.
  6. You should set up sun protection for the affected plants in sunny locations.

Saving a dry lawn

Every year in the summer, the otherwise green lawn is partly yellowed or even dried up. Of course, unless the watering has been adjusted due to the weather. But don’t worry, the grass roots find a certain protection from solar radiation deep in the earth and are also extremely robust. As soon as water approaches again, they sprout fresh green again. But nobody should wait for the next big rainfall.

  • Water the lawn well twice a day
  • several days in a row until the lawn responds with recovery

If there is no improvement in sight despite thorough watering, the soil should be loosened with a scarifier. This allows the roots to better absorb water.

Tip: If verticulating leaves bare spots in the lawn, you can easily re-green them with a few lawn seeds.

Better to prevent than to save

A successful rescue must not hide the fact that the phase of drying up stole a lot of life energy from the plant and threw it back in its vitality. If possible, they should be spared this burden. You can prevent dehydration with the following tips so that life-sustaining measures no longer have to be carried out in the future:

  • Offer the optimal location right from the start
  • prevent with the fulfillment of all care requirements
  • Know and observe the water requirements of the plant variety
  • preferably water in the early morning hours
  • on hot days, increase the watering quantity as required
  • protect the top layer of soil from drying out with mulching
  • Ensure adequate water supply during absence
  • install automatic water supply if necessary
  • Water the lawn not only superficially, but to a depth of approx. 15 cm

Any help for a dried up plant seems to come too late. After all, everything that is visible is withered and small signs of life can be discovered more. But the external impression can be very deceptive. Often there is still a spark of life force slumbering deep within it. A bundle of measures can bring you healthy green shoots again.

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