You finally get home after a few well-deserved days off and rush to check how your plants are doing. Have any of them dried out? Has the home watering system not worked as you expected? Wait, before you throw them away, Ester Casanovas, gardening expert at ManoMano, has compiled some top tips on how to revive your plants that might have suffered during your holidays.
How to revive your plants step-by-step
Before we get down to work, check what went wrong: did you use a home method to keep your plants moist or did the person who was supposed to water them not do it properly? Make a mental note so that you can solve these problems on your next trip. Remember that you can always automate the watering of your pots with a drip irrigation system or solutions for less prolonged absences.
1. Cut off all dried leaves and flowers
What has dried out is dead and will not recover. The plant will thank you for it, as it will avoid sending nutrients to those unsalvageable parts during the hydration process.
Use sharp pruning shears and clean them with alcohol between plants. If they have fallen ill during your absence, you will avoid possible contagion.
2. Check plants for pests
A weakened plant is often an easy target for different types of pests. Check the tops and undersides of leaves and stems, and use the most appropriate insecticide for the problem detected. If possible, remove the topsoil and throw it away: this will eliminate the possibility of some insect eggs hatching and will speed up subsequent hydration.
3. Water your plants
A dehydrated plant requires careful watering, and we often make the mistake of putting it in a bucket for hours until it is waterlogged. It is true, a bucket will help, but so will a little patience and the knowledge that just because it is submerged for a long time, it will not recover quickly.
If your dry plant is planted in the ground, use a rake to create furrows in the soil: this will make it easier for the watering to penetrate deeply. If you have only recently repotted it, you can try removing it and the root ball: dip it in a bucket and wait until air bubbles no longer appear on the surface.
Use lukewarm water to rehydrate the plants: most substrates absorb it better than cold water, and in this way, in addition to the plant, the dry soil will also be rehydrated, regaining its permeability.
If the plant is in a pot, proceed in the same way, but remove the plant from the pot.
4. Spray the leaves
Spray the leaves of the plant with a spray bottle, and take the opportunity to clean them if they are dusty. If so, then spray again and let it dry on its own.
If its size allows, you can also put it in the bath or shower, spraying it generously.
5. Observe for a few days
Keep the soil moist for the next few days and watch closely for small changes. If the limp leaves stand upright again and the stems remain firm, it is very likely that the recovery process has been successful.
A change of location can also help, especially if it is an outdoor plant that was in full sun: it will recover much more easily if it is in shade or semi-shade for a few days.
The leaves of plants can dry out due to both over- and under-watering.
Finally, we would like to add a note that may be useful in some cases: over-watering can cause similar symptoms to under-watering. The leaves of the plants also become limp and may turn yellow, which can lead to confusion. In this case, you will need to check the humidity of the soil and proceed in the same way but suspend any watering.
Remove the plant from the pot or soil with as much soil as possible in the root ball. Use kitchen paper to absorb as much moisture as possible and let it air dry for a whole day.
Put the plant back in place and wait for the soil to dry out before watering again.