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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

Help revive your plants by cutting off dried leaves and flowers
Help revive your plants by cutting off 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 to gently rehydrate the plant
Spray the leaves to gently rehydrate the plant

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

Observe your plant
Observe your plant

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.

Observe your plant and its soil
Indoor plant revival

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.

Did you enjoy this article on how to revive your plants after the summer holidays? Why not read our tips on how to care for your Monstera plant or even our house plant buying guide!

Are you going to try reviving your plants after your holidays? Share your results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

Indoor plant care tips by By Ester Casanovas

Monsteras are super trendy right now: we see them daily in Instagram posts, Pinterest, clothing, prints, paintings, and of course, in everyday life au naturel.
Its beautiful leaves are reminiscent of its origins in the jungle. Here are a few tips on how to care for two of the most common varieties of this elegant and in vogue plant: the Monstera deliciosa and the Monstera adansonii

Monstera deliciosa

In the Eighties it was not unusual to see a Monstera everywhere, indoors, and in terraces and patios. My mother had hers in the patio where it received a lot of direct sunlight and watering was controlled, as the plant was placed under a roof that prevented it from getting wet when it rained. There! I just gave you two excellent clues as to the light and watering needs of this plant. But first things first:

Indoor plant care tips: Swiss Cheese Plant

Light

Monstera plants love light, but not direct sunlight. Their ideal location is a bright room or a corner in the terrace with only a few hours of sunshine every day.

These plants prefer warm temperatures and a humid environment. In the Mediterranean region they can be left outside all year round, as they withstand minimum temperatures of 5ºC. In colder areas, they are usually grown indoors.

Substrate

It is essential that the substrate have good drainage. We can mix a universal substrate with some perlite, which will prevent waterlogging and rotting of the roots.  Every two years it can be transplanted to a larger pot, renewing part of the substrate and removing dead roots.

The Monstera deliciosa is a plant that can grow very tall, and its leaves can reach 30-40 cm wide. If you grow it indoors and don’t have a lot of space, do not transplant it immediately to a larger pot. The more space it has to develop, the bigger it will grow.

Watering

This is an undemanding plant in terms of watering, even though how often you water it will depend (as it always does) on the average temperature and the size of the pot. If the plant is in a small pot, it will require watering 1 or 2 times per week in the summer, and once every 10-15 days in the winter. Make sure that the substrate is dry before you water it. For this you can use a moisture meter or just dig your finger into the soil to assess its moisture.

If it is growing in very dry conditions, the plant will appreciate it if during the summer you regularly mist it with water. Another option is to give it a good shower in your bathtub once in a while, which will provide the perfect opportunity to clean its beautiful leaves.

Fertiliser

It is recommended that you fertilise it every 15 days with a fertiliser specific for green plants. You can use a liquid fertiliser or fertiliser nails, which are inserted into the substrate. They dissolve slowly and gradually, providing the plant with all the nutrients it needs.

Usually, fertilising is suspended during the winter, to then start again in the spring.

The leaves of the Monstera and their development

Swiss cheese holes

We love this plant precisely because of the beauty of its leaves. And there are a few things to keep in mind regarding its exquisite leaves:

  • Some of the new leaves of your Monstera plant might not show its characteristic swiss cheese holes. These only appear when the leaf is fully developed. Be patient and wait for the leaves to fully grow.
  • Clean the leaves with a cloth dampened in water. Or, as we mentioned above, give it a good shower in your bathtub with your shower hose or head.
  • If you manage to store rainwater, mist the plant with it to prevent small white dots from appearing on the leaves. These specks are lime, which leaves a residue when the water drops dry. If you can’t store rainwater, then you might want to use weak mineralisation bottled water. 
  • If the tips of the leaves turn brown, it could be due to overwatering. Make sure the substrate is completely dry before watering again.
  • But if they also have a yellowish tone, it could be due to overwatering or lack of fertiliser. Think carefully about which of the two options it could be.
  • Bear in mind that the leaves and the stems of the Monstera are toxic to humans and pets, but only if ingested.

Monstera plants are climbers. Air roots will grow along its stems, allowing you to easily guide it as well as propagate it.

In order to guide it, take a coconut fibre climbing pole and carefully tie the stems of the plant to it with garden wire or twine. Do not press the plant stems against the pole: put them next to it so that the air roots can start to grow and support themselves.

Allow the air roots to grow new plants

You can use the air roots of the Monstera to propagate it and grow new plants. All you have to do is cut one of them and put it in water.

Monstera adansonii or Swiss Cheese Plant

This variety is usually grown indoors as it is less tolerant of the cold. It prefers locations with higher humidity and without drafts.

Since I have limited space in my flat, I decided to grow a Monstera adansonii. Although it has grown quite a bit, it is still much smaller than its “delicious” sibling. I have put it on top of the cabinet and let it hang down.

This specific variety grows leaves with small openings that gradually become huge eyes as the leaf grows. This characteristic, as well as its reduced size, makes it totally different from the Monstera deliciosa, with fully opened leaves in the form of ribs (which is why it is sometimes also known as “Adam’s Rib”).

Did you enjoy this article on caring for your Monsteras? Why not read our article on identifying what’s wrong with your plants or even our guide on creating a living wall

Are you loving your indoor plants this winter? Share your results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

By Ester Casanovas

Ester is the author of the Spanish website PicaronaBlog. A self-taught vegetable gardener, she teaches urban gardening workshops, collaborates in specialised media and in 2014 published her first introductory manual: “Hortelanos de ciudad”.