Not everyone's got a green thumb. Despite your best efforts, there are times when plants you care for might just die. Given the propensity for most plants to lose their leaves and appear dormant for long stretches of time, though, it's not always easy to tell what the reality is. To get a better idea of what a dead plant looks like, here are four warning signs your plant isn't going to make it.
Look at Leaves
An easy way to tell whether something might be wrong with your plant is to check the condition of its leaves, as they're the best indicator of plant health we have. Plants that shed their leaves out of season are usually not in good shape, especially if those leaves are completely green. Leaves that wilt or yellow might also be worrisome. Additionally, if you notice a complete loss of foliage for more than a year, it's safe to say your plant is a goner.
Check for Rot
If rot has begun to set in, your plant is dying. On the stem, look for signs of decomposition or discoloration. When pressed, spots of rot are typically spongy and weak in ways a plant's stem is not normally. It may also feel moist or gush some sort of liquid. It's also possible to identify rot by its pungent odor, an especially helpful tool when looking for root rot as the plant's roots won't be above the surface to examine.
For woodier plants, checking the strength of different branches can be a good indicator of health. While the smallest branches are likely to be somewhat weak, healthy plants should always have a bit of give to their branches. This is especially true for younger and smaller plants. Though certain types of plants may be more brittle than others, branches that can break or be torn off with little effort are usually a problem. When this happens, you should also check for rot inside the branch.
Wilting is a more common ailment for plants and is usually not that severe. For the most part, a wilting plant is probably just in need of water or sunlight. If the condition does not improve after these elements have been introduced, though, it may be an indicator of a worse problem beneath the surface. If you think the soil is having issues, be sure and pick up some earthworm castings to improve your earth.
These four tips should give you an idea as to how to identify problems with your plants. If you have a plant that's exhibiting any of these issues, see what you can do to help it survive or call a botanist for help. It’s important to keep an eye out for these signs, as you need to prevent sickness and rot from spreading to your healthy plants.