Before gardeners decide to uproot that dead-looking plant in their flower bed, try fertilizing it first. Most people assume that a poorly performing plant is suffering from lack of water, and while it may be, it’s important to understand that the plant’s health will fail if it’s not receiving the nutrients it needs.

Fertilizing Plants

Before taking any action, diagnosing the problem is critical. The plant may be getting too much water or not enough. It may need more or less sun. Be on the lookout for insect pests that can sap a plants strength and vitality.

Assuming that the roots are still alive, it’s often possible to rejuvenate a seemingly dead plant by fertilizing it. Don’t overfertilize and burn the roots. Check the root ball for signs of healthy, white roots. Plants use the nutrients in the soil as fuel for growth and flowering. Over time, those nutrients are depleted. Fertilization replaces nutrients and can give a favorite plant a new lease on life.

One of the problems stems from the South Florida soil. It’s primarily composed of rock known as Miami limestone, sand, muck, and a type of soil known as marl. Limestone has a high pH value and doesn’t retain water or nutrients well. That makes it difficult to grow plants unless the dirt has been amended or topsoil is added.

Signs to look for in a plant that lacks nutrients are stems that are weak and dying. It may also have discolored or deformed leaves, and exhibit slow or stunted growth. Before applying fertilizer, trim back any dead leaves or stems. If the stems look completely dead, trim the stem back, leaving a small amount of the stem above the soil line.

After fertilizing the problematic plant, wait at least a month. If it shows no sign of new growth, it’s probably beyond any hope of recovering. However, that dead plant can still be used to support and give life to new plants through composting.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate