8 Signs Your Plant Needs Some Help — And 1 That It’s Truly Dead

As you can see, there are plenty of times when you might think a plant is dead, but it actually just needs you to make a quick adjustment.

The main thing that plants really can’t recover from, though, is root rot. “Unhealthy or rotten roots will be black to brown, mushy, shriveled, and even have a rotten, sour smell to them,” says Mast. “The plant’s roots are no longer viable and dead. Once this happens, the plant will not be able to take up water and nutrients, causing the plant to die.”

In this case, say a little prayer for your plant, compost it, and consider what went wrong so you don’t make the same mistake the next time.

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