5 Things You Need To Know About Rescue Plants To Help Them Thrive

In this article, I’ll break down everything you need to know about Rescue Plants and helping them to survive.

Plants, much like any living thing, need certain conditions to survive to the fullest of their expected lifespan. 

These conditions can vastly vary and be highly specific, depending on the type of plant you’re dealing with. This is why it’s often the case that a plant starts to die, if not cared for properly by its owner. As a result, they usually end up being thrown out when their time comes.

But plant lovers like us don’t always see a lost cause where the ordinary person does.

So naturally, a recent trend we’ve seen emerge among plant enthusiasts is ‘rescuing plants’.

What Are Rescue Plants?

Rescue plants are plants that are on the verge of dying or are being tossed out. Perhaps you’re walking by a bin and you stumble onto a lone plant sitting on the nature strip or amongst a pile of rubbish, even perhaps at your local garden centre in the marked down section. 

Whatever the case may be, we often swoop in to nurse the plant back to health. It’s kind of like bringing a stray animal home, the journey towards a success story makes it all worth the effort. 

While all that is well and good, there are a few risks involved and some things to keep in mind when rescuing plants. Let’s talk about them. 

Rescuing Plants: Things to Know

1. Make Sure It’s Alive

The first thing you need to check is if the plant you’re rescuing even alive? Look for signs of life when you stumble onto a discarded plant baby. 

Dead plants are not going to damage your existing collection unless they develop mould or fungus. However, it’s still important to make sure you’re putting in time and effort into a worthy cause. 

If you’re not seeing any green leaves, that’s usually a sign that your rescue plant will not be bouncing back to life with proper care. And that’s okay; not every rescue plant will be a success story. 

2. Don’t Rescue Diseased Plants

Here’s the thing, I usually advise against rescuing diseased plants for two main reasons. 

Firstly, rescuers end up forking over more money into curing the plant disease than they would if they’d just bought a healthy plant instead.

Now, let’s say you’re okay with spending time and money to help nurse a diseased plant back to life. There’s still the matter of disease spreading, which brings me to my second point. Plant diseases are often communicable, one diseased plant can kill your entire collection.

Rescuing a plant is risky, and oftentimes costly. It’s all about your priorities as a plant lover and how much time and money you’re willing to spend. Attempting to cure a plant’s disease is a noble task, but weighing your pros and cons while doing it is essential.

3. Plant Isolation

To make sure that your collection is not at risk for diseases or pests, isolate your rescues. When you bring in a new rescue plant, keep it separate from your growing area. This will help restrict the spread of pests and contaminants through water, soil, or air. Also, be sure to wash your hands between handling the rescue plant and your healthy plants. 

4. Observe

While you’re keeping the rescue in isolation, observe for signs of pest damage or disease. Diseases might not be obvious at first, so wait a week or two for possible symptoms to appear. 

If you see unusual colour changes, spotting, or declining health despite proper care, contact a professional for an expert opinion.

If you notice signs of a pest on your rescue plant, seek out advice on how to solve the issue. 

For example, one of the most common plant pests is cutworms. Plants with cutworms are damaged or chewed off at the stem. A quick fix for this is placing cardboard around the base of the stem. Similarly, mottled yellowing leaves on your plant are a sign of red spider mites. If a red spider mite infestation is too strong, it’s time to throw the plant out. 

The health of your rescue plant and your healthier plant babies depends on your keen observation. So every time you’re watering them, take your time and have a good look around. 

4. Be Patient 

Lastly, be patient with your rescue plants. You’re not going to see recovery overnight. Like any living thing, plants too need consistent care to help them along the recovery process. The more damaged a plant is, the longer it will take to bounce back. Be patient and stick with the process, and you’ll surely see results. 

Photo credit: buzzfeed.com/pablovaldivia/plant-rescue-photos

Parting Thoughts

Being a plant lover, it’s hard to say goodbye to or give up on plants. We tend to naturally empathize with them and it’s often hard to resist the urge to fight a lost battle. 

Hence, it’s important to keep a clear head and choose when it’s time to intervene and keep at it, and when it’s time to give up. 

Have any tips and suggestions for rescuing plants? Leave them in the comments down below!

You can also check out how well these plants turned out after being rescued.

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