Updated at: 15-08-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

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Petunias are colorful and eye-catching blooms. From spring to fall, your garden beds and property borders will be adorned with an abundance of vibrant color thanks to your trusty petunia.

They are usually cultivated as annuals, although they can become short-lived perennials if they are properly cared for. Consider the hardiness levels of the location where you reside before deciding how long to let them grow before harvesting them.

It is possible for your lovely petunias to get a touch lanky and droopy at times. But that’s not all; right around summertime, they’ll start flowering poorly.

Thanks to modern science, it’s possible to revive the lifeless petunias in your garden and make them appear vibrant again.

A Common Cause for Sagging Petunias

Sagging, leggy petunias are sometimes a sign that the roots aren’t receiving enough moisture. There may be an issue with water delivery if the soil feels dry and almost like bricks when you touch it.

Reviving Potted Petunias - Flower Patch Farmhouse

Roots can become entangled if there is a lack of water. However, this may be readily corrected as well, making this a very common problem.

If you want to keep your petunias from drooping and looking unkempt, be sure to keep the pot loose and allow it to freely drain.

You can protect your petunias from sagging by keeping the soil moist and preventing it from drying out and getting root-bound. Petunias that have already dried out and are hanging by their stems can still be revived.

Pruning and Basic Maintenance

Generally speaking, you can save your sagging petunias from an untimely end with a little bit of basic maintenance and pruning. You begin by snipping back the overgrown, lanky plants by about half their height.

You’ll need a pair of clean, sharp shears for this task. You can cut back petunias if they get lanky and feeble around the middle of the summer. This causes a resurgence of healthy, compact growth.

Next, keep an eye on soil moisture levels, especially as the temperature rises. When the top inch or so of soil starts to dry out, make sure to water your petunias. You should irrigate your garden every week with about an inch of water, or enough to moisten the top six inches of soil.

Keeping petunias in pots requires you to water them every day or whenever the soil seems dry. Make sure the extra salts from the fertilizer have an appropriate outlet by letting the pot’s excess moisture drain out of the bottom.

You’ll need to add around a quarter pound of 5-10-5 fertilizer once the soil has been thoroughly drained of fertilizer salts and excess moisture. When your petunias are in the middle of their season, apply this to every 50 square feet of the bed.

Apply the fertilizer six inches away from the base of your petunias after you’ve clipped them back. If you don’t water your soil deeply enough, you won’t be able to distribute the fertilizer equally.

Spreading the Mulch and Finishing the Process

It’s time to mulch once you’ve finished trimming your petunias and spreading your fertilizer. Make a thick layer of mulch around your vegetable beds by spreading it out to a depth of about two inches.

Keep your soil cool using mulch, which acts as an insulator from the sweltering noon sun. In addition, mulch can aid to retain water in the soil. This prevents your soil from drying up, which can lead to sagging petunias.

You may want to relocate your potted petunia plants to a location that receives afternoon shade. They will also be shielded from the sun’s rays, preventing heat exhaustion.

It’s time to remove the dead petunia blossoms from your garden once you’ve laid mulch around it. You can actually avoid weak growth by removing the wilting flowers as soon as possible.

The lengthy stems should be pinched back to a leaf’s width. Your petunias will grow more densely as a result of this method. Suffocating the growth of your petunia by leaving too much on the plant will result in a lack of branching.

Observe your petunias for signs of disease. Slugs, snails, and aphids can all feast on the foliage of a plant. In addition, these pests can weaken and ravage your petunias, making them potentially unsalvageable.

Insecticidal soap can be used to get rid of aphids if you have a minor infestation. If your garden is infested with slugs and snails, consider putting out traps to catch and kill the pests.

When it comes to pruning, don’t hold back. Pruning your petunias back to the pot lip may be necessary if they are very lanky or degraded.

If petunias are this bad to necessitate this level of pruning, there is no way things could get worse.

Be Patient

Your petunias will begin blooming again once you have completed all of the essential measures to cut them back, refresh their soil, mulch, and fertilize them.

Just keep up with your feeding and watering while remaining patient until that’s done. In some cases, this can be a real challenge, especially if your petunias have gotten weathered and lanky.

Your petunias’ health should improve with regular watering and feeding, as well as any additional pruning you deem essential. There isn’t much time left before they start blooming again, bringing back the brilliant color that made them so popular in the first place!

Remember that not all petunias can be saved. There are some specimens that are too elongated and worn to be saved, but that’s fine. Give your petunias a chance to recover by chopping them back as much as possible.

To save some petunias in the future even if some of them are lost, all you need is information and experience from this. Petunias that are already dead can be saved if you know the indications to look for and what to do when they do appear to be on their way out.

Petunias are supposed to add a splash of color and vibrancy to your yard or house. Petunias that look like they’ve seen better days can be saved with a little tender loving care.

Before you leave: This is a great opportunity to begin keeping a garden progress journal. If you want to get started, print out the journal below and start right now!

How to Revive Dying Petunias

Petunias are annual flowering plants that die back in the winter because they are unable to withstand freezing temperatures.

Fungal infections such as root rot, which are brought on by excessive moisture around the roots, are the most common cause of dying and drooping petunias. Petunias need to be watered thoroughly once a week, and overwatering causes petunia leaves and blooms to wilt, resulting in petunias that eventually die.

Root rot, a lack of sunlight, or a deficiency in nutrients can all cause yellowing of the leaves.

To minimize root rot or drought stress, it’s critical to get the irrigation and soil moisture balance just perfect while watering petunias.

If you want to know how to keep your petunias from dying and how to bring them back to life so that they can bloom again, then read on.

Petunias Dying From Root Rot (Leaves Turning Yellow and Drooping)

Root rot and Botrytis, two of the most prevalent causes of petunias dying, are caused by overwatering, slow-draining soils, and containers that lack drainage.

To thrive, petunias need full sun, wet, well-drained soil with adequate air circulation, and low humidity. They are native to South America, where they thrive.

Root rot and Botrytis thrive in moist, slow-draining soils that remain saturated for an extended period of time after rain or irrigation, which is what happens when the soil around the petunia’s roots becomes overly wet or even marshy.

Although the petunia does not suffer root rot, excessive water surrounding the roots prevents the roots from receiving the oxygen they need for respiration. Due to lack of oxygen, the roots of the petunia plant are unable to carry water and nutrients around it, causing the plant’s leaves to become yellow and die off.

Once a week is the ideal frequency for watering petunias in order to keep the soil moist but not soggy, which can lead to root rot.

In order to determine the best watering schedule for your petunias, check out my article on how to water petunias.

Petunias are drought-tolerant once they’ve established themselves in drier circumstances.

In the petunias’ native location, watering the plants once a week and letting the soil to dry up is a common watering routine.

Wave petunias dying

Note that excessive moisture around the roots of your petunias is not the only reason of yellowing leaves caused by over-watering:

  • Containers and pots without a bottom drainage hole. Pots without drainage holes or those that become clogged with compacted soil prevent water from draining.
  • Pots or trays beneath the trays. The good drainage in pots is one of the reasons petunias do so well. To avoid water spillage, lay the pot on a tray. This will collect any extra water after watering or rain and result in the soggy soil that leads to root rot and other problems.
  • Petunias in baskets are wilting and dying. Because of their drought resistance, petunias are a popular choice for hanging baskets. Some hanging baskets, on the other hand, may be lined with a plastic impermeable sheeting or another substance that helps preserve moisture, but may also be preventing water from escaping from the basket’s bottom. Petunia leaves may turn yellow and droop if the soil is too wet.
  • Excessive watering. To water petunias daily is to water far too frequently. You should only increase the frequency of your watering during periods of extreme heat if the soil is drying out too quickly.

Your petunias may die if they have been in waterlogged soil for a long period of time and are infected with a fungal illness.

However, if the extra moisture is impeding root respiration, your petunia may just be showing signs of stress and can recover if improved drainage conditions and less frequent watering are ensured.

How to Revive Petunias With Yellow Leaves

  • A plastic membrane that may be preventing water from draining adequately can cause yellowing of petunias in a hanging basket. If this is the case, remove it.
  • Remove any compacted soil from the bottom of the pot before planting petunias in pots with drainage holes. For optimal drainage and drainage holes, you should repot the petunias with new soil and a 1 inch-thick gravel layer on top of the pot’s bottom.
  • Using small feet or stands, lift the pot of your petunias one inch off the ground. Soil might become soggy if a pot is placed on top of it, preventing water from draining away from the base. Elevating the pot avoids the soil from becoming saturated by allowing extra water to drain freely from the bottom of the pot.
  • Place your potted petunias in a location that receives a lot of sunlight and is well-ventilated to mimic their natural habitat.
  • In order to keep your petunias from wilting in the face of drought, you should always plant them in multi-purpose compost, which has a porous free-draining structure so that the roots are not seated in waterlogged soil.
  • Whenever you plant petunias along the edge of your yard, make sure that the planting space is well-drained so that the petunias can thrive. Transfer your petunias to pots if your soil is naturally wet.
  • Choosing to grow petunias in clay soils is a mistake because clay retains too much moisture and the structure of clay soils is typically too dense for petunias to root and establish.
  • Reduce the frequency of watering to one a week. Since they are native to South America, petunias have a hardy nature and can withstand some drought. If you water your petunias every day, you are overwatering them, which is the cause of their yellowing leaves and stems.

Petunias should be able to recover if you follow the recommended care guidelines (full light, proper drainage, and weekly watering).

Petunias that have been in saturated soil for an extended period of time generally die back and cannot be resurrected, and this should be emphasized.

Lack of Fertilizer can Cause Yellowing Petunia Leaves

Toxic levels of nitrogen in the soil can limit petunia blooming. This is why they do better in less fertile soils.

Fertilizer may be required to help green the leaves and stimulate growth if your particular variety of petunia is an especially vigorous grower and they are in a relatively small pot (smaller pots have less capacity to soil and therefore fewer nutrients) or perhaps in a garden border and competing for nutrients with nearby plants.

Petunias do best with a general, well-balanced liquid fertilizer like miracle-gro, which includes all of the necessary nutrients in the proper dosage.

Always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and keep in mind that using more fertilizer than is advised will not improve outcomes and may even reduce flowering time.

If you give your yellow petunias some well-balanced fertilizer, they should begin to recover in the coming weeks.

Petunias Wilting and Dying

There are several factors that contribute to petunias dying, but overwatering and moist soil are the most prevalent culprits.

As a result of over-watering, hard compacted soils and heat stress, petunias can wilt and die back shortly after planting.

Planting petunias in multipurpose compost and giving them a good bath once a week is the best way to get the right amount of soil moisture for them.

Certain variables, on the other hand, enhance the likelihood of your petunias succumbing to drought stress:

  1. Potting up petunias in a tiny, shallow pot The mass flowering of petunias is possible even in small pots. Conversely, plants in extremely shallow pots have less soil volume and, as a result, less moisture, and therefore dry up much faster.
  2. Soil that has been compacted. Petunias may struggle to grow and obtain water in dense, heavy, compacted soils. As a result of their need for aerated compost that has a porous structure, petunias are better at withstanding drought because their roots can penetrate deeper into the soil and obtain water more easily. Petunias wilt because their roots are unable to develop deeper into the soil because they are forced to the earth’s top, which dries out much faster.
  3. Use of peat compost. When it comes to watering, petunias prefer to be watered once a week in full sun. The compost’s surface can dry out between waterings if it’s exposed to the sun. Peaty compost can harden and become hydrophobic, which means it repels water from the surface, if it contains a lot of it. In this case, the water evaporates off of the surface of the soil and runs down the side of the pot (hanging basket) or garden border (garden). The petunias wilt and die back due to a lack of water.
  4. Hanging baskets are particularly vulnerable to drying out due to high temperatures and excessive air movement. In order for petunias to thrive, their leaves and soil must be kept moist by heat waves and windy weather, which might cause them to wilt. Drought-resistant petunias can wilt temporarily to reduce the surface area of their leaves and limit water loss before regaining their strength in cooler conditions.
  5. Wilting is the result of transplant shock. Petunias’ roots can take time to form after planting, making them prone to dry conditions. There are many reasons why you might see petunias go limp in your yard, including the fact that they were grown in a greenhouse previous to your purchase (or perhaps grown from seed yourself in a greenhouse).
  6. Wilting occurs when petunias are watered too sparingly. Petunias don’t need to be watered as frequently as other plants, but they do need to be watered thoroughly every time. When you water too sparingly, the soil is merely hydrated on the surface. To get to the water, the roots must grow near the surface, making them more vulnerable in a dry climate.

How to Revive Wilting Petunias

  • If you live in a hot area, plant your petunias in a pot that is at least 12 inches across and has the same proportionate depth. If you live somewhere that gets a lot of rain or has more overcast days, you can frequently get away with planting petunias in smaller pots. While a smaller pot is better for cooler climes, the extra soil volume and moisture retention provided by a larger pot is better for hotter climates.
  • Before you plant petunias, make sure the soil is well-aerated with compost. It is easier for the roots of petunias to establish in compost because of its aeration and moisture retention. Moving petunias into pots and containers and replanting in compost is the best option if they are in thick, compacted soil. As a result, the leaves and flowers of the petunia will not wilt and die as a result of this method.
  • Petunias should not be grown in compost that contains any type of peat. Petunias can suffer from drought stress if they are grown in soil that contains peat compost, which not only harms the environment, but also inhibits water from reaching the plant’s roots when it dries out. Use garden compost to plant your petunias, which has a porous structure that lets water permeate and reach the roots even when the surface is dry, or look at the bag of any commercial compost to be sure it is peat-free.
  • During heat waves, water more regularly and attempt to protect your plants from high winds to avoid withering. Petunias often need to be watered once a week to maintain the ideal moisture balance and avoid wilting. In the event of a heat wave, watering should be increased to once every two or three days to avoid withering. As much air movement as possible is good for petunias; nevertheless, windy conditions can dehydrate the leaves and cause wilting; if this occurs, relocate the pots of petunias to a more protected place and water them thoroughly to help them recover from wilting.
  • After planting, transplant shock can be lessened by using wet potting soil or compost, which allows the roots to more easily adapt to the new soil conditions. After planting, give the petunia a generous soak every few days to encourage good root development, making it more resistant to drought and less prone to wilting. With careful watering, your petunias should recover from transplant shock and a wilted appearance if you place them in the sun.
  • Petunias should be watered extensively rather than lightly. As long as water trickles out of pots from the bottom, you’ve done your job well by giving your petunias a nice soak. This will help the roots develop properly, which will make them more resistant to drying out in hotter climates.

Petunias that have died due to drought can be revived within a week with the correct circumstances, including rich moisture-retaining compost and regular watering to grow stronger roots for more drought-resistant petunia plants.

Petunias Dying in Cold Temperatures

It is common for petunias, which are native to South America, to die back due to an unexpected frost or major temperature change (hardy in USDA zones 9-11)

Consequently, in colder climes, petunias are frequently considered a fragile annual flowering plant for containers and garden boarders. Fall and Winter temperatures cause petunias to die back, and late Spring frosts can also cause them to go to seed.

Grow petunias in pots or hanging baskets if you live in a cold area where frost is a concern so that you may take them into a garage or heated greenhouse until the danger of frost has passed.

Pink WAVE Petunias dying

Cold-sensitive petunias can be protected from cold nights and occasional frost by using horticultural fleece. This is especially useful if the plants are in garden borders and cannot be easily brought indoors for protection from the cold.

Petunias Require Full Sun

More sun is required if your petunia has poor, lanky growth and few flowers that appear to be fading.

To have the greatest blooms, petunias need at least six hours of sunlight a day in the warmer climates of South America.

As a rule of thumb, you should plant your petunias where they can get the most sunlight possible.

Root rot and mold can be prevented by increasing the amount of time your petunias are exposed to the sun.

In the coming weeks, fresh healthy growth and more flowers should develop from petunias that have been moved to a location with full sun.

Petunias Turning White

High humidity, watering late at night rather than early in the morning, and a lack of air circulation are all factors contributing to petunias becoming white.

Always water your petunias in the morning, as this gives them a time to soak up the sun’s rays and dry off any remaining moisture before the cooler evenings arrive.

Powdery mildew, which has a white appearance on petunia leaves, can develop if the plant is left in moist and humid circumstances for too long.

Occasionally brisk gusts aren’t a problem for petunias, as they’re accustomed to growing in the open. Powdery mildew is more likely to turn them white if they are kept in a secluded area with high humidity.

If your petunia leaves are going white, you should avoid using any fertilizer because powdery mildew tends to impact new growth more than established leaves.

Petunias are not always severely harmed by powdery mildew, and they often flower relatively unscathed as a result. Powdery mildew treatment is explained in detail in this article.

Because petunias in full sun are well-ventilated and watered before a hot day to ensure that water on the leaves has a chance to escape, they are more able to resist powdery mildew than unhealthy plants.

Key Takeaways:

  • Overwatering can create root rot in petunias, which eventually kills the plants. To avoid root rot, petunias should be grown in a well-draining compost and watered once a week. When planted in wet soil, petunias wilt and turn yellow, giving the impression that they are dying.
  • Petunia leaves turn yellow and die back if they are overwatered, under-sunned, or deficient in nutrients. Flowers and healthy leaves are only possible with at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. It is possible for small pots to turn petunias yellow because of the lack of nutrients in small pots. To keep the leaves from becoming yellow, feed them with fertilizer. To avoid yellowing leaves due to root rot, water petunias only once per week and make sure they have good drainage.
  • In addition to wilting, petunias are susceptible to drought stress. Because shallow pots and hanging baskets can’t hold as much soil moisture as deeper containers, petunias grown in warm climes typically wilt. This is a sign of drought stress.
  • A fading petunia can be revived by ensuring that the soil is well-watered yet drains quickly. By thoroughly watering petunias once per week and placing them in a well-draining compost, this can be achieved To revive petunias, place them in full light with sufficient airflow.

Two Best Ways On How To Revive Dying Petunias

#1. Watering

Watering is a basic initial step in reviving dying petunias. Sometimes, you don’t need to prune back your plants, and watering is all that’s needed to keep your flowers healthy. What if watering isn’t enough to save your petunias?

You should water petunias if their blooms or foliage are wilting and floppy because they are dehydrated. Make sure your soil has enough moisture so that the roots can readily absorb the water. Within a few hours, your petunias should be looking better.

If your plants aren’t prone to wilting often, this is a better option because it’s quick and easy. Because of the stress, petunias that wilt repeatedly will eventually be damaged. As a result, water the soil to the roots twice a week to keep it from drying out.

You may need to water your plants every day if they are growing in containers. Verify if the plant is showing indications of wilting or the soil appears to be drying up. Submerge the pot in water until bubbles stop forming if the earth becomes extremely dry and the plants begin to pull away from the sides.

#2. Cutting

Cutting is a second method for restoring petunias that are dying of neglect. If your plants are past the point when regular watering isn’t enough to revive them, this method might be more appropriate. What do you look for in your petunias to tell you when it’s time to trim them?

Check to see if the leaves of your plants are crisp and dry rather than withering. Trimming or chopping back the vegetation should suffice instead of watering. Trim your plants back one to two inches from the base, depending on how much of the foliage has dried.

Water the soil after cutting to aid the plants even further. As long as you keep them well watered, you should see fresh growth and blossoms in a few weeks. It is essential to remember to water your plants after cutting them because they will not bloom and may die within a few days if they are dehydrated.

It is possible to revitalize brittle and yellow or brown leaves by cutting back the foliage. At this time of year, it’s more typical to shear them to promote healthy new growth. Dead flowers and stems can be encouraged to blossom by pinching them off as soon as they begin to wilt.

How To Prevent Petunias From Dying

Watering is critical to petunias’ well-being, as you can see from the previous information. It’s the most prevalent cause of plant wilt, and if you don’t water your plants after cutting them, they won’t be able to recover. As a result, watering the petunias frequently is the best way to keep them from dying.

Petunias, like all plants, require optimal care to ensure a long and healthy life. For all flowers, a greenhouse is a great place to grow because it is easier to manage temperature, light, and pests there. When compared to cultivating petunias outside, you can keep a much closer eye on the progress of your plants indoors.

How to Revive Petunias : Grow Guru - YouTube

Petunias can benefit from a greenhouse in the summer, when temperatures can soar. In addition to having a cooling system, you can employ watering systems to guarantee that all of your plants receive the water they require. Petunias, as a rule, can be saved with early detection and prompt treatment.

Petunias should be watered once a week with an inch of water and given a mid-season fertilizer. To avoid heat stress, mulching should assist keep the soil cool and hydrated. Finally, if the sun becomes too intense for the plants, you may need to utilize a greenhouse shade.


Petunias grown in a greenhouse are more likely to be long-lived and healthy. Do you know how to revive petunias that are dying? You don’t have to panic, because watering and pruning petunias will revive your flowers.

When you see your foliage beginning to wilt, the first thing you should do is water it. After watering, your petunias should be able to recover fast, and careful attention should help you avoid dehydration and wilting. To prevent petunias from dying, be sure to water them properly.

Otherwise, if the petunias have withered leaves and fragile foliage, trimming them back is the best course of action. Remember to moisten the soil after you cut the plants so that the new growth will thrive. As a bonus, a greenhouse should make it easier to care for your plants no matter what the weather is like outside.

Keep an eye out for signs of wilting or dryness in your petunias and adjust the indoor conditions accordingly.