You might be wondering if that plant in your garden just needs a little TLC to brighten up again, or whether it might be time to say goodbye. There is an easy way to find out if your plant is still alive, and all you need is a 10-pence piece.

Watch this video to see me displaying this easy gardening hack in person, and discover whether my plant just needs a little love:

Is your plant still alive?

Your plant may be looking a little sorry for itself, but don’t despair. There is a sure way to find out whether there is still life in your plant. By doing so, you could save yourself the money you would spend on a new plant when it might not be needed!

Try the following test using just a 10-pence piece and find out for sure whether your plant is still alive.

1. Look for new growth

If your plant has any green buds developing, there is a very good chance that it is still alive. Look all the way down the stems and keep an eye out for a pop of green colour, particularly near the base of the plant. If you find any, you may not need to do the scratch test just yet!

Green shoot emerging from a stem

2. Scratch test

Starting high up on your plant (furthest away point from the soil), using a 10-pence piece (or similar), scratch away some of the surface bark. If the stem is green under the bark, then that part of your plant is alive! If it is brown, then that part of your plant may just need pruning.


3. To the root

Keep working your way down the branches until you have worked your way to the base of the plant, the parts of the branches close to the soil. If you find your stems are green only there, then your plant may just need some delicate pruning to give it the best chance.

10-pence coin and an alive stem

4. Give it time

If your plant has slight signs of life, then try leaving it for a few months, watering and fed as needed. It might surprise you and bounce back! If not, and you can’t find any green stems, then it might be time to find a new plant to brighten up your garden!

budding bush in spring

How to help your plant to thrive

Make sure you do your research on what your plant needs. There are a few things that you can do to make sure your plant comes back fighting in time for Summer!

Make sure you check the soil around your plant for standing water, or waterlogged conditions. Reduce how much you are watering where this is necessary.

Similarly, check that your soil isn’t too dry. If it is, you may need to increase your watering regime for a little while.

If your plant has been planted too deep in the soil, the stem base may not be getting enough light. An easy fix is to scrape away some of the excess soil or mulch from the base to free it up.

Your plant may have become a little bit big, and your roots may not be able to support it. Again, this can be easily remedied with a little pruning.

The weather may be the reason your plant isn’t at its brightest, and there are ways to give your plant a helping hand. Biodegradable fleece can protect against the cold, wind, or extreme sun scorching the leaves. You could also move your plant if it is possible or already potted into a shadier area. Just cut away any damaged parts.

Give your plant a new chance at life, and save some money, by checking for green stems before buying a replacement!

Find out more about the perfect shrub for your garden:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas: