Why Do Plants Wilt?

Do you feel disheartened to see plants wilt? Children take care of their plants and water them regularly. Sometimes, they might see the plants wilt. In such cases, children do not understand the reason behind its wilting. Why do plants wilt? It is basically due to the lack of enough water content in the roots and stems of plants during hot days. To teach children about this phenomenon, you can conduct science experiments for kids so that they understand the concept easily.


Why do plants wilt? The reduction in water makes plants no longer able to stand rigid and erect. The leaves of the plants droop and become extremely weak. Some plants tend to revive back when water is given, and some don’t. There are also chances that plants wilt even if enough water is provided. It can be due to viruses, bacteria or any fungi that do not allow plants to recover. Plants, especially legumes, tend to wilt at night. Before understanding why plants wilt, let us learn about wilting in order to understand the concept easily. 

What is Wilting?

Wilting is basically the loss of rigidity in the plants. It occurs when there is a loss of water during the summer or hot days. The loss of water is more than the absorption of water by the roots and stems of plants. The reduction of water in the plants can be due to drought, high salinity, poor soil conditions, virus and bacterial problems that hamper the vascular system of plants. Sometimes, plants can wilt even if they have plenty of water. It can be due to the dry soil conditions, root disease and high temperature. 

We must understand the fact that wilting does not mean that the plant is dead. It can also revive back if water and the right temperature is given. It is better to figure out the problems behind its wilting at an early stage so that you can take the necessary steps to protect the plant. Once you see the wilted plants, you can list down the factors that are responsible for their wilting. Whether it is provided less water to plants, exposed to the Sun for a long period of time, over-fertilized, the plant is suffering from a disease or dry soil conditions. After you get familiar with the factors, there is a possibility of taking immediate action to protect the plant from wilting. 

How Do You Protect Plants from Wilting?

Some of the steps to protect the plants from getting wilted are mentioned below:

  • Water the plants if you feel that they completely lack the moisture in the soil.
  • Keep the plants in the sunlight if you feel it is overwatered so that it can absorb the excess water that contributes to wilting. 
  • Keep the plants in the shaded area if you feel that it is exposed to too much sunlight. 
  • Reduce the amount of fertilizer if you feel it is overloaded with fertilizer and other nutrients. 
  • Water the plants in the morning so that the leaves dry and do not allow the plant to get infected with some disease. 
  • Provide excess water to the plants if you feel it is completely dried. 
  • Use pots that do not allow necessary water to flow out required for the growth of the plant. 

Fun Facts about Why Do Plants Wilt?

Some of the interesting facts about plant wilting are mentioned below:

  • Plants that are wilted usually look sad and droopy.
  • Plants lose water through a process called transpiration. 
  • The leaves and stems are dehydrated, due to which the plant begins to wilt. 
  • Many food crops are prone to wilting. 
  • The loss of water is greater than the absorption of water when the plants wilt. 
  • The water molecules enable plants to lose rigidity due to zero water pressure in the plants. 
  • The plants appear dry and dull due to wilting. 
  • The roots of the plant die and are unable to absorb nutrients from the soil. 
  • Wilting makes plants more susceptible to diseases. 
  • Lack of water for a longer period of time can result in the death of the plant. 
  • Plants wilt basically on sunny days as the rate of transpiration increases. 
  • Plants recovering during the night and getting wilted on the day means that there is adequate amount of moisture in the soil that helps in reviving the plant. 

Easy Science Project: Why Do Plants Wilt?

When you see a plant wilt, it is understood that it requires some amount of water to revive itself. If not, try to find out the other factors that are responsible for its wilting. What do you do if you’re thirsty? You drink water because you know that your body needs water, isn’t it? Similarly, plants show its sign in the form of wilting when they are thirsty or lack few essential nutrients required for their growth and survival. When the plants wilt, they stop growing. Therefore, it is important to take immediate action in order to protect the plants from long term damage caused due to wilting. Why do plants wilt? To teach children this concept and the factors responsible for wilting, you can conduct the following experiment given below.

Why Do Plants Wilt?

Aim of the Project 

To experiment and observe why plants wilt at home or in the classroom. 

Materials Required 

  • Two kinds of saplings 
  • Two pots 
  • Soil
  • Umbrella
  • A paper and a pen
  • Thermometer
  • Water


  • You need to check the weather outside the house before conducting this experiment. 
  • If you feel it’s sunny outside, grab your things and start the experiment. 
  • Look for the area where you feel is the warmest. 
  • Take two pots and fill it with the soil consisting of manure. 
  • Take the saplings and insert it on each of the pots carefully.
  • Note down the temperature of the soil for both the pots.
  • Take one of the pots and label it as A. Keep the plant in the shade under the umbrella. 
  • Take another pot and label it as B. Keep the pot under the hot Sun. 
  • Leave the pots for one hour and note down the temperature. 
  • Then, add water to both the plants kept under the shade and hot Sun. 
  • After a few hours, check the plants and see whether they have wilted. 


It was observed that the leaves of plant B kept under the hot Sun were wilting compared to the ones kept under the shade. The plant wilted because of the dryness and lack of moisture in the soil. The plant kept under the shade remained damp and moist that did not contribute to wilting. There was less evaporation of water in the shaded area leading to less transpiration and wilting. 

When you see leaves getting wilted, then it is a sign of lack of water. Plants grow when water is constantly flowing from the roots to the leaves. If the flow of water is stopped or reduced, the leaves of the plant tend to wilt. Therefore, the roots of the plants need enough water to protect them from wilting. If the plants do not have enough water, they can stop growing or even die in a short period of time. Once you see plants wilt, they should be watered immediately in order to prevent further damage to the plants. 

Benefits of Learning about Why Plants Wilt?

Some of the benefits of learning about wilting are mentioned below:

  • Enables children to understand the concept of wilting through science experiments.
  • Increases knowledge on the factors that affect plant growth.
  • Creates awareness about the plant wilting and important measures to be taken in order to protect the plant from wilting. 
  • Enhances the learning experience of children.
  • Develops knowledge about plants and its importance for the environment.
  • Enables understanding of conserving and protecting the plants from diseases and other factors that contribute to their population decline. 

To know more information, explore science games for kids, STEM activities for kids in the kids learning section at Osmo.

Frequently Asked Questions on Why Do Plants Wilt?

Why do plants wilt?

Plants wilt due to the lack of water and moisture during hot days. The rate of transpiration increases, and the water pressure is not maintained, which does not allow water to flow from roots to the leaves. If the roots of the plant do not get enough water, the leaves tend to wilt.

What are the benefits of learning about why plants wilt?

The benefits of learning about why plants wilt are that it helps children understand the concept behind wilting. Besides this, children will conduct experiments and understand the factors responsible for plant wilting. Most importantly, it provides knowledge about plants and immediate measures to be taken for protecting the plant from getting wilt.