Do Plants Die of Old Age?

All living things have a lifespan, and the last stage is death. The same is the case with plants. When they reach a certain age, they die. Every plant keeps growing up to the point they die. The plants do not have concrete stages of life as we do.

They are either baby plants, middle-aged plants, or old age plants. The other reasons behind the death of a plant may be the cold weather or unsuitable weather with a lack of facilities required by it. Different plants have different life spans when it comes to death by old age.

green-plant-during-daytime

The growth of a plant will depend on environmental conditions along with genetic ones. The process of the aging of a plant is known as Senescence. During this process, the cells of the plant are broken down to provide support to the other plant tissues for their growth. This process is full of biochemical changes.

How would you figure out that the plant is in its Senescence stage? You will be able to see the breakdown of Chloroplasts which is usually shown by the leaves getting yellow. The DNA of the plants is also present in the Chloroplast.

Read more to know about how plants die of old age. It is bound to help you.

Can a Plant Die of Old Age?

Yes, a plant can die of old age. It also has a life cycle that ends with death as a living thing. If they do not face any adverse weather or any other conditions, they will die out of old age. However, in many cases, the plants do not get the chance to reach their old age.

They might die because of other factors like overwatering, diseases, or dying because of Parasites. Plants tend to grow till they die of old age. People sometimes forget that the plant reaches old age too. 

Some plants last longer than others do, but no plant is immortal. The plant’s life span will depend on the type of plant it is. Many plants die in a few months after they are done producing seeds and flowers.

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There could be a few ways you can make your plants live longer than they would have lived otherwise. Try to trim the plant, water it properly, change the plant’s pot and change the plant’s location. Want to know what are the signs of a dying plant? Continue reading to find this discussion later in this article.

Do Plants Have a Lifespan?

The lifespan of a plant is dependent on two factors. The first factor is the genetic growth potential that the plant has inherited, and the second factor is the most obvious, environmental factor. These factors include soils, water, weather, microbes that cause diseases, and herbivores.

The historical classification of the lifespan is done into three categories. The three types are Annuals, Biennials, and Perennials. The Annuals have a lifespan of up to 1 year, Biennials have a lifespan of up to 2 years, and Perennials live more than 2 years, sometimes even decades.

There is another classification for plants that stay under natural conditions. This lifespan classification is based on the number of times one plant reproduces before it dies.

The two types are Monocarpic plants and Polycarpic plants. Monocarpic ones are those that reproduce only once before they die, and Polycarpic ones are the ones that produce several times before they die.

Some botanists have discovered a third category. They reproduce up to five times only. This category is between plants that produce once and plants that produce several times.

How Long Do Plants Live?

The lifespan of a plant is discussed above. Let’s discuss it again. Plants may live for a few months, a few years, or several years. It depends on several factors as we have mentioned above.

People use indoor plants in order to bring a touch of the outdoors to their houses, but are they able to maintain them and give them the nutrients and sunlight it needs?

Many people who are dedicated to the growth of their plants choose Perennial plants because they want them to grow as much as they can. They can also move towards the other classification way and choose the plants based on their reproduction rate. The classification discussed above can help one choose the plant they want based on the period they live for and the reproduction they do.

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How Do Plants Die Naturally?

Every plant dies eventually. Their lifespan and growth are not the same as human beings and animals. This is because of two reasons. The first reason is that they have indeterminate growth. They do not have any age or size set to classify them as fully grown up.

It is hard to classify them under the ‘old’ or ‘completely grown’ category either. If the plants get favorable conditions, they keep growing until they die. However, death is a biochemical reaction, and every plant has to die one day.

Plants die naturally because of a series of events that lead the cells of the plants to deteriorate. With age, the replacement of cells and tissues becomes very slow. Gradually it stops, and the plant dies. This is the process of Senescence.

Many people believe that since plants can replace their cells and tissues, it is not possible for them to die out of old age. They believe that before the plants reach their old age, they witness other conditions that could end their life. However, they live for more than the time we expect them to.

How To Know If a Plant Is Dying of Old Age?

There are many reasons behind the death of a plant. Many times it is hard to understand if your plant is dying of old age or other factors. Here’s how you can get to know if old age is the reason:

  • The first thing you need to check is the leaves of the plant. Look if the leaves are getting dry or not. Look out for any falling leaves, color-changing leaves, leaves with spots, or any other damage signals. These conditions can be a sign of it being deprived of the nutrition it needs.
  • The second thing to check is its plant. If you see that the leaves are okay, move forward to see if the roots are showing anything. Check for dry roots or mushy ones. Also, check if there are Mushrooms growing anywhere near the plant. Mushrooms can be a sign of too much moisture in the plant, which is unhealthy for it.
  • The last thing you need to check is the lifespan of the plant in general. If it passes the first two steps, it means that your plant is not capable of any more growth or recovery.
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How Long Do Houseplants Live?

Houseplants are completely your responsibility. With the right care, houseplants can even grow and live for decades. One of the long-lived house plants is the Bonsai tree.

We all know that all plants have to die someday because of old age or other reasons, but if you take proper care of your houseplant, it will grow to live for decades and generations. All you have to do is nourish it with the conditions it needs. The lifespan is completely dependent on the owner of the houseplant.

Let’s introduce to some of the houseplants with the largest lifespans:

  • Twenty Years Plus– The plants Weeping Fig, Spider Plant, and Snake Plant have a lifespan of 20 years and above.
  • Forty Years Plus– The Philodendron plant is a houseplant that stays alive for 40 years or more.
  • Fifty Years Plus– The Jade plant and Agave plant go on to live for more than 50 years. Does it sound unbelievable to you as well? Half a decade is a long lifespan for plants.
  • One Hundred Years Plus– Houseplants have another shocking lifespan of 100 years and more. The Christmas Cactus and Cast Iron plants are two plants that have this lifespan.

Do Trees Die of Old Age?

Trees are always out in the open, and hence, they are mostly exposed to the best weather conditions. This enables them to live for more than 150 years. Some plants are even 400 years old. Shocking, right?

Trees have a lifespan of a minimum of 10 years with no maximum limit. It can go up to 5,000+ as well. Certain trees that lived over 2,000 years in the past are Limber Pine, Foxtail Pine, Sierra Juniper, Bald Cypress, Sacred Fig, and so on.

The lifespan of a tree also depends on where it is planted. Many urban trees have a lifespan of only 19-28 years. The reason behind their short lifespan is the growing pollution, poor soil, and limited room for growth.

If your tree is kept as a houseplant, its lifespan will be even less. They live for only 10-15 years on average. However, there are many outliers in this case. Many indoor gardeners put in way too much effort to keep their plants healthy and growing.

Sonia Madaan is a writer and founding editor of the science education blog EarthEclipse. She loves writing on topics related to space, environment, chemistry, biology, geology and geography. When she is not writing, she loves watching sci-fi movies on Netflix.